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Three muscle cars icons battle it out
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature ‘Commute, Toy or Destroy’.
AutoGuide.com Five-Point Inspection, Done a little differently
Up for inspection this week is the Chrysler 300C with all-wheel drive, or maybe we should say “300Cs.” The vehicle gods have smiled upon the humble editors of AutoGuide; stars aligned, a comet passed and the tarot cards gave a thumbs up because two of us have been graced with essentially the same car.
With the oil crisis of the ‘70s many predicted the death of the V8 engine, but it has continued to solider on. With Chrysler and Infiniti execs recently commenting that there’s no place for eight-cylinder cars in the future of their respective brands, this time, are the V8 engine’s days finally numbered?
Set to go on sale this fall, Chrysler has announced plans to offer a special “Glacier: edition of its 300 sedan.
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.
GALLERY: Mopar ’12 300
The Big three do some things really, really well: like building pickup trucks that turn construction guys giddy. While each company has had their fair share of foibles over the past decade they’ve managed to stay more-or-less true to themselves.
Many members of the truck community would probably snort at the idea of marrying hybrid technology with their go-to workhorse, but Chrysler isn’t convinced it’s such a bad idea. So far they have distributed a total of more than 100 test vehicles throughout U.S. cities with the intent to gather market research.
“Cities have been carefully selected to help the Chrysler Group LLC collect a wide range of data,” said Abdullah Bazzi, senior manager of Chrysler’s advanced hybrid vehicle project.
Chrysler maintains that this is strictly a test program for now with no plans for production versions of the trucks in the future, but the trucks will driven over the next three years to evaluate several factors that the company will use.
They plan to test charging performance, real-world performance, city drive cycles and fuel economy. Just because there’s hybrid technology on board, don’t assume these trucks are packing less of a punch. They have the option to run in four or two-wheel drive to save fuel but you’ll find a plenty-potent 5.7-liter Hemi under the hood.
The project, funded both by Chrysler and the Department of Energy, is also developing a similar fleet of 25 PHEV Town & Country minivans.
Chrysler is cranking up the heat when it comes to SRT raw power. Chrysler is said to be looking at offering a supercharger package for its LX-based SRT products that could produce as much as 570-hp. Chrysler has been developing an Eaton-sourced supercharger package that will boost power for the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 from 470-hp to between 540-570-hp.
The twin-screw supercharger kit will most likely be offered as a factory part, but dealers may also offer the kit as a retrofit to cars currently sold. Pricing details are unknown and the kit probably won’t be offered on the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. The kit will most likely be available next year, on 2013 model year cars.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Chrysler has released pricing for the high performance 300 SRT8, with the new model starting from $47,995. The 2012 model sits half an inch lower than non-SRT models, has a new front fascia and grill, along with body-colored side cladding, four-inch exhaust tips and a new rear fascia. You already know it will come with aggressive 20-inch rims and the available Black Chrome Package adds black chrome rims, black upper and lower grille surrounds and a rear valance strip.
This beastly 300 packs a 6.4-liter HEMI cranking out 470-hp and 470 lb-ft of torque mated to the previous generation’s five-speed automatic transmission. It will rip of a 0-62 mph time in the high fours and has a top speed of 175 mph.
GALLERY: Chrysler 300 SRT8
Should Maserati build an SUV? Well, that doesn’t really matter because they will and it won’t be what you’re expecting. One would imagine the SUV would be dripping in fine Italian materials but the underpinnings of this truck will be very American. The vehicle will be based on the brand-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, but insiders have said it will be hard to spot the resemblance. The interior will be fitted with plush Italian leather as well as wood accents throughout the inside.
Under the hood will be a Chrysler HEMI 6.4-liter V8 producing 465-hp. While Maserati already has their own 4.7L V8, the reality is that the HEMI already fits in the platform quite well and will help keep the cost of the vehicle down. The well regarded Fiat V6 diesel will also be available on the Cherokee platform.
The SUV will be the fourth model to join the Maserati lineup, and production will begin in 2013 at the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit.
[Source: Top Gear]
Mopar’s newest offering will be limited to only 1,000 units and will feature a fine collection of Mopar parts to upgrade the already potent performance of the 2011 Dodge Charger. Equipped with the infamous 5.7-liter HEMI, the Charger will push out 370-hp and 395 ft-lbs, optimized by the Super Trac Pac option. The Super Trac Pac option aids in extracting the maximum amount of torque and engine power thanks to a specially calibrated engine controller.
Paired with a five-speed W5A580 automatic transmission, the Mopar Charger will feature the newest generation Pistol Grip shifter combined with Auto Stick. This will allow drivers to select a higher or lower gear without worrying about over-revving the motor. Unique to the Mopar Charger is a 3.91:1 final drive which enhances acceleration giving the Mopar Charger a 0-60 time in the low five-second range.
Suspension upgrades will also be included with a larger 30-mm stabilizer bar up front while the rear features a 20-mm bar (up from 27-mm and 16-mm respectively). Cross-car braces can also be seen in the front and the rear improving the overall stability and handling of the Charger.
On all four corners, 20×8-inch Envy wheels are paired with Goodyear’s F1 tires in a 245/45/20 sizing. The wheels are finished off with a high-gloss black theme which matches the Pitch Black finish of the Mopar Charger. Peeking behind each of the five-spoke wheels are dual-piston sliding calipers and upgraded rotors in the front while the rear is outfitted with single-piston calipers.
Along with the Pitch Black exterior finish is a pair of Mopar Blue racing stripes and a rear spoiler. Inside, Katzkin leather seats feature Mopar Blue stitching, which match the leather steering wheel as well.
As mentioned, only 1,000 units will be available (900 for the U.S., 100 for Canada) and will start at $39,750.
GALLERY: 2011 Mopar Charger
For some, the Easter Jeep Safari at Moab, where off-roaders from across the world to tackle the trails of Utah’s Red Rock country, is a big deal. So big, in fact, that Jeep is choosing the mid-April event to unveil six new models hopped up by Mopar.
These six models range from turning the mild-mannered Compass into something less embarrassing, to the sort of rock-crawling, nitrous-injected, rollover-prone monsters that crash in spectacular fashion on Youtube. There’s something for every off-road enthusiast in here—especially for those who may be forced to drive through a Camel Trophy trail on the way to dropping their kids off at school.
The Wrangler above is the wildest of the bunch: ready for rock crawling and off-road racing, Mopar jammed a 426-in aluminum HEMI in there good for 540 horsepower, 39-inch tires attached to custom driveshafts, and a full cage enveloping racing seats and a fuel cell. The other two Wranglers are “tamer” in comparison: the silver one is dubbed “Pork Chop” and is an exercise in weight savings, while the black Wrangler is a V8-powered Renegade that harkens back to the CJs of the 1970s.
For those that aren’t ready to go tearing up the rocks, Mopar also prepped some milder models, including a Grand Cherokee with skid plates and handsome 32″ wheels, and a Compass that’s actually Trail-Rated. The most interesting is the safari-ready Liberty, which is actually a diesel model from overseas where they still call it the Cherokee. White steel rims and questionable zebra striping add to the jungle-ready look.
Dodge is preparing a special Mopar edition of its Charger sedan, similar to its Mopar ’10 Challenger, and has revealed a sketch of the car, shod in the familiar black-and-blue paint scheme.
Blue stripes run across the body of the car, and the Charger’s tacky hood scoops are also gone, making this car almost worth the price of admission. Chrysler hasn’t released any mechanical details beyond noting that the car will offer”…even more performance”, but considering that the Challenger was offered with a 5.7L Hemi V8 and a couple bolt-ons, we don’t think the changes will be too drastic.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
There are few places in the world where you can get a 5.7-liter V8 for the price of a well-equipped Civic Hybrid. But Chrysler has appealed to cheap truck fans with the Ram Adventurer, a base-model Ram 1500 with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 for the low, low price of $23,830.
Get ‘em before they’re gone, folks! The Adventurer name dates back to Chrysler history, specifically that of the 1956 DeSoto Adventurer. And despite the price, it is well-equipped: the truck gets body-colored grilles and bumpers, fog lights, and 20-inch wheels. There are trailer hitches, spray-on bedliners, and chrome bits available as options, and buyers can choose between short cab, regular bed, two-wheel or four-wheel drive models.
It will be available in the spring alongside the Tradesman, another entry-level truck that was shown at the Chicago show. At a price of under $25,000, we doubt they won’t last long on dealer lots.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel wasn’t long for this world in its previous iteration, but the oil-burning Jeep will soldier on in Europe, where diesels enjoy massive popularity.
Bowing at the Geneva Auto Show in March, the Grand Cherokee CRD will likely use a version of Chrysler’s previous diesel engine which made 218 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. Despite the highly touted Pentastar V6 and HEMI V8 sold here, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see the diesel make a return.
Following the footsteps of the Ford Mustang (which seems to have countless special editions), Dodge unveiled their first special edition Challenger, dubbed the “Mopar ’10 Challenger”.
Based on the Challenger R/T, the Mopar version gets a cold-air intake, front and rear strut tower braces, 20″ forged wheels, hood pins, unique badging. The car will only be available in Brilliant Black with Red, Blue or Silver striping. Only 500 units will be built, so act fast.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Chrysler will begin to shy away from the performance-oriented Hemi brand in its marketing in favor of a greener and more efficient image. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the Hemi name will be use sparingly for the line of V8 engines across all Chrysler products.
Instead, Chrysler intends to put marketing dollars behind its new Pentastar V6 engine and new technology borrowed from Fiat – like the Italian automaker’s Multiair variable valve timing. Chrysler claims that the new Pentastar engine will improve fuel economy in its vehicles by as much as 25 percent. Over time it is also expected to also feature direct-injection and turbocharging.
The Hemi name will still be used on certain Dodge and Ram vehicles, but will be cut entirely from Chrysler models. Instead, Chrysler will refer to the big V8 engines only by displacement or cylinder number.
[Source: WSJ via LeftLaneNews]