Adding a new dimension of pure performance to its flagship sedan, the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT matches top-line Hemi power with handling enhancements and bolder visuals to serve up the division's most potent and best-handling model, ever. Back after a one-year hiatus caused by the Chrysler 300's generational changeover, this new iteration is out to prove that being bad can be very good indeed.
Heart of the reborn 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 is the firm's new 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that makes an estimated 465 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque -- gains of 40 and 45 output units, respectively, over the old 6.1-liter. An active intake manifold and revised cam timing/phasing improves its low-end punch while ratcheting up high-speed power and the new active valve exhaust system that permits a more liberal implementation of the engine's Fuel Saver (four-cylinder operation) technology is expected to lead to an estimated 25 percent gain in its EPA fuel economy numbers. But quick is the object of the game here, and backed by a five-speed automatic that offers steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters as well as the AutoStick, this maximum motivator promises to take the 300 SRT8 from 0-60 mph in less than 5.0 seconds and carry it on to a top speed of 175.
To put that firepower to best use, the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 also gets a full suspension makeover courtesy of the Street and Racing Technology gang. Tauter underpinnings are matched with a dual-mode (Auto/Sport) Adaptive Damping Suspension package and SRT-tuned power steering, a lower ride height, massive antilock brakes with vented/slotted rotors and Brembo calipers and 20-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels wrapped in all-season or performance rubber.
As expected, the 300 SRT8 gets its own cosmetic touches, including a new more aggressive front fascia with unique grille treatment, special side-sill cladding and huge four-inch diameter rear exhaust outlets as well a multiple SRT8 badges. An optional Black Chrome Package brings its own lot of ebony embellishments, highlighted by bespoke black-chrome alloy wheels. That more-than-slightly sinister theme runs through the Nappa-leather clad passenger compartment, as well. A leather/wrapped/flat-bottomed SRT steering wheel, special trim panels and carbon-fiber accent bits, racing-style gas/brake pedal pads and an Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) controllable from the steering wheel that can call up a full range of real-time performance data on the car's 8.4-inch center touchscreen display are all standard as are heated/ventilated front buckets and a heated rear bench. Buyers who crave a bit more luxury can add the available Premium Leather Interior Package with exclusive Poltrona Foligno enhancements.
The new 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 is scheduled to go on sale in the fall. Both pricing and final EPA numbers will be available closer to that time.