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Front-wheel drive dominates today’s automotive landscape, powering everything from subcompact hatchbacks to full-size SUVs. However, it wasn’t always this way. Back in the day rear-wheel drive was king, but over the last 30-odd years carmakers have made a dramatic shift from back to front. Why the flip-flop? No, they weren’t impersonating John Kerry; in reality, they didn’t have a choice.
In case you don’t recognize that name — it’s actually just a dressed up Chrysler 300, albeit with a price tag that jumped about $10,000 over the entry-level Hemi 300. For $49,700, you get a somewhat sinister black-and-chrome color scheme helped by blue pinstripes that set the car’s lines back in sight. 20-inch glossy black rims complement the matching grille and paint job.
The 300 ’12 interior is full of black leather with blue stitching to match the striped outside. The seats also get blue Mopar emblems embroidered in them, though they look gaudy in a car at that price.
You won’t find any engine changes here, the same 5.7-liter Hemi V8 making 363 horsepower is mated with a 5-speed automatic transmission, but it’s going to feel more punchy off the line thanks to a more aggressive differential. Drivers may also notice improved handling thanks to a stiffer suspension.
Have a look at our gallery and tell us what you think in the comments section below.
GALLERY: 2012 Mopar 300 ’12
The Mopar ’12 300, as it’s being called, is a souped up version of the 2012 Chrysler 300.
Earlier today we published a story featuring a gallery with four Mopar-modified cars, which will appear at next month’s Chicago International Auto Show. Since then, the company released detailed information on them. Here’s what we’ve learned about the Mopar ’12 300.
On the outside, the car features a black on black look that suggests improved performance. A single blue pinstripe runs from the front fender to the tail lights, keeping the car from looking more like a piece of auto-shaped obsidian than a sedan.
20-inch glossy black wheels with a matching blue stripe are wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1s. Just above those wheels, the car sports “Mopar 75” fender badges that feature the Mopar Blue “omega” logo.
The interior is “monotone” black with die-cast aluminum paddle shifters, a thicker steering wheel and blue stitching. The sound system gets a boost too, featuring a 506-watt Alpine 9-speaker system.
Nothing changes under the hood aside from a new Mopar engine cover. The same 5.7-liter Hemi V8 making 363 horsepower is mated with a 5-speed automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels.
That power will feel a little different though, thanks to a more aggressively geared differential, which gets swapped from 3.06:1 to 3.91:1.
Though the 300 isn’t known for it’s nimble cornering, the Mopar ’12 edition will feel better than the 300C, which is minimum level Hemi version, thanks to a stiffer suspension.
The brakes also get a bit better, though it’s marginal for a car that weighs more than 4300 pounds. The Mopar package moves us up to bigger front brakes featuring two pistons over the standard single piston versions.
Before you buy one of these things, take a good hard look at what you’re getting. Sure, it looks different, but you had better be in love with the looks because at $49,700 you’re paying more than $10,000 for what amounts to a lot of makeup and marginally improved performance.