Redesigned just one year ago, the 300 further improves for 2012. With the addition of an available eight-speed automatic transmission, the 300 full-size luxury sedan reaches new heights of fuel economy and refinement.
While other automakers are still rolling out six-speed automatic transmissions, Chrysler is the first domestic automaker to feature an eight-speed transmission in its vehicles. Paired with the advanced 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, the eight-speed in the 300 helps achieve a best-in-class EPA-estimated 31 mpg highway (rear-wheel drive), best-in-class V6 all-wheel drive economy of 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and best-in-class combined economy of 23 mpg (RWD) and 21 mpg (AWD).
The transmission, built by German specialist ZF, replaces the previous five-speed. Its extra gears reduce the gaps in engine speed during up- and downshifts. Small, evenly spaced ratios result in quicker acceleration and smoother shifts, for world-class levels of refinement in an affordable American luxury sedan.
With eight ratios to choose from, the Electronic Control System constantly monitors a range of parameters including vehicle and engine speed, accelerator pedal position, steering angle and more to select a gear that keeps the V6 in its most efficient operating range. When cruising on the highway, the new transmission allows the V6 to spin at a lower speed with reduced fuel consumption and noise levels.
Drivers who want enhanced traction can equip the Chrysler 300 with the optional all-wheel drive system (AWD). The AWD 300 utilizes a sophisticated, segment-exclusive active transfer case to automatically send torque to the front wheels on an as-needed basis without any driver input. To help reduce drag and minimize fuel consumption when the extra traction isn't needed, the transfer case fully disengages from the front axle.
With the upgraded Pentastar/eight-speed drivetrain combination, the 2012 Chrysler 300 with all-wheel drive delivers up to 17 percent better EPA-estimated fuel economy than earlier models; its 18 mpg in the city/27 mpg on the highway is another best-in-class result.
Every AWD Chrysler 300 sedan rolls on standard 19-inch polished-face alloy wheels with black painted pockets and P235/55R19 all-season performance tires. For 2012 Chrysler 300 AWD models, the suspension features new hydrobushings for improved ride control without sacrificing handling capability.
Drivers of the performance-oriented 300S model, who want to take full advantage of the 292 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque available from the Pentastar V6, can easily switch from the transmission’s normal “Drive” mode to “Sport.” Sport enables quicker gear changes and holds the engine in gear up to higher revs for more aggressive acceleration during spirited driving. A pair of steering wheel-mounted die-cast paddles allows the driver to shift manually.
Drivers who select the optional 363-hp 5.7-liter HEMI V8 aren't ignored when it comes to fuel efficiency either. The beefy HEMI V8 has several features to help stretch the time between visits to the pump. When maximum performance is needed, all eight cylinders contribute to the 394 lb/ft of torque that the HEMI generates at 4,200 rpm. However, when cruising under light load conditions, Fuel Saver Technology automatically and seamlessly switches off the fuel feed and valve opening on four of the cylinders. As soon as the driver needs power for a pass or a hill climb, all eight pistons instantly get back to work.
The HEMI V8 is also equipped with a Variable Valve Timing system to adjust the opening and closing of the valves for optimum breathing under all conditions. Roller cam followers on the valve lifters help reduce internal friction. The bottom line is an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for rear-drive models.
The ZF eight-speed transmission is standard equipment on the 300 Limited and 300S models with the Pentastar V6, and is an optional upgrade on the 300 sedan. With more gears and better fuel economy, the 300 offers more of everything including value. In fact, its price shrinks $1,000 for 2012 to an MSRP starting at $26,170. Contact us today to see and drive the 2012 Chrysler 300 for yourself.