The Chrysler 300C SRT8 has now been caught completely free of camo, which makes a New York auto show debut in a couple of weeks likely. The theme here is menace, backed up by a blacked-out grille, blacked-out headlight surrounds, a black-chrome grille frame, black-chrome wheels (hiding Brembo-emblazoned brake calipers), and a black rear "diffuser." The exhaust tips are now fully round cannons instead of the regular 300C's oval exits, and there is less chrome slathered around the exterior; the front bumper adornments and taillights are among the de-zooted pieces. The interior has been shot, too, and the photo reveals the flat-bottomed steering wheel from the Charger SRT8, confirmation of wheel-mounted shift paddles, and trim that may or may not be actual carbon fiber. Read on for more of what we already know about the car; we'll bring you official photos and full info just as soon as they become available.
Chrysler’s second-generation 300 sedan is mostly a reskin of the original, rather than a completely new car. While an entirely new car is often the better solution, the latest 300 was changed where change was needed—the interior, specifically—while the competent chassis was largely left alone. But there’s another way to effect notable change: adding power. Enter the SRT8 version, caught here out for a drive wearing its winter coat.
We got a good preview of the mechanical bits destined for this car with the unveiling of the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8. The two cars have historically been nearly identical underneath, and that won’t change. That means the 2012 300C SRT8 will pack Chrysler’s new 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, making around 465 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, the figures from the Charger. The last 300C SRT8 we tested, which had 425 horses from its 6.1-liter Hemi, hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, so figure a tenth or two off of that time for the 2012 model.
The five-speed automatic returns, and, like the Charger SRT8, should come with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles; later, an eight-speed auto will replace it throughout the 300 lineup. Where the SRT8 Charger and 300C have differed in the past is in their suspension tuning; the Charger was a bit stiffer and should continue to be. And since the new Charger SRT8 will offer a two-mode adaptive suspension, we predict a similar setup for the 300C.
As is the case with the current car, this SRT8 will not look markedly different from the regular-strength 300C. Although hidden behind the white mesh here, a different grille treatment is a given, as is a more aggressive lower front fascia. We’d be okay if the designers toned down some of the 300C’s chrome—the fact that this car wears body-colored door handles as opposed to the C’s shiny pieces has us hopeful. Updated 20-inch wheels are expected, and a diffuser-like insert in the rear provides plenty of space for some big chrome exhaust tips. Other than those small details, though, it should be 300C business as usual.
Did we know this car was coming? Sure we did. Does that make it any less cool? Not a bit. The 300C SRT8 should bow at a major American auto show later this year, i.e. in New York this spring or Los Angeles in the fall. It will hit dealers toward the end of the year, along with the Charger SRT8, as a 2012 model.
Thanks to: Car and Driver