The recently redesigned Chrysler 300 is now joined by a fortified 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 high-performance stud with 6.4-liters of roaring Hemi V8 making 465 horsepower and 465 ft-lbs of torque (an increase of 40 hp). Aerodynamics and bodywork are uniquely tucked and tuned, too. Pricing has not been officially announced, but should start around $45,000.
2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8“The Chrysler 300 SRT8 is no-compromises, king-of-the-hill, the ultimate combination of world-class luxury and performance, in our most powerful, best-handling sedan ever,” said Olivier François, Chrysler’s president and chief executive.
The latest 300 debuted last fall and garnered plenty of accolades, though there was a hole in the lineup where the old SRT8 model stood. The new 300 SRT8 can reach 60 mph in the 4-second range and, with a full head of steam, reach 175 mph. Not to be pigeonholed as only a taker, the SRT8’s fuel economy should be improved 25 percent thanks to a cylinder deactivation program that shuts down four of the eight cylinders.
Unique, lightweight 20-inch wheels in a menacing black finish partially hide huge brake discs and racing-derived Brembo calipers. The SRT Group within Chrysler has adopted a benchmark performance test that goes back over 40 years to racing and test driver, Ken Miles, then in the employ of Carroll Shelby. Miles reckoned braking was every bit as important as acceleration and devised an exercise of racing to 100 mph and immediately throwing out anchor to stop the car as rapidly as possible. Thus, the 0-100-0 mph measurement was born. The SRT Group’s braking system enables the SRT8 to do the 0-100-0 mph run in under 16 seconds and go from 60-0 mph in just 120 feet.
Across the front, the SRT8 has a new lower fascia and a unique slotted grill that's echoed in the lower fascia openings. New sills lower the car visually, and the trunk lid sprouts a subtle spoiler. Inside, the SRT8 is leather-lined and swathed in racy carbon fiber. The large touchscreen offers Performance Pages, which displays performance data like horsepower output, torque output, and cornering forces, and can tabulate zero-to-60 acceleration, 60-to-zero braking, and standing quarter-mile elapsed times.
Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters have been added, and allow manual operation of the five-speed automatic transmission. Also, adaptive dampening shocks allow either a smoother or more athletic setting of the suspension. Seven-spoke, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in beefy tires meet the road.
For those who want to get their Lightning McQueen on, Chrysler offers a free day of driver training at the Richard Petty Driving School for SRT owners.