Test Drive: 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT-8

?All-new Chrysler SRT8?: World-class luxury and performance?

A modern American muscle sedan on steroids

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When American muscle cars were in their heyday, the major focus was primarily on how quickly a vehicle was able to cover the quarter mile, with straight-line performance as the key factor rather than all-around performance attributes ? that?s no longer the case dear readers. In today?s muscle scenario, performance machines are measured by their overall capability in every aspect. According to the Street and Racing Technology, Chrysler Group, (SRT), the 2012 Chrysler SRT8 serves up more than simply a big-bore SRT powerplant under its bonnet. It is representative of an all-around performance package with astounding acceleration, positive handling characteristics, tremendous braking ability and other no-nonsense performance enhancements for both the interior and exterior.

The Chrysler 300 SRT8 is essentially, a Chrysler 300 on steroids of the mechanical variety, rather than the chemical kind. Performance, every aspect of it, is enhanced to deliver pure driving enjoyment to the avid gearhead.

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Today’s 300 SRT8 is a rapid transit machine that takes its power from a big bore 6.4 liter OHV HEMI V8 with sequential, multi-port electronic, returnless fuel injection and automatic fuel saver technology that pumps out 470 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, along with a like amount of torque in pound feet at 4,200 rpm. The engine hooks up to an adaptive electronically controlled Auto Stick transmission with driver-interactive manual control and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters with an electronically modulated torque converter clutch. The engine resides longitudinally up front and drives the rear wheels.

The mighty HEMI V8 has been lovingly and painstakingly “tweaked” by the SRT team. The SRT DNA is derived from the Street and Racing Technology. The horsepower per liter rating exceeds that of the legendary Street HEMI examples of the 1960s and ’70s.

The Chrysler 300 SRT8 stops as well as it goes and corners with surprising agility and stability. Speed levels delivered are 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, 0-100 mph ticks off in under 10.6 seconds, and the Brembo brakes bring the 300 SRT8 to a standstill from 60-0 mph in 120 feet.

In terms of its visual exterior appeal, the 300 SRT8 differs from your basic 300C sedan with features that contribute functionally to the increased performance capability. The front fascia includes integrated ducts that direct fresh air to the brakes for better cooling, while also incorporating an air dam to minimize lift. The rear fascia provides an integrated lower surface for directing airflow along with aggressive cutouts that allow for the split dual exhaust tips. There is also a deck-lid spoiler that helps to create increased down force, assisting with high-speed stability and traction. SRT is stamped into the special forged black chrome 7-spoke aluminum alloy wheels.

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Inside, the 300 SRT8 is no less impressive. Interior accommodations are race-inspired. Red stitched seats are power-adjustable and deeply sculpted and supportive up front, featuring the SRT logo in the front headrests, with suede inserts (front and rear) to avoid slippage of one?s buns during spirited maneuvers.. There are “carbon fiber” trim treatments throughout, along with white-faced functional analog gauges, including a 180 mph speedometer, rimmed by blue luminescent rings. The semi-flat-bottomed steering wheel is a work of art with two horizontal spokes and a split lower spoke with a slick aluma-look finish. It not only looks slick, but is also literally slippery to the touch, which was a little disconcerting.

My test Chrysler 300 SRT8 Coupe was base-priced at $47,170 before options were added and SRT8 magic touches were applied. Following the addition of: the Bright Silver metallic clear coat exterior finish; the Customer Preferred Package; Black Chrome Group; Leather Interior Trim Group; 19 Premium Speaker Group: Dual Pane Panoramic Sunroof: Gas Guzzler Tax; and Destination Charge, the final tally rose to $57,725. not an astronomical sum when one considers the content and performance capability.

SUMMARY:? The 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 is one adrenaline-pumping form of rapid transportation. It is incredibly quick, surprisingly agile considering its overall mass, while also managing a decent, but firm ride quality. It displays a menacing but cool look, sitting low over its 20-inch performance wheels and tires, and it takes advantage of advanced handling characteristics through the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) that is specially tuned for the 300 SRT8.

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There are the usual comfort and convenience features that come as standard in the 300 SRT8, but if one feels that haven’t spent enough, there are also several available options that can provide even more personal satisfaction.

Fuel economy is obviously not terrific given the tremendous power output, but the melodic and authoritative big V8 rumble along with the forward thrust potential seems enough to offset that. City driving at a conventional pace yields an average of 14 mpg, while Highway driving without the throttle pegged to the floor delivers an average of 23 mpg. The reality in driving the 300 SRT8 however, is that sooner or later, temptation will overcome common sense and the need for nailing the gas peddle to the metal, either to show off, or simply to satisfy some inner primal urge, will overtake good judgement. When that happens, having an extra stash of green set aside for paying fines would be considered prudent. The Chrysler 300 SRT8 is indeed race-inspired, but street legal — the level of legality however, is entirely up to the driver. The Chrysler 300 SRT8 is truly a modern American muscle car that combines luxurious appointments with performance prowess. Kudos for the sinister and menacing appearance, the low, racy stance, the sweet rumbling exhaust note and the incredibly rapid acceleration. It?s a car to enjoy, but please ride safe out there and avoid the attention of Officer Friendly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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