Chrysler Releases SRT8 Models for 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee

Posted: Apr 20, 2011 11:24 a.m.

Today at the New York Auto show, Chrysler will unveil the SRT8 trims for the 2012 Chrysler 300 and the 2012 Jeep Cherokee. Both models are the upscale versions of these vehicles, with bigger engines and exterior enhancements that look somewhat European.

The Chrysler 300 SRT8’s claim to fame is that it’s fresh off the 2011 Chrysler 300’s redesign, so the SRT8 gets the base model’s updates and then some. The 2012 model now sports a 6.4-liter V8 engine that makes 465 horsepower and 465 pound feet of torque, which is a significant jump in power compared to the 2010 model, which had a 6.1-liter V8 engine that made 425 horsepower, 40 less than the 2012. Of course, all this power leads to low fuel economy ratings. According to Kicking Tires, “Chrysler says the highway mileage increases by 25 percent over the previous model, which was rated 13/19 mpg city/highway.”

Chrysler also made some exterior and interior updates. Outside, the 300 SRT8 gains 20-inch aluminum wheels, and there’s an optional Black Chrome Package that features black chrome on the upper and lower grille. Most reviewers don’t comment on the 300 SRT8’s styling, but Jalopnik thinks it “looks like an angry refrigerator.” Inside, you’ll find SRT8 sport seats, carbon-fiber trim and a new color display that, according to Kicking Tires, “displays acceleration times, braking distance and g-force” and “steering angle, yaw angle and engine output.”

Chrysler – Jeep’s parent company – also updated the Grand Cherokee SRT8 for the 2012 model year, but this compact SUV gets some unexpected changes that have some automotive writers critiquing Chrysler’s design choices.

The most significant update is the Grand Cherokee SRT8’s 6.4-liter 465-horsepower HEMI engine, which has the same specifications has the one found on the Chrysler 300 SRT8. The engine makes 465 pound-feet of torque. “The improved torque output — including an additional 80 lb.-ft. at 2,900 rpm — allows for what Chrysler calls ‘inspired standing starts,’ while new, performance-tuned motor mounts improve idle stability and ride control,” Jalopnik comments. “An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides maximum low-end torque while optimizing high-end power.”

Chrysler hasn’t released pricing information for the 300 SRT8 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, but expect the 300 SRT8 to top $39,000. Both models should hit showrooms later this year.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.