For 2012, Chrysler Group LLC plans to double its 300 line to include six models aimed at what the automaker says are various buyer lifestyles.
Sales of three trim levels of the re-engineered 300 began earlier this year. They included the 300, 300C and 300 Limited.
A new “S” version of the 2003, scheduled for model-year 2012, is aimed at younger buyers and does away with the wood trim and chrome which are hallmarks of the Chrysler brand.
Since its introduction in 2005, the 300 remained largely unchanged until last year. In 2005 Chrysler sold 144,068 300s, but sales have continually slid since then. Last year, only 37,116 300s were sold, and sales took a nosedive during the first quarter of this year, falling 39 percent.
In addition to the 300S, Chrysler will introduce the 300C Executive Series and reintroduce 300 SRT8 for 2012.
The 300C is being called the most luxurious sedan ever offered by Chrysler. It will feature leather seating and appointments inspired by Italian luxury cars.
Chrysler CEO Olivier Francois said the 300C “has an attitude that comes through loud and clear.” It will feature matte carbon fiber finishes, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels and new “Beats” audio technology, designed by legendary rapper Dr. Dre.
Buyers will have a choice of either a 292-hp 3.6-liter V-6 or 363-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine.
Created by Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology team, the 300 SRT8 is a high-performance model aimed at true auto enthusiasts. According to the automaker, the 300 SRT8 will be its most powerful and best handling model ever produced. It will have a top speed of 175 mph. Chrysler is promising acceleration of zero-to-60 in under five seconds and zero-to-100 mph-to-zero in under 16 seconds. The 300 SRT8 will also handle the quarter mile in less than 16 seconds.
The vehicle will feature 14.2 inch front and 13.8-inch rear vented, slotted rotors and four-position, silver Brembo calipers. Stopping distance from 60 mph will be a mere 120 feet.
It will also feature an adaptive damping suspension system that uses a variety of data including steering speed, throttle position and vehicle speed to automatically adjust the ride. Motorists will also be able to choose between Sport and Auto settings.
The SRT8 will also feature a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that will deliver 465 hp and 465 pounds-feet of torque. The V-8 will be teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission. Despite the added power, Chrysler says the new-generation SRT8 will deliver 25 percent better fuel economy than its predecessor.
Buyers will receive a one-day instruction course from the renowned Richard Petty Racing School.
The new models will be available this fall.
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