- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2004

Chrysler plans to up the horsepower ante on its popular 300C cars with a new addition to the SRT performance line. The 300C SRT-8 will arrive in showrooms in spring 2005. The new model capitalizes on the popularity of the V-8 Hemi engine option in the 300 sedan series.

Through July, Chrysler recorded 48,000 sales of its 300 models, and dealers have placed an additional 95,000 orders. Chrysler reports that 47 percent of 300 buyers to date have opted for the V-8.

“With the Chrysler 300C SRT-8, we are taking the Hemi engine to the next level, and growing the SRT brand,” Dan Knott, director of street and racing technology, says.

The new 300 would be the seventh member of the SRT lineup of performance-oriented vehicles, joining the Dodge Viper SRT-10, Dodge Neon SRT-4, Dodge Ram and Quad Cab SRT-10 pickups and the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Coupe and Roadster. Rated at 425 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque, the new engine displaces 6.1 liters and pumps out 85 more horsepower than the engine it replaces. The 6.1 Hemi begins as a bored-out version of the 5.7 V-8.

The compression ratio has been increased (10.3:1 from 9.6:1) and the engine block reinforced. High-flow cylinder heads have been added, along with a larger diameter exhaust system to promote better breathing. The redline on the new engine increases from 5,400 rpm to 6,200 rpm. Linked to the five-speed automatic transmission, Chrysler expects the SRT-8 to make the trip from 0 to 60 in the low five-second range, with quarter-mile times in the high 13’s.

The chassis has been lowered and re-tuned in light of the car’s beefed-up performance, and the electronic stability program is calibrated for the SRT-8’s handling characteristics. A new tire and wheel combination has been specified for the latest 300C, with Goodyear F1 performance tires in staggered sizes: 245/45/20 front, 255/40/20 rear. All four wheels are equipped with Brembo brake calipers and vented discs.

Inside, SRT-specific trim is found on the steering wheel, doors and center stack. The gauge cluster includes a 180-mph speedometer. The power-adjustable sport seats are lined with suede inserts to hold occupants in place while cornering. Exterior cues to the 300’s SRT status are low key. The new front fascia helps channel air flow to the brakes, while a low-profile deck spoiler adds down force but not drag. A conservative color pallet is planned — just silver or black.

Chrysler has not yet announced pricing for the new model.

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