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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
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
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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