NYIAS: The New Chrysler 300 Series


She wants you to come out and play
She sees you…

Luxury. Performance. Comfort. Muscle. Beauty. Affordability.

You can find these attributes in any vehicle on the road. You can have luxury, comfort, and beauty in a Bently, but performance, muscle, and affordability are out. You want muscle and performance? You could take a peek at a Corvette, but then luxury and comfort are going to take a hit. If you want all of them together, there’s only one place to go. Say hello to the new Chrysler 300.

With the 2012 models Chrysler has designed the new 300 series to be a closer fit for you, no matter who you are. The 300S is the toned-down version of the series. At first glance it seems nearly identical to the 300C and the SRT8. The difference, as is often the case, is in the details. The chrome is gone from the exterior, giving the car a more subdued look. The interior is filled with matte finishes all around to continue the less in-your-face style of the 300S. If you want something a little less reserved, there’s an option for bright red leather seats. I will admit that the red leather contrasts really nicely with the matte and carbon fiber, but I can’t see myself paying for it. I can only imagine that being surrounded by red would cause a headache after a while. The 300S also comes with a 10-speaker Beats sound system “tuned” by Dr. Dre. I want to point out that the quotation marks were placed there by Chrysler, not by this author. I’m not trying to be sarcastic with my usage of the word, I just don’t know exactly what they meant when they wrote “tuned” so I left it that way. You have a choice of a Pentastar V-6 or a HEMI® V-8 to power your new road machine.

The 300C Executive is the all-business 300. The seats and door armrests are wrapped in premium Nappa leather for ultimate luxury and comfort. In fact, every bit of the interior is clad in leather; the instrument panel, the doors, the cluster brow, and of course the steering wheel. Adding a little beauty to the mix is real, natural, hand-sanded wood instead of the cheap, not-fooling-anyone plastic that has been popular for so long. Outside, playing up the luxury sedan feeling of the 300C Executive, we see a generous helping of chrome. Mirrors, door handles, the front fascia, the door accents, it is everywhere. It looks like what it is: a fantastic luxury car.

All NYIAS images captured by Lou Piccirillo

But I don’t dig the luxury cars. I love the big engines and sporty rides that grab the road to rip through turns. I said that there was something for everyone in the 300 series, and I meant it. For people like me, Chrysler decided to take the 300 back to its roots. The original, the Chrysler C-300, won the road course and the “flying mile” at Daytona in 1955. Chrysler went back in 1956 with the 300B and took both events again. The 300 series vehicles also took home the NASCAR overall championships for 1955 and 1956. These were the cars that everyone wanted. They came to be known as the “Beautiful Brutes”. These Brutes would eventually become the all new 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8.

As soon as you look at this car, you know you’re not seeing just another luxury sedan. There are no chrome accents. It’s all one color from the brand new, meaner looking front fascia, to the massive pipes roaring out of the back. She’s about half an inch closer to the ground than the rest of the 300s (and if you don’t think that’s a lot, ask the next speed bump you encounter how much difference half an inch makes).  And the biggest change is the 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8, pushing out an estimated 465 horses and 465 lb-ft of torque. You want muscle? You won’t find any more muscle than that in a luxury car. Or is this a sports car? Why can’t she be a little bit of both?

The new 300 SRT8 is one of the most comfortable vehicles I’ve ever sat in. I don’t mean just the way the seats feel,that goes for everything about the interior. The visibility is a lot better than in previous models. I have a 2007 300C (technically that is my wife’s car) and to be honest, I hate driving it. It isn’t because it is uncomfortable to sit in, because it definitely is. But when I’m driving, I feel like I’m sitting in a boat, peeking over the edges at the world around me. I’m a fairly tall man, so when the top of the steering wheel is at eye level when I adjust it to its lowest point, that just doesn’t feel right to me. Sure, I can adjust the seat to make it higher, but then if the sun gets in my eyes and I put the visor down I have about 2 inches of visibility. When I go to prop my arm up in the window (I love driving with the windows down), my elbow shouldn’t be higher than my shoulder. That’s just weird and unacceptable. Thankfully, that has changed with the 2012. The steering wheel sits perfectly so that the top of the wheel itself is right in line with the cluster brow so that it doesn’t restrict your view of the instrument panel. The seats are high enough to get your field of view above the steering wheel without feeling awkward. The new Uconnect system is comfortably within reach so that you can just raise your hand and tap the screen without leaning too much, but because of the new steering wheel control setup you most likely won’t have to; nearly everything you need is literally at your fingertips. But the comfort goes double for the seats. They are like sitting in a brand new recliner for the first time and knowing that you won’t be happy until it is in your living room. When I sat in that car I wanted to stay there all day to enjoy the plush comfort of the seats and feel the warmth of the leather-wrapped steering wheel in my hands. Unfortunately for me, there were a few dozen other journalists awaiting their turn, so I had to pop the bubble and step aside.


Dat Asphalt!

The psychological power of the new 300 SRT8 is just one aspect. There’s also the massive engine under the hood that gives you the kind of power you can only get from a big hunk of Detroit metal. The kind that gives you a sudden rush of adrenaline when the tires bite the asphalt and blast you up to 60 in just over 4 seconds, and then tears through a 1/4 mile in the low 12s. The kind that leaves your heart pumping, your palms sweating, and your soul yearning for one more run. This is the car that the 300 was meant to be; the HEMI-powered monster that chews up blacktop like a lioness devouring her prey.

But as I said before, this isn’t just a sports car. This is a sports car that is disguised as a luxury sedan. Some products hit the market trying to be too many things and they never quite get any of them right. Chrysler didn’t make that mistake here. You’d be forgiven if you believed that you were in any old luxury car. With the plush seats and the leather surrounding you, it’s easy to forget. And that’s the point. If you want a gorgeous daily driver that makes you feel like a millionaire without breaking the bank but you also want the raw, gritty power of a sport sedan, this is your car. The Adaptive Damping Suspension system makes another appearance here, but with only 2 selections. Now instead of the 5 options available in the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, you have Auto and Sport. Auto, as you might imagine, will automatically adjust the ride on the fly. It uses input from the vehicle like steering angle, lateral and vertical acceleration, brake torque, throttle position, and vehicle speed to insure that the driver gets the best possible experience. Sport will tighten it all up for when you want to feel every bit of the road.

When I started this article I was doing my best to try and sound as impartial as possible. I just wanted to present the facts and post it up. That, however, is boring. You can read the PR releases on the next few pages. I like to think that you come here and read these articles for real input from real people. This is genuinely how I feel about this car. From the moment they rolled it out onto the slowly rotating platform, I was in love. When I sat down and felt the seats welcome me, the affair had incontestably begun. Ladies and gentlemen, the Beautiful Brutes have returned.

All NYIAS images captured by Lou Piccirillo

2012 Chrysler 300S

All-new 2012 Chrysler 300S Series
Adding an avant-garde appearance to the letter-series flagship sedans, the all-new Chrysler 300S V-6 and V-8 models take the American brand in a new direction with world-class ride and handling, discrete exterior styling elements, contemporary interior materials and state-of-the-art technology features.

“No chrome . . . no wood . . . matte carbon fiber finishes . . . unique black or Radar Red leather . . . our biggest wheels, and world’s first integration of Beats by Dr. Dre audio technology – the best standard audio system period. This is the new Chrysler 300S and it has an attitude that comes through loud and clear,” said Olivier Francois, President and CEO — Chrysler Brand and Lead Executive for Marketing, Chrysler Group LLC. “For the Chrysler brand, it’s not just about design, it’s about substance. And with the Chrysler team working with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for months, I know the new 300S with its mapped sound waves, designed algorithms and unique Beats Audio components are a direct result from our model collaboration – a partnership between an OEM and the music industry – that makes the 300S perform with the power to play music as the artist intended it to be heard.”

With larger 20-inch polished-face aluminum wheels with black painted pockets, wider all-season performance tires, touring-tuned (performance-tuned with HEMI® V-8 engine) second-generation E-segment chassis architecture with 25 percent quicker steering and 20 percent heavier on-center feel than the entry-level 300 model, the all-new Chrysler 300S V-6 and V-8 models are engineered for driving enjoyment.

Hinting that this Chrysler sedan was born with attitude and street-cred – unique body-color fascia accents and mirrors, and black-accented headlamp bezels with matching sculpted horizontal grille blades in black chrome replace bright chrome to give the 2012 Chrysler 300S a low-key street presence.

The interior of Chrysler 300S models exude an athletic-luxury theme with 12-way power driver and passenger front seats with large-bolstered and heated monotone cloth sport seats surrounded by an interior environment in black or Radar Red. Exclusive use of Piano Black on interior center stack, instrument panel, steering wheel, gauge cluster and door panel elements provide a uniquely lacquered and highly detailed appearance. Completing the enthusiast-designed interior are matte carbon hydrographic finished accents, replacing traditional burl wood.

State-of-the-art Uconnect® Touch 8.4 provides 2012 Chrysler 300S passengers with the segment’s largest touchscreen display (8.4-inch) and next-generation mobile infotainment, connectivity and multimedia features.

Uconnect Touch also controls the 522-watt 12-channel amplifier that integrates the heart of the Beats proprietary equalizer algorithm, creating the high-definition sound Beats Audio founders Dr. Dre, and Jimmy Iovine, Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, require in their professional recording studios.

Behind the world’s first integration of Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ audio technology, the 2012 Chrysler 300S features a high-performance 10-speaker Beats Audio system. Delivering the mid- to high-range needed for studio-quality sound are three 3.5-inch speakers located in the instrument panel and two 3.5-inch speakers located in the rear doors. Two 6 x 9-inch front-door woofers provide bass, while two 6 x 9-inch speakers and a center-mounted 8-inch speaker located in the rear-shelf area provide full-range audio.

Maximizing how music genres from hip hop to Motown should sound and feel, an 8-inch Beats Audio trunk-mounted dual-voice coil subwoofer with sealed enclosure delivers tight, powerful, punchy bass.


  • Chrysler 300S V-6

The 2012 Chrysler 300S V-6 model features the aluminum 3.6-liter Pentastar engine delivering 292 best-in-class six-cylinder horsepower through an all-new segment-exclusive ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. For even more spirited driving with performance feel, the driver can utilize all-new steering-wheel mounted magnesium paddle shifters to manually select the desired gear.

When equipped with the optional Luxury Group, the Chrysler 300S V-6 includes premium Nappa leather sport seating in black or exclusive Radar Red, memory module that stores position of the driver seat, exterior mirror, steering wheel, pedal and radio for two drivers, heated rear seats, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering column, power-adjustable pedals, power sunshade, vehicle security alarm, driver’s side auto-dimming mirrors and auto-tilt in Reverse, heated/cooled cup holders, trunk mat, satin chrome lower door sills with “Chrysler” logo, and LED illuminated front-footwells and front and rear map pockets.

  • Chrysler 300S V-8

Packed with a 363 horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine including innovative Fuel Saver Technology, a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Auto Stick, performance-tuned suspension and larger performance disc brakes, the 2012 Chrysler 300S V-8 delivers world-class power and refinement with enthusiast-tuned handling.
In addition to the features included on the Chrysler 300S V-6 with Luxury Group, the eight-cylinder 300S model adds 160-mph LED-illuminated instrument cluster, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Smartbeam headlamps, ParkView® rear back-up camera, and HomeLink universal transceiver.

  • Chrysler 300S V-6 and V-8 AWD models

Providing additional all-season confidence, the Chrysler 300S V-6 and V-8 all-wheel-drive (AWD) models utilize 19-inch polished-face aluminum wheels with black painted pockets, P235/55R19 all-season performance tires and the most advanced AWD system in its class.

For inclement weather driving conditions and exceptional road manners, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300S AWD models feature a segment-exclusive active transfer case and front-axle disconnect system. This exclusive AWD system also is designed to improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent over competitive full-time all AWD systems. No other major automotive manufacturer offers the combination of these two independent technologies. The Chrysler flagship sedan’s innovative AWD system seamlessly transitions between rear-wheel drive (RWD) and AWD with no driver intervention. When AWD is not required, the system automatically disconnects the front axle to maximize fuel economy while still providing the outstanding performance and handling inherent in RWD vehicles.

The 2012 Chrysler 300S letter-series models arrive at Chrysler dealerships in the fall of 2011.

2012 Chrysler 300C Executive

All-new 2012 Chrysler 300C Executive Series
Designed to be the most luxurious Chrysler flagship sedan ever, the all-new Chrysler 300C Executive Series combines ultra-premium leather – once limited to some of the most exotic Italian luxury cars – with world-class refinement and handling, state-of-the-art safety and connectivity features and the legendary 363 horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine with Fuel Saver Technology.

“For us, it’s not only about making the all-new Chrysler 300C great for a segment, it’s about tailoring it for an individual . . . the businessman . . . the outperformer . . . the trendsetter,” added Francois. “The 2012 Chrysler 300C Executive Series makes a statement with all of its appointments and contrasts. With hand-sanded real wood accents, hand-stitched Italian leather dash, two-tone ultra-soft Nappa leather seats, uniquely polished 20-inch wheels and state-of-the-art Uconnect Touch – our flagship provides passengers with the sense of pure old-school craftsmanship combined with innovative technology.”

Exclusive features found on the Chrysler 300C Executive Series interior include either Mochachino or Black Poltrona Frau “Foligno” leather-wrapped instrument panel, cluster brow, center console side panels and upper front- and rear-door panels. Premium Nappa leather covers the door armrest, bolster and center console armrest. Two-tone Mochachino or Black seats are wrapped exclusively in supple Nappa leather and include 12-way power-adjustable driver and front-passenger seats (including four-way power lumbar) with two-mode ventilation and two-mode heated seats for both front and rear passengers. Specially selected Natural Pore Mocha or Pore Gray real wood trim is finished in a low-gloss to enhance the beauty of the wood.

On the exterior, the Chrysler luxury flagship replaces chromed fascia, mirror and door handle accents with a unique platinum chrome finish for an even more upscale look. Topping off the unique exterior is a platinum-chrome finished grille surround with platinum-chrome sculpted grille blades for a truly distinctive appearance (late availability).

Premium interior amenities within the Chrysler 300C Executive Series model include the state-of-the-art Uconnect Touch 8.4N with Garmin® navigation, SIRIUS Traffic and SIRIUS Travel Link, 160-mph LED-illuminated instrument cluster with driver-selectable color EVIC, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering column with memory, power-adjustable pedals with memory, power backlight sunshade, premium 18-ounce berber floor mats with nubuck trim, satin chrome lower door sills with “Chrysler” logo, dual heated/cooled cup holders, ambient lit foot well lighting, LED illuminated interior door handles and front and rear map pockets, premium carpeted trunk mat, HomeLink universal transceiver and power-folding chromed exterior mirrors with memory, auto-dimming and auto-tilt in Reverse.

Available in rear-wheel drive or with the segment’s most advance AWD system, the 2012 Chrysler 300C Executive Series models arrive at Chrysler dealerships in the fall of 2011.

2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8

2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8
The Street and Racing Technology (SRT) performance engineering team builds upon the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan already executed for a world-class luxury experience, to deliver Chrysler’s most powerful and best handling model ever.

Projected performance numbers include 0-60 mph acceleration in the high 4-second range; quarter mile in high 12 second range; 0-100-0 mph in less than 16 seconds, top speed of 175 mph and stopping power from 60-0 mph in 120 feet.

Owners of any Chrysler Group SRT vehicle receive one day of professional driving instruction from the Richard Petty Racing School as part of the SRT Track Experience, designed to maximize their driving knowledge and skills on the street or track. Sessions are held throughout the year at selected tracks.

The return of the 300 SRT8 to the Chrysler lineup in 2012 evokes a strong comparison to the original high-performance production car of its time – the 1955 Chrysler 300. Known for simple, strong lines, excellent engineering, high levels of luxury and outstanding performance with the first modern American V-8 engine to produce 300 horsepower, the first Chrysler 300 (C-300) was styled by Virgil Exner, who radically redesigned the entire Chrysler line and created what they called “The Forward Look” in 1955. Without much chrome on the sides, his designs were simple, but strong. Exner is credited with creating the illusion of fast, forward movement.

The Chrysler C-300 won on both the road course and the “flying mile” at Daytona in 1955. In 1956, the Chrysler 300B model won both events again. In fact, the Chrysler 300s dominated NASCAR competition in 1955 and 1956, taking the overall championship in both years. A legendary and luxurious performance car was born.  The “letter cars” quickly became the most desirable of the Chrysler lineup and became known as the “Beautiful Brutes.”

Awe-inspiring powertrain
Under the hood of the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8, the new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 makes its debut in the Chrysler brand product lineup delivering an estimated 465 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, up 40 horsepower and 45 lb.-ft. over the 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 it replaces.

The improved torque output – including an additional 80 lb.-ft. at 2,900 rpm – allows for inspired standing starts and improved straight-line performance while new, performance-tuned motor mounts improve idle stability and ride control at any speed. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides maximum low-end torque while optimizing high-end power.

Even with the elevated power numbers, an estimated 25-percent fuel economy increase on the highway is achieved by use of a new for 2012 active valve exhaust system that allows the standard Fuel Saver technology (four-cylinder mode) 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.

Specific fuel economy numbers will be announced closer to the vehicle introduction.

Standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters join the standard Auto Stick on the floor console. Both are mated to the proven five-speed automatic transmission, allowing a choice of spirited shifting on the road and the race track.

Both methods give the driver the ability to manually shift the transmission. The transmission controller calibration in “Auto” mode prevents situations that might over rev the engine; while in “Sport” mode, it allows the driver full control of the shifting schedule. Fully adaptive electronic control of all shifting makes the powertrain more responsive while minimizing harshness.

Outstanding ride and handling
New for 2012 is an Adaptive Damping Suspension (ADS) system that is tuned specifically for the Chrysler 300 SRT8 to offer a compliant and comfortable ride. The ADS system also uses a wide range of on-road and driver inputs – such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral and vertical accelerations – to automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions when necessary.

In addition, drivers can manually choose between “Auto” and “Sport” settings that quickly change the shock damping and harshness characteristics from everyday commuting to more spirited driving situations.

The performance SRT-tuned, fully-hydraulic steering system also has been improved with a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing to give drivers more direct feel and on-center response.

New seven-spoke, 20-inch lightweight forged aluminum wheels and available three- or four-season tires provide great looks with fun-to-drive performance and handling.

Outstanding braking
SRT vehicles are well known for their world-class stopping power and the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 features 14.2 inch (front) and 13.8 inch (rear) vented/slotted rotors with four-piston Brembo calipers painted in silver finish. Improved brake cooling and fade performance comes courtesy of new underbody belly pan with integrated brake ducting.

The standard Ready Alert Braking system anticipates situations when the driver may initiate an emergency brake stop and engages the electronic stability control pump to set brake pads against rotors in order to decrease the time required for full brake application.

Aggressive and functional exterior with available Black Chrome Package
An exclusive new front fascia has a modern, yet timeless appearance that is carried through with the all-new grille and new Chrysler wing badge. The black chrome upper and lower grille surrounds and rear valance strip are part of the available Black Chrome Package.

The 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 is one-half inch lower when compared to the base car and features new SRT-exclusive side sill cladding painted in matching body color for the “planted” look of a true sports sedan.

The rear includes a unique lower fascia with chrome accent bar, new 4-inch round dual exhaust tips and a modified SRT8 decklid badge with new black accent. Rounding out the Black Chrome Package are the black chrome accent spear and exclusive black chrome wheels.

Race inspired and functional interior
The all-new interior environment combines world-class luxury accommodations with performance-oriented technology and appointments.

An all-new leather-wrapped, heated, SRT-exclusive steering wheel features a unique rim section with a flattened bottom surface showing the SRT logo. Standard paddle shift controls flank both sides of the new contoured palm rests while all audio and Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) controls are accessible from the horizontal spokes on the steering wheel.

For the high-performance look, real carbon fiber interior trim pieces are integrated into the new instrument panel, door spears and shifter bezel and new racing style brake and gas pedal pads are standard.

The new full-color graphic EVIC with exclusive Performance Pages includes timers for 0-60 mph, one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times, 60-0 braking distance, along with lateral and longitudinal g-forces within the touchscreen display.

The new instrument panel’s 8.4-inch color touchscreen display – the segment’s largest standard display – also has all the same Performance Pages data as the EVIC, and is further expanded to include steering angle, vehicle yaw angle, horsepower, and torque outputs along with engine gauges. The display is customizable to a driver selectable background.

An available Premium Leather Interior Package offers Poltrona Frau “Foligno” leather wrapped upper door trim panels, instrument panel, cluster brow and center console side panels. Nappa leather covers the door bolster, armrest and center console armrest.

The standard heated and ventilated front seats have active head rests with the SRT logo embroidered in seat backs. Rear seats also are heated for passenger comfort.

Modified door trim panels feature unique bolster material and accent stitching on arm rests to match the seats.

Safety and security
The all-new 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 features more than 70 advanced safety and security features, including standard Keyless Enter-N-Go and electronic stability control (ESC) with segment-exclusive Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features to improve overall vehicle handling and performance.

Chrysler brand’s signature SafetyTec Group is available on the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 and packages many first-time-available features including adaptive-forward lighting (AFL), high-intensity discharge (HID) projector high and low-beams with automatic headlamp leveling, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with adaptive-cruise control (ACC), Blind-spot monitoring (BSM) with Rear Cross Path (RCP) detection, ParkSense® front and rear park assist system, LED-illuminated rear fog lamps, exterior mirrors with supplemental turn signals and approach lamp.

In addition, standard front-row reactive head restraints, standard full-length side-curtain air bags, driver’s knee bag and standard front seat-mounted side-thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision.

Connectivity and Infotainment
New for 2012 is the available SRT performance sound system from Harman Kardon®. Producing the ultimate in sound quality, the 900-watt, 19-speaker system includes:

  • Seven 3.5-inch Unity coaxial mid-range speakers with seven integrated tweeters located in the instrument panel, rear doors and rear deck
  • Two 6 x 9-inch subwoofers located in the front doors
  • Two 6 x 9-inch subwoofers in the rear deck
  • One 10-inch subwoofer in the rear deck
  • 12-channel, high-speed amplifier

The state-of-the-art Uconnect® Touch 8.4N system provides all of the next-generation mobile infotainment and multimedia items to keep passengers connected between any destinations. With the segment’s largest standard touchscreen display (8.4-inches), the easy-to-use system delivers world-class functionality with an intuitive user interface that was benchmarked against the best E-segment sedans from Europe, Asia and North America.

Segment-exclusive Garmin® navigation on the premium Uconnect Touch 8.4N model provides easy-to-use maps, lane guidance and more than 6 million points of interest. SIRIUS Travel Link on the premium Uconnect Touch 8.4N provides real-time weather, fuel prices, sports scores and movie theater information to make any trip more efficient and fun. SIRIUS Traffic provides real-time traffic reports where available.

Uconnect Voice Command, Uconnect Touch, steering-wheel controls and familiar center-stack controls all work in synergy to make the experience intuitive and simple for the driver.

1 thought on “NYIAS: The New Chrysler 300 Series”

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top