In its quest to relive the muscle-car era, Chrysler has brought back the barely street-legal 300 SRT8 sedan for the 2012 model year. Packing 20-inch polished alloy wheels, performance tires, potent Brembo brakes, torque-infested rear-wheel drive (RWD) and a 2-mode adjustable sport-tuned suspension, this full-size, 5-seat screamer makes room at either end for 16.3 cubic feet of trunk space and an oversize Hemi V8 powerplant.
The 6.4-liter Hemi V8 is the sole engine available to this beefed-up commuter car, and it mates with a somewhat underwhelming 5-speed shiftable automatic transmission for 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The automatic, which can be manually shifted via steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, keeps gas mileage at a tepid 14 mpg city/23 highway, while premium unleaded gas is recommended for peak performance.
Of course, only the best will do in Chrysler’s flagship trim, thus the 300 SRT8 boasts leather and suede upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats and full power accessories, including heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, as well as leather, carbon and alloy cabin accents, not to mention some unique SRT8 badges and trim pieces. Cruise control, power-adjustable pedals, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and a universal remote garage door opener all come standard, as does a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front console-mounted cup holders, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Memory for driver's settings, “virtual gauges” and the Uconnect system with voice-activated infotainment, Garmin hard-drive-based navigation and Bluetooth hands-free communications, head the list of standard techno-goodies in this muscular monster. Entertainment, meanwhile, is presented by a 276-watt audio system sporting an MP3-capable single-CD player, 6 speakers, satellite radio, a memory card slot and a USB port.
Should the above prove inadequate, bling-wise, upgraded leather inside and black chrome exterior upgrades are available, as is a 900-watt Harman Kardon audio system with a total of 19 premium speakers. Oh, and this top-shelf screamer can also be delivered with a power-opening dual-pane glass sunroof.
Standard safety features on this screamer, finally, include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, a post-collision safety system, adaptive and self-leveling high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights and a remote antitheft alarm, of course, also come standard. Lastly, Chrysler’s touted SafetyTec package, with radar-interfaced Adaptive Cruise Control, Parksense parking assist, rear cross-path detection, blind-spot alerts and turn-signal-integrated mirrors, includes some hefty optional safety equipment.