We may have fallen all over the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 that debuted this past February at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, but if we're honest, The Pentastar's latest LX-platform creation – the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 – is the one we'd want to take home. In its previous generation, this car was one of our favorite guilty pleasures, and with all of the new enhancements made for the 2012 model year, the top-rung Hemi 300 is sure to impress.
Gone is the 6.1-liter V8 of yore, and a new, fire-breathing 6.4-liter Hemi engine has been fitted underhood. With 465 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque on tap, the 300 SRT8 will easily sprint to 60 miles per hour in under five seconds, and all that grunt is managed by a five-speed automatic transmission, now enhanced with paddle shifters. Not the most modern transmission, yes, but we're sure the 300 SRT8 will still be a total hoot to drive.
The 2012 300 SRT8 has made its debut this week at the 2011 New York Auto Show next to its Grand Cherokee SRT8 cousin, and we invite you to click through a handful of high-res images live from the Javits Center in our gallery below.
Live photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL
• All-new Chrysler 300 SRT8® with its 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 offers ultimate combination of world-class luxury and performance in Chrysler's most powerful, best-handling sedan ever
• All-new Chrysler 300S Series brings a youthful and aggressive appearance with athletic style and sophistication
• With premium materials and world-class refinement, the all-new 300C Executive Series is the most luxurious Chrysler sedan ever
• Three all-new models bring uniquely distinct personalities to the Chrysler flagship sedan's 2012 model lineup
• Available in Chrysler showrooms in third quarter 2011
The success of the modern Chrysler 300 launched in 2005 can be attributed to its broad appeal. People of all ages, incomes, and lifestyles were attracted to the sedan's dramatic styling, power and performance. The 2011 model year brought the introduction of the all-new Chrysler 300, 300 Limited and 300C. For 2012, the Chrysler brand is expanding the appeal of its flagship 300 sedan even further by launching three all-new models, all with unmistakably bold American style, luxury and performance targeted at different owner lifestyles.
As the king of the lineup, the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8® adds high-performance hardware to the elegant proportions and head turning design of the 2011 Chrysler 300C to provide the ultimate combination of world-class luxury, power and handling. With an estimated 465 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, the 300 SRT8 is targeted at customers that seek heart pounding, adrenaline filled excitement, but don't want to sacrifice comfort and innovative features to get it.
Appealing to younger, more urban-centric customers that want world-class sophistication combined with athletic-luxury and a more aggressive look, the all-new 2012 Chrysler 300S delivers. This 300 "street machine" features 20-inch aluminum wheels with black painted pockets, sport-tuned suspension, premium audio, black exterior accents and a monotone black or exclusive black with Radar Red interior environment.
Designed to be the most luxurious Chrysler sedan ever, the all-new 2012 Chrysler 300C Executive Series with an ultra-premium leather wrapped cockpit, will appeal to customers looking to reward their hard work with a true American luxury vehicle that rivals the best the imports can offer.
"We're bringing three new and distinct models to our 300 lineup in 2012 with the 300 SRT8, 300S Series and 300C Executive Series, each designed with specific consumer lifestyles in mind," said Olivier Francois, President and CEO - Chrysler Brand and Lead Executive for Marketing, Chrysler Group LLC. "More than an icon of simple American motoring, the Chrysler 300 is an icon of attainable style and performance. For those customers who live for the sport of being first, the all-new Chrysler 300 SRT8 is the no compromises king of the hill, featuring the ultimate combination of world-class luxury and performance in our most powerful, best-handling sedan ever."
2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8
The Street and Racing Technology (SRT) performance engineering team builds upon the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan already executed for a world-class luxury experience, to deliver Chrysler's most powerful and best handling model ever.
Projected performance numbers include 0-60 mph acceleration in the high 4-second range; quarter mile in high 12 second range; 0-100-0 mph in less than 16 seconds, top speed of 175 mph and stopping power from 60-0 mph in 120 feet.
Owners of any Chrysler Group SRT vehicle receive one day of professional driving instruction from the Richard Petty Racing School as part of the SRT Track Experience, designed to maximize their driving knowledge and skills on the street or track. Sessions are held throughout the year at selected tracks.
The return of the 300 SRT8 to the Chrysler lineup in 2012 evokes a strong comparison to the original high-performance production car of its time – the 1955 Chrysler 300. Known for simple, strong lines, excellent engineering, high levels of luxury and outstanding performance with the first modern American V-8 engine to produce 300 horsepower, the first Chrysler 300 (C-300) was styled by Virgil Exner, who radically redesigned the entire Chrysler line and created what they called "The Forward Look" in 1955. Without much chrome on the sides, his designs were simple, but strong. Exner is credited with creating the illusion of fast, forward movement.
The Chrysler C-300 won on both the road course and the "flying mile" at Daytona in 1955. In 1956, the Chrysler 300B model won both events again. In fact, the Chrysler 300s dominated NASCAR competition in 1955 and 1956, taking the overall championship in both years. A legendary and luxurious performance car was born. The "letter cars" quickly became the most desirable of the Chrysler lineup and became known as the "Beautiful Brutes."
Under the hood of the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8, the new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 makes its debut in the Chrysler brand product lineup delivering an estimated 465 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, up 40 horsepower and 45 lb.-ft. over the 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 it replaces.
The improved torque output - including an additional 80 lb.-ft. at 2,900 rpm - allows for inspired standing starts and improved straight-line performance while new, performance-tuned motor mounts improve idle stability and ride control at any speed. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides maximum low-end torque while optimizing high-end power.
Even with the elevated power numbers, an estimated 25-percent fuel economy increase on the highway is achieved by use of a new for 2012 active valve exhaust system that allows the standard Fuel Saver technology (four-cylinder mode) to engage over a wider rpm range. The new active exhaust system also allows for straight-through mid and rear mufflers for a throaty exhaust note under engine load.
Specific fuel economy numbers will be announced closer to the vehicle introduction.
Standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters join the standard Auto Stick on the floor console. Both are mated to the proven five-speed automatic transmission, allowing a choice of spirited shifting on the road and the race track.
Both methods give the driver the ability to manually shift the transmission. The transmission controller calibration in "Auto" mode prevents situations that might over rev the engine; while in "Sport" mode, it allows the driver full control of the shifting schedule. Fully adaptive electronic control of all shifting makes the powertrain more responsive while minimizing harshness.
Outstanding ride and handling
New for 2012 is an Adaptive Damping Suspension (ADS) system that is tuned specifically for the Chrysler 300 SRT8 to offer a compliant and comfortable ride. The ADS system also uses a wide range of on-road and driver inputs - such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral and vertical accelerations - to automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions when necessary.
In addition, drivers can manually choose between "Auto" and "Sport" settings that quickly change the shock damping and harshness characteristics from everyday commuting to more spirited driving situations.
The performance SRT-tuned, fully-hydraulic steering system also has been improved with a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing to give drivers more direct feel and on-center response.
New seven-spoke, 20-inch lightweight forged aluminum wheels and available three- or four-season tires provide great looks with fun-to-drive performance and handling.
SRT vehicles are well known for their world-class stopping power and the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 features 14.2 inch (front) and 13.8 inch (rear) vented/slotted rotors with four-piston Brembo calipers painted in silver finish. Improved brake cooling and fade performance comes courtesy of new underbody belly pan with integrated brake ducting.
The standard Ready Alert Braking system anticipates situations when the driver may initiate an emergency brake stop and engages the electronic stability control pump to set brake pads against rotors in order to decrease the time required for full brake application.
Aggressive and functional exterior with available Black Chrome Package
An exclusive new front fascia has a modern, yet timeless appearance that is carried through with the all-new grille and new Chrysler wing badge. The black chrome upper and lower grille surrounds and rear valance strip are part of the available Black Chrome Package.
The 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 is one-half inch lower when compared to the base car and features new SRT-exclusive side sill cladding painted in matching body color for the "planted" look of a true sports sedan.
The rear includes a unique lower fascia with chrome accent bar, new 4-inch round dual exhaust tips and a modified SRT8 decklid badge with new black accent. Rounding out the Black Chrome Package are the black chrome accent spear and exclusive black chrome wheels.
Race inspired and functional interior
The all-new interior environment combines world-class luxury accommodations with performance-oriented technology and appointments.
An all-new leather-wrapped, heated, SRT-exclusive steering wheel features a unique rim section with a flattened bottom surface showing the SRT logo. Standard paddle shift controls flank both sides of the new contoured palm rests while all audio and Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) controls are accessible from the horizontal spokes on the steering wheel.
For the high-performance look, real carbon fiber interior trim pieces are integrated into the new instrument panel, door spears and shifter bezel and new racing style brake and gas pedal pads are standard.
The new full-color graphic EVIC with exclusive Performance Pages includes timers for 0-60 mph, one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times, 60-0 braking distance, along with lateral and longitudinal g-forces within the touchscreen display.
The new instrument panel's 8.4-inch color touchscreen display – the segment's largest standard display – also has all the same Performance Pages data as the EVIC, and is further expanded to include steering angle, vehicle yaw angle, horsepower, and torque outputs along with engine gauges. The display is customizable to a driver selectable background.
An available Premium Leather Interior Package offers Poltrona Frau "Foligno" leather wrapped upper door trim panels, instrument panel, cluster brow and center console side panels. Nappa leather covers the door bolster, armrest and center console armrest.
The standard heated and ventilated front seats have active head rests with the SRT logo embroidered in seat backs. Rear seats also are heated for passenger comfort.
Modified door trim panels feature unique bolster material and accent stitching on arm rests to match the seats.
Safety and security
The all-new 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 features more than 70 advanced safety and security features, including standard Keyless Enter-N-Go and electronic stability control (ESC) with segment-exclusive Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features to improve overall vehicle handling and performance.
Chrysler brand's signature SafetyTec Group is available on the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 and packages many first-time-available features including adaptive-forward lighting (AFL), high-intensity discharge (HID) projector high and low-beams with automatic headlamp leveling, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with adaptive-cruise control (ACC), Blind-spot monitoring (BSM) with Rear Cross Path (RCP) detection, ParkSense® front and rear park assist system, LED-illuminated rear fog lamps, exterior mirrors with supplemental turn signals and approach lamp.
In addition, standard front-row reactive head restraints, standard full-length side-curtain air bags, driver's knee bag and standard front seat-mounted side-thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision.
Connectivity and Infotainment
New for 2012 is the available SRT performance sound system from Harman Kardon®. Producing the ultimate in sound quality, the 900-watt, 19-speaker system includes:
• Seven 3.5-inch Unity coaxial mid-range speakers with seven integrated tweeters located in the instrument panel, rear doors and rear deck
• Two 6 x 9-inch subwoofers located in the front doors
• Two 6 x 9-inch subwoofers in the rear deck
• One 10-inch subwoofer in the rear deck
• 12-channel, high-speed amplifier
The state-of-the-art Uconnect® Touch 8.4N system provides all of the next-generation mobile infotainment and multimedia items to keep passengers connected between any destinations. With the segment's largest standard touchscreen display (8.4-inches), the easy-to-use system delivers world-class functionality with an intuitive user interface that was benchmarked against the best E-segment sedans from Europe, Asia and North America.
Segment-exclusive Garmin® navigation on the premium Uconnect Touch 8.4N model provides easy-to-use maps, lane guidance and more than 6 million points of interest. SIRIUS Travel Link on the premium Uconnect Touch 8.4N provides real-time weather, fuel prices, sports scores and movie theater information to make any trip more efficient and fun. SIRIUS Traffic provides real-time traffic reports where available.
Uconnect Voice Command, Uconnect Touch, steering-wheel controls and familiar center-stack controls all work in synergy to make the experience intuitive and simple for the driver.
All-new Chrysler 300S and 300C Executive Models Expand the Chrysler 300 Letter Series Heritage with More Personality and Style
• All-new 2012 Chrysler 300S series brings a youthful and aggressive appearance with athletic style and sophistication
• Chrysler brand redefines mobile audio experience with the world's first integration of Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ audio technology on all-new 300S models, creating the high-definition sound experience the way the artist intended you to hear it
• With premium materials and world-class refinement, the all-new 300C Executive Series is the most luxurious Chrysler sedan ever
• Two all-new models bring uniquely distinct personalities to the Chrysler flagship sedan's 2012 model lineup
• Available in Chrysler showrooms in third quarter 2011
With its dramatic styling and world-class power, the Chrysler 300 has appealed to people of all lifestyles since 2005. Now, with unique luxury and style appointments, the all-new 2012 Chrysler 300S and 300C Executive Series models broaden the appeal of the Chrysler brand's flagship sedan with even more style in two uniquely appointed directions, while delivering world-class refinement, materials and grand-touring performance.
All-new 2012 Chrysler 300S Series
Adding an avant-garde appearance to the letter-series flagship sedans, the all-new Chrysler 300S V-6 and V-8 models take the American brand in a new direction with world-class ride and handling, discrete exterior styling elements, contemporary interior materials and state-of-the-art technology features.
"No chrome . . . no wood . . . matte carbon fiber finishes . . . unique black or Radar Red leather . . . our biggest wheels, and world's first integration of Beats by Dr. Dre audio technology – the best standard audio system period. This is the new Chrysler 300S and it has an attitude that comes through loud and clear," said Olivier Francois, President and CEO - Chrysler Brand and Lead Executive for Marketing, Chrysler Group LLC. "For the Chrysler brand, it's not just about design, it's about substance. And with the Chrysler team working with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for months, I know the new 300S with its mapped sound waves, designed algorithms and unique Beats Audio components are a direct result from our model collaboration – a partnership between an OEM and the music industry – that makes the 300S perform with the power to play music as the artist intended it to be heard."
With larger 20-inch polished-face aluminum wheels with black painted pockets, wider all-season performance tires, touring-tuned (performance-tuned with HEMI® V-8 engine) second-generation E-segment chassis architecture with 25 percent quicker steering and 20 percent heavier on-center feel than the entry-level 300 model, the all-new Chrysler 300S V-6 and V-8 models are engineered for driving enjoyment.
Hinting that this Chrysler sedan was born with attitude and street-cred – unique body-color fascia accents and mirrors, and black-accented headlamp bezels with matching sculpted horizontal grille blades in black chrome replace bright chrome to give the 2012 Chrysler 300S a low-key street presence.
The interior of Chrysler 300S models exude an athletic-luxury theme with 12-way power driver and passenger front seats with large-bolstered and heated monotone cloth sport seats surrounded by an interior environment in black or Radar Red. Exclusive use of Piano Black on interior center stack, instrument panel, steering wheel, gauge cluster and door panel elements provide a uniquely lacquered and highly detailed appearance. Completing the enthusiast-designed interior are matte carbon hydrographic finished accents, replacing traditional burl wood.
State-of-the-art Uconnect® Touch 8.4 provides 2012 Chrysler 300S passengers with the segment's largest touchscreen display (8.4-inch) and next-generation mobile infotainment, connectivity and multimedia features.
Uconnect Touch also controls the 522-watt 12-channel amplifier that integrates the heart of the Beats proprietary equalizer algorithm, creating the high-definition sound Beats Audio founders Dr. Dre, and Jimmy Iovine, Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, require in their professional recording studios.
Behind the world's first integration of Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ audio technology, the 2012 Chrysler 300S features a high-performance 10-speaker Beats Audio system. Delivering the mid- to high-range needed for studio-quality sound are three 3.5-inch speakers located in the instrument panel and two 3.5-inch speakers located in the rear doors. Two 6 x 9-inch front-door woofers provide bass, while two 6 x 9-inch speakers and a center-mounted 8-inch speaker located in the rear-shelf area provide full-range audio.
Maximizing how music genres from hip hop to Motown should sound and feel, an 8-inch Beats Audio trunk-mounted dual-voice coil subwoofer with sealed enclosure delivers tight, powerful, punchy bass.