The brand new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan has come and gone so now it’s finally time for the model we’ve all been waiting for, the high-performance 300 SRT8, which goes on display this week at the 2011 New York Auto Show.
As previously reported, Chrysler is skipping the 2011 model year for the new-generation of its 300 SRT8, introducing it as a 2012 model instead. This means that engineers still have some time to fine tune its new drivetrain and chassis as the popular muscle sedan isn’t due in showrooms until this fall.
Details we can confirm include the installation of the automaker’s 6.4-liter ‘392’ Hemi V-8, found in various other SRT8 products like the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 and 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8. In its 300 SRT8 application, the big motor churns out a healthy 465 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque--up 40 horsepower and 45 pound-feet over the 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 it replaces.
Where engineers have really focused is mid-range torque. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides maximum low-end torque while optimizing high-end power. The result is an additional 80 pound-feet of twist at 2,900 rpm compared to the outgoing model, which translates to improved overtaking ability at most speeds.
Projected performance numbers include 0-60 mph acceleration in the high 4.0 second range; quarter mile ETs in the 12 second bracket; 0-100-0 mph in less than 16 seconds, top speed of 175 mph and stopping power from 60-0 mph in 120 feet. It’s safe to say the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 will have what it takes to keep up with the M5s and E63 AMGs of this world.
However, even with these elevated power numbers, an estimated 25 percent fuel economy increase on the highway is expected thanks to a new for 2012 active valve exhaust system that allows the standard Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation technology 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.
It won’t just be about brute strength, however. Like its Charger SRT8 sibling, the new 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 will also get Chrysler’s latest Adaptive Damping Suspension that uses a wide range of on-road and driver inputs, such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration, to automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions.
Drivers can also choose from Auto or Sport settings, which alter the damping force depending on which setting is selected.
Stopping power comes from 14.2 inch (front) and 13.8 inch (rear) vented/slotted rotors with four-piston Brembo calipers painted in a silver finish. Included as standard is the Ready Alert Braking system, which engages the electronic stability control pump to set the brake pads against rotors in order to decrease the time required for full brake application when the driver quickly lifts their foot of the accelerator pedal.
The premium brakes reside within 20-inch lightweight forged aluminum wheels. Other exterior features include a sporty bodykit, black chrome detailing, a lowered ride height and HID headlights.
Inside, there’s a definite race car feel though things always remain luxurious. Key features include a heated leather steering wheel, SRT logos all around, carbon fiber trim and an option performance display screen that shows 0-60 times, eighth and quarter mile times, 60-0 braking distance, along with lateral and longitudinal g-forces.
A Harmon Kardon sound system is an option, as is a Garmin navigation system. Of course, the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 also gets the automaker’s Uconnect interface system and 8.4 inch touchscreen display.
The kicker: buy an SRT-badged vehicle and you'll get a day's worth of instruction at one of the Richard Petty Racing Schools across the country, to help you spend more time shiny-side-up.
Follow our complete coverage of the 2011 New York Auto Show by clicking here.