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2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 (photos)

The 300 SRT8 is a throwback muscle car, a mean machine with a 6.4-liter displacement that makes the car shimmy and shake.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Throughout some recent troubled years, Chrysler's model lineup diminished. But as they say, only the strong survive, as is the case with the 300. Chrysler's full-size sedan remains a rear-wheel-drive premium car, with a bold grille and evocative roofline.

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In a recent update, the 300 gained white LED parking lights that run in a strip around the headlights.

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The SRT8 model gets this 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, an old-style engine making 470 horsepower.

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Because of its upright roofline, the rear seat is as roomy as the front, with easy accessibility.

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An option pack brings in this panoramic sunroof.

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The suspension tuning makes for a reasonably firm ride, and good stability in the corners.

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As a full-size sedan, the trunk is spacious.

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The 300 SRT8 is a high-trim model, meaning power seats and a standard navigation system.

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Red leather is not a requirement for the seats.

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By using one big touch screen, Chrysler cleans up a lot of the switchgear from the center stack. Although it does keep useful manual controls for temperature and volume handy.

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The 300 SRT8 uses hydraulic boost for its power steering. On initial startup, the system was a little slow to pressurize, meaning the wheel was difficult to turn. That issue passed after just a few seconds under way.

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The button on the upper right lets you set the following distance for the adaptive cruise control.

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Voice command is somewhat limited in the 300 SRT8. It works with the phone system, but doesn't control navigation.

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The five-speed automatic transmission allows sequential gear selection through paddles on the steering wheel or moving the shifter side to side.

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Blue illumination is a nice touch for these classic-looking gauges.

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The performance computer shows g-forces on the instrument cluster LCD.

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The main screen can show performance computer functions, or a variety of virtual gauges.

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The Garmin navigation software is very capable, but not entirely integrated with the car's cabin software.

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The interface design for cabin tech functions other than navigation is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.

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With an iPod plugged into the car, the music library interface shows album art.

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The stereo includes a number of modern audio sources, and even an SD card slot.

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Sirius Travel Link, integrated with the navigation system, provides a variety of useful external data.

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The Bluetooth phone system includes the option to read a paired phone's contact list.

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