Redesigned last year, the full-size Chrysler 300 sedan retains its iconic silhouette and is one of the few remaining American rear-wheel-drive sedans. All-wheel drive is available. With seating for five, the Chrysler 300 offers V-6 or V-8 power, and the high-performance SRT8 version returns for 2012. Competitors include the Toyota Avalon and Ford Taurus.
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An eight-speed automatic is newly available for V-6 models, and the transmission helps the 300 get up to 31 mpg on the highway. The 300S includes this transmission along with a quicker-shifting Sport mode and steering-wheel shift paddles. The 2012 model year also sees the addition of the 300S trim, which is offered with V-6 or V-8 power. The cars feature polished 20-inch aluminum wheels with black pockets, quicker steering with a weightier feel, a black chrome grille and darkened headlight bezels. In the cabin, there’s power heated cloth sport seats, piano black trim and Beats by Dr. Dre premium audio, which is new for 2012.
There’s also a new 300C Luxury Series that features a leather-wrapped interior, heated and ventilated front seats, Berber floormats and real wood trim with a low-gloss finish. A platinum-chrome mesh grille helps distinguish the car from the rest of the 300 lineup.
The Uconnect Touch system has also been upgraded. It now can read aloud incoming text messages and lets the driver choose a response. The available Garmin-based navigation system now recognizes voice commands, and there’s satellite radio-based traffic information as well as more ways to control a connected iPod.
The 300 has a distinctive grille with horizontal blades, though those who prefer a mesh grille can get one installed through Chrysler’s aftermarket Mopar division. In back, the rear bumper angles forward, meeting the taillights without the conventional ledge where the two elements join. Exterior features include:
- Standard LED daytime running lights
- Standard dual chrome exhaust tips
- Standard 17-inch wheels; 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels are optional
- Optional high-intensity-discharge headlights
- Optional sunroof or optional dual-pane panoramic sunroof
Light-blue gauges sit behind a broad steering wheel, and a standard 8.4-inch center display houses various touch-screen controls, along with the optional navigation system for those cars that have it. With the help of a raked windshield, thinner roof pillars and new door frames, the 300 provides increased outward visibility compared with its predecessor. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver’s seat and a USB/iPod-compatible stereo are standard. Trunk volume measures 16.3 cubic feet. Interior features include:
- Standard cloth seats; leather optional
- Optional heated and ventilated front seats
- Optional heated steering wheel
- Standard 8.4-inch touch-screen
- Optional power-adjustable pedals
- Optional heated and cooled cupholders
The 3.6-liter V-6 works with a standard five-speed automatic or an available eight-speed automatic. The optional 5.7-liter V-8 pairs with a five-speed automatic. Mechanical features include:
- 292-horsepower V-6 with 260 pounds-feet of torque
- 363-hp V-8 with 394 pounds-feet of torque and cylinder-deactivation technology
- Both engines can use regular gas
- Rear- or all-wheel drive
Safety features include:
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags for both rows
- Driver’s knee airbag
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
- Active front head restraints
- Optional blind spot monitoring system
- Optional rear cross path detection
- Optional collision warning system
- Optional front and rear parking sensors
- Optional backup camera
- Optional SmartBeam headlights
The 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 combines luxury and high performance in a single car. It’s powered by a 6.4-liter V-8 that puts out 470 hp and 470 pounds-feet of torque. According to Chrysler, the big sedan can go from zero to 60 mph in the high 4-second range and has a top speed of 175 mph. Massive Brembo-brand brakes bring the 300 SRT8 to a halt from 60 mph in 120 feet.
The V-8 works with a five-speed automatic transmission that has shift paddles on the leather-wrapped heated steering wheel. The sedan also has an adaptive suspension with two modes: Auto and Sport. Additional features include SRT-tuned steering and seven-spoke 20-inch forged aluminum wheels.
The 300 SRT8 has a distinctive grille and rides a half-inch lower than the regular 300. Dual 4-inch exhaust tips finish the rear.
The cabin features carbon fiber trim and heated and ventilated front seats with the SRT logo embroidered on the backrest. An optional Premium Leather Interior Package adds leather accents to the upper door trim and instrument panel. A Harman Kardon premium stereo is optional.
Buyers are also entitled to one day of professional driving instruction as part of the SRT Track Experience. The program, which takes place at select tracks throughout the year, is designed to teach owners driving skills they can use on the street or the track. Back to top