Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review: 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 [w/video]

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Imported From Detroit And Then Some

2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8

To the average driver, the term "horsepower" has, for all intents and purposes, no meaning whatsoever. Not surprising, really, as there isn't any single established explanation, at least not a good one, as to how today's piston-powered engines became so intertwined with the output of a horse. Think, for a moment: Can you really quantify how much power 200 horses produce? Regardless, and though not all engines have been measured with the same methods of certification, enthusiasts of the four-wheeled kind have well over a century of automobiles and their attendant horsepower ratings with which to occupy themselves.

The Ford Model T, way back in 1908, offered up 20 horsepower. The original air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle was rated at 50 horses or less, depending on the year and displacement. Fast-forward to 1955, when Chevrolet's newly introduced small-block V8 made an impressive 162 hp, and then to the release in 1964 of the Pontiac GTO and its 348-horsepower Tri-Power engine. We'll shimmy right past the lamentable 1970s and '80s (in 1975, it was possible to buy a Chevrolet Corvette with as few as 165 horses) because, more recently, there's been a very welcome power resurgence.

Our Editor-in-Chief's beloved 1991 Ford Taurus SHO is fitted with a Yamaha 3.0-liter V6 that was factory rated at 220 horsepower, and a few short years later, the 1994 Chevrolet Impala SS offered up a 260-horsepower V8. We bring up the SHO and Impala because they are four-door sedans, meaning horsepower need not be dismissed by the average man who must pile in his spouse and 2.5 children.

And now we have the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8. Lurking behind its blacked-out grille is a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine that ripples the pavement with 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. To put that figure into perspective, its more ponies than such high-horse heavy hitters as the latest Chevrolet Camaro SS and Ford Mustang GT. In fact, it's 40 horsepower more than the 2012 Corvette. Giddyup.

Certainly, there's more to the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 than its honker of a V8. But let's not kid ourselves - if the SRT8 is on your shopping list, it's 6.4-liter V8 is what put it there.

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2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 Jan 2012 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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