Archive for the ‘hemi’ Tag

Test Drive a Dodge Challenger Today

Strap yourself in and get ready for the ride of your life when you’re driving the 2016 Dodge Challenger for sale in Plymouth, MI. This legendary muscle car has top-notch power that gives you heart-racing performance every time its engine roars to life. To see this beast for yourself in person, take a quick trip over to Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

Under the hood of the 2016 Challenger is the option between four robust engines, each of which is more powerful than the last. It comes standard with the 3.6L V6 Pentastar® engine on its base trim level to balance out power with responsible fuel economy. It offers 305 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque, and you’ll be able to pass up gas stations with ease as it records 30 MPG hwy1. To kick things up a notch when you need a burst of speed on I-275, upgrade to the 5.7L HEMI® V8 engine for a raucous 375 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.

interior

Even more power awaits with the available 6.4L HEMI® V8 engine. It has a best-in-class2 485 horsepower to go with 475 lb.-ft. of torque. For when you’re out on the track, this engine will get you to a sizzling top speed3 of 182 MPH. The cream of the crop, however, is the supercharged 6.2L V8 HEMI® SRT Hellcat engine. It is the most powerful muscle car ever4, and you’ll have a rush of adrenaline every time you hit the gas with its 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. On any of these engines, you have the option of between the TorqueFlite® 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, or a 6-speed manual transmission.

Slide into the interior of the 2016 Dodge Challenger for sale in Plymouth, MI, and you’ll find an area that is built to make driving more comfortable for you, the driver. It has a class-exclusive4 7-inch reconfigurable Driver Information Digital Cluster Display that can offer a variety of vehicle information, including 0-60 MPH time3, reaction time, and a lap timer. For entertainment, the 2016 Challenger offers an available Sound Group with six Alpine® speakers and a 276-watt amplifier. For an even better listening experience, upgrade to Sound Group II with nine Alpine® speakers, a subwoofer, and a 506-watt amplifier. With the available Uconnect® 8.4 NAV, you’ll have a class-exclusive4 8.4-inch touchscreen to host all of your favorite apps, navigation, and more!

The 2016 Dodge Challenger for sale in Plymouth, MI, is a muscle car that is able to back up its notoriety with incredible performance. But the Challenger has so much more to offer than just raw power! Take it for a test drive today at Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, located at 684 W. Ann Arbor Rd. in Plymouth, MI!

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First Hellcat tuning software launched

Hellcat Charger and Challenger owners looking for a few extra ponies may be excited to know that the first tuning system for the 6.2L supercharged Hemi has reached the market. It comes from Diablosport, one of the biggest names in the world of tuning, which has a history of adding power with their tuning software.<BR><BR>

Diablosport has three power levels, and an extra bit of added security, should you need to return to the dealership for repairs. In each case, the tune is added by plugging into the car’s diagnostics port and pressing a couple of buttons to add a claimed 30+ rear-wheel horsepower.<BR><BR>

The first tuning option is the stock tune, which works with the stock PCM tune so there is no power increase, but other aspects of the vehicle such as throttle response and transmission shifts are sharpened up for a more engaging driving experience. I haven’t driven a Hellcat car with the “stock tune,” but in other vehicles, it makes a big difference in driving dynamics. The Hellcat Challenger and Charger are good enough that the stock tune likely doesn’t have the impact on these cars that it does on my Dodge Ram, but this is an option for those who want a crisper drive with the stock power.<BR><BR>

The second tuning option is the 91 Octane Performance Tune; it sharpens up the throttle response and adds around 28 horsepower and around 22 lb-ft of torque. Since the Hellcat test cars used by Diablosport laid down 660 rear wheel horsepower, the 91 Octane tune pushes it up around the 690 rwhp mark.<BR><BR>

The top power comes from the 93 Octane Performance tune, which  adds more than 30 horsepower and more than 30 lb-ft of torque. With this, the Hellcat Challenger and Charger are both capable of laying down just over 700 rear wheel horsepower.  Diablosport claimed corrected numbers of 700.2 horsepower at the rear wheels, nearly 40 more horsepower at the rear wheels.<BR><BR>

Additional Features, Added Security<BR><BR>
Regardless of the tune, the Diablosport products allow Hellcat Dodge owners to adjust the neutral and idle RPM, move the rev limiter, adjust a speed limiter, disable the traction and stability control, adjustments for different tire sizes, and adjust when the cooling fan turns on and off – along with adjusting the engine parameters to make better power.<BR><BR>

All of the Diablosport Hellcat tuning packages come with an extra PCM that will make trips to the dealership a little less of a headache. Retuning the engine can both void your engine warranty and  cause  dealership people to give you a hard time when you come in for service. Owners can send their factory PCM to Diablosport to be unlocked, but from there on out, the dealership will be able to tell that the PCM has been accessed.<BR><BR>

The three tuning packages for the Hellcat Charger and Challenger coming with the tuning components themselves, along with an extra PCM already prepared to accept a tune. Thus, owners can swap out the factory PCM for the one with the tuning package; then swap the factory PCM back in before hitting the dealership. (This may violate the owner’s agreement with Dodge/FCA US).<BR><BR>

Prices
Partly because of the PCM being included, prices are fairly high. If you only want the modified PCM, e.g. to do custom tuning, Diablosport will sell it to you for $799.<BR><BR>

If you want the full tuning package from Diablosport, you can pick either their Trinity tuner or their InTune tuner, both of which come with the unlocked PCM. The Trinity for the Hellcat costs $1,199 while the InTune system costs $1,099. Based on those numbers and the Diablosport price of $799 for the new PCM, the actual performance tunes and the tuning components (Trinity, InTune) is $300-400.<BR><BR>

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/10/first-hellcat-tuning-software-launched-30303

Chrysler 300 Interior Bowls Over Competition

Is it any wonder American consumers ignore large cars and instead shop the abundant crop of functional, sometimes sporty CUVs?

WardsAuto’s Large Car segment is a lonely place, with only four entries, and sales through March are down 14% while the car market overall is flat, according to WardsAuto data.

Two years ago, the newest entry was the Chevrolet Impala, which is very sharp, but it didn’t win a Ward’s 10 Best Interiors trophy because the interior is less compelling than the beautifully sculpted sheet metal.

The same cannot be said of the refreshed Chrysler 300, which carries over many of the styling cues, inside and out, that have made it a perennial contender, while integrating a number of meaningful improvements.

The Chrysler 300 makes big sedans relevant once again and even tips its hat, by way of a nearly identical color scheme, to a high-end interior that dazzled us last year: the $122,895 Mercedes S-Class sedan.

The 300C Platinum rolled into our garage with a more palatable $51,175 price tag and, like the S-Class, parlays gorgeous satin metallic trim, quilted leather, excellent fit-and-finish and a first-rate human-machine interface that is easy to learn and simple to use.

With its latest Uconnect system, Fiat Chrysler makes what appears to be simple work of the HMI, which can be daunting because automakers need to incorporate so many functions within the central display screen to eliminate buttons from the instrument panel and center console.

But the 300 is much more than cool electronics. From the white-faced analog clock to the heated rear seats, the cabin is roomy, welcoming and luxurious.

“In a world overpopulated with giant SUVs, the Chrysler 300C Platinum reminds us how glorious big sedans can be,” writes WardsAuto editor Drew Winter.

“The ’15 model takes the award-winning interior of the previous version up another notch with even more features, comfort and sumptuous materials. It also has wonderfully practical details, such as stout grab handles and a truly sturdy sunglass holder,” Winter says.

For what it’s worth, Fiat Chrysler kinda owns the big-car segment. The 300’s platform mate, the refreshed Dodge Charger, is the only entry in the sector posting gains through the first three months, up 5% to 26,218 units, according to WardsAuto data.

The Charger is duking it out with the Impala for the No.1 sales slot, while deliveries of the 300 are flat. The Ford Taurus, overdue for redesign, brings up the rear; its sales are down 27.6% for the quarter.

Yes, the Charger also was in the competition this year, but we opted instead for the 300’s soothing, upscale persona.

“I could live in this car,” says one judge. And live well.

Read more at: http://wardsauto.com/vehicles-technology/chrysler-300-interior-bowls-over-competition

Official: New Ram Sports

Today, Ram confirmed the launch of two “buzz trucks” based on the Ram 1500 Sport pickup. Both share the Sport’s normal Hemi V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission and are sold as crew cabs only, in rear wheel drive and 4×4 forms. They have a 3.92:1 axle ratio, dual exhaust, vented hood, and 20-inch wheels. Canadian versions are similar, but, even accounting for exchange rates, have different pricing (see the Canadian Ignition Orange and Black Sport, announced by Allpar over the last two days).

The packages include the 8.4-inch Uconnect phone-stereo-navigation systems and rear-view cameras.

The Ignition Orange Sport has body-color accent stitching through the cabin, embroidery on the seat-backs, accent-color Ram’s heads on the headrests, and colored accent sport mesh on the seat inserts, along with hood stripes and headlight blackouts.

The Black Sport is nearly all black inside, with leather and “light black” chrome accents.

Ordering opens this week, and production starts in April. In the U.S., the Ram 1500 Ignition Orange package and the Ram 1500 Black Sport package are both $1,595.

The Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4×2 starts at $42,215, including destination. All Rams with the eight-speed automatic and Hemi include a thermal management system, pulse-width modulation, and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension, for best-in-class fuel efficiency, unsurpassed torque, and high towing capability. The Sports also have stop-start systems (which can be shut off by the driver if desired) to boost real-world city/suburb mileage.

Earlier this year, Ram announced a diesel version of the Ram 1500 HFE, boosting both city and highway mileage by 1 mpg (to 21/29).

Read more at: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/03/new-ram-sports-confirmed-27975

Ram’s Black Sport / Black Ram 1500 Express

Ram Man tipped us off to the 2015 Black Ram 1500 Express (in Canada, Ram 1500 Black Sport), a pickup truck with blackened headlights, badging, wheels, mirror cases, and paint. Builds on the Ram 1500 Sport package, which includes a Hemi V8 and eight-speed automatic, it also has a “sport performance” hood, unique 20-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic temperature control (except regular cab), and nine amplified speakers.

The Ram 1500 Black Sport package (26L) is only available in “Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl” but comes in regular, quad, and crew cab formats. The normal price for Ram 1500 Sport is $36,150 (regular cab, short bed, rear wheel drive). Ram Man wrote that the package price was C$1,795 in Canada, which equates to around US$1,415 given an unusually strong U.S. dollar; chances are it will run at least $1,495 in the US to account for short-term currency changes.

The truck is now shown in preproduction form on Ram’s web site, with the slogan, “black on black on black.” The dual exhaust tips are chrome, but little else deviates from the black theme.

Read more at: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/03/ram-launches-black-sport-black-ram-1500-express

Hellcat Challenger makes its pop culture debut

Opinion. After the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat made its music video debut in Eminem’s “Guts Over Fear” video, the two-door Mopar muscle car packing the 707 horsepower Hellcat Hemi has made its own popular culture debut.

Like the Hellcat Charger, the supercharger Challenger has scored a role in a rap video, but where the Charger made a cameo appearance, the Challenger is a main character in this new video. Best of all, joining the Hellcat Challenger in this new rap video is another 2015 Challenger that appears to be a V6 SXT model based on the lack of obvious badging.

I have to say that this isn’t my type of music and, honestly, I’ve never heard of most of the guys rapping in this video, so the Hellcat Challenger doesn’t get the same level of attention that the Charger did with the Eminem video. However, this is an official video from the new The Fast and the Furious series movie Furious 7, so not only will it get lots of attention from the hip-hop community, but it will also get plenty of attention from fans of the FATF movie series — indeed, close involvement with the series has played a part in more than 3 million people watching the “Ride Out” video. All of those people have watched the Hellcat Challenger and the 2015 Challenger SXT tearing it up in the video.

This injection of the 2015 Challenger in both V6 and Hellcat form into the rap world is a big deal, as this type of non-traditional marketing attracts much younger buyers, and while they may not be able to afford a Hellcat, the V6 Challenger shown doing many of the same stunts as the 707hp version should help the SXT model appeal to those who are looking for an affordable muscle car.

So, if you hate rap music, it is probably best to watch the first music video featuring the Hellcat Challenger and the 2015 Challenger SXT with the volume turned down, but it’s still fun to watch the various Mopars in this piece getting down and dirty for the video and for the new Furious 7 movie.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/03/hellcat-challenger-makes-its-pop-culture-debut

2015 Ram 1500 Review

The 2015 Ram 1500 ranks 1 out of 5 Full Size Pickup Trucks. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Ram 1500, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Ram 1500 impresses reviewers with its best-in-class ride, excellent cabin materials, responsive transmission and class-exclusive diesel engine option.

Because it has the best combination of positive reviews and long-term ownership costs in its class, the Ram 1500 is the 2015 U.S. News Best Full Size Truck for the Money.

The Ram 1500 has a base V6 that auto critics say has sufficient power. The optional V8 and turbodiesel V6 both earn praise for their ample power, and reviewers say either engine is a good choice for towing and hauling heavy loads. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, which reviewers praise for its responsiveness and smooth shifts. Fuel economy for a base Ram 1500 is an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg city/highway, which is comparable with rivals’ estimates. The diesel model returns 20/28 mpg, which is excellent for the class. Test drivers say the 2015 Ram 1500 sets the standard for ride comfort in the segment, and they add that its optional air-adjustable suspension is helpful for keeping the truck level when towing or hauling heavy loads.

Auto journalists are impressed with the soft-touch materials and build quality of the 2015 Ram 1500’s cabin. They say the interior is quiet at speed and note that the front seats are comfortable and supportive. In either Quad or Crew Cab configuration, both of which seat up to six, reviewers report that there is plenty of legroom. The Ram 1500 offers an abundance of storage spaces in the cabin, reviewers write, and they like its available lockable RamBox storage compartments for storing smaller cargo in sides of the bed. A USB port and auxiliary input jack are standard. Optional features include navigation, satellite radio, a rearview camera and a Uconnect infotainment system with Bluetooth and voice control capability. Test drivers write that Uconnect is very user-friendly and they appreciate that there are redundant physical buttons for most major climate and audio adjustments.

“The Ram 1500 also offers a wide choice of trim levels, from workhorse, to street cruiser, to luxury liner. Even if you’re a die-hard loyalist to another brand, you still owe it to yourself to check out these outstanding trucks.” — Consumer Guide

“Available with all the required cab and bed configurations, in either 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive, the Ram 1500 goes above and beyond with its stylish exterior and well-appointed cabin.” — Kelley Blue Book

“The Ram 1500 has the nicest interior of any full-size pickup. Its upgraded touchscreen interface is impressively easy to use and offers substantial technology capabilities. We’re also fond of the Ram as it offers a composed and smooth ride whether you’re driving it on- or off-road.” — Edmunds (2014)

“Already gifted with capable handling and handsome interiors, the Ram 1500 lineup is now even more unique and appealing with the addition of the EcoDiesel option. It isn’t the motor for everyone – the cheaper, punchier and more characterful Hemi is still a stellar choice – but its combination of low-end torque and efficiency will undoubtedly win over many hearts and wallets. We expect Ram will have little problem achieving its goal of a 15 percent take rate for the EcoDiesel.” — Left Lane News (2014)

Read more at: http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Ram_1500/

Meet the 2015 Ram Laramie Limited

With high sales of luxury trucks, an upgraded top-end Ram pickup is not surprising — unlike its 1968-Plymouth-Barracuda-like grille (actually based on an interesting piece of furniture, according to Ram’s chief exterior designer).

Meet the new 2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited and 2016 Ram 2500 and 3500 Laramie Limited.

Pricing has not been announced, but the outgoing models start at $49,320 (Ram 1500), $53,195 (Ram 2500), and $54,440 (Ram 3500). That is for the 5.7 liter Hemi V8, driving the rear wheels, with a crew cab, and a 5’7” box on the 1500 and eight-foot box on the heavy duties. 4×4 is extra; a VM diesel is available on the 1500, a Cummins diesel or 6.4 V8 on the 2500 and 3500. We expect the new models to have the same powertrain options and similar pricing despite interior and exterior upgrades.

The chrome bumpers shown here are standard on some 2500 and 3500 trucks, optional on the full line. We believe the Ram 1500 will have a standard eight speed automatic while the 2500 and 3500 will keep the current six speeds (66RFE on 2500, with optional 68RFE; and 68RFE on 3500, with optional Aisin).

The company has not announced any equipment upgrades, but the vehicles shown have sensors in the front bumper (including one in the side) which may be used for forward parking sensors (forward cross path detection would be an interesting addition).

These are the second recent Ram trucks to break from the crosshair theme which started in the 1930s and have stuck with Dodge and Ram pickups off and on (mostly on) since then.

For many more photos and more information, click here.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/02/meet-the-2015-ram-laramie-limited

What can we expect from the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T

The new Dodge Charger R/T is like the high-school athlete whose brothers have gone on to star in college and pro ranks. Indeed, with the formidable Hellcat V-8 and the SRT 392 hogging the spotlight, the kid brother’s credentials pale. After all, the 392 packs 485 horsepower and the Hellcat lays a 707-horse smackdown, heady numbers that could make one perceive the R/T’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 as a little tame.

Do not be deceived. Unless you have an insatiable appetite for shredding tires, the 5.7’s output—370 horsepower, 395 lb-ft of torque—will satisfy most needs for speed. Okay, the R/T is governed to a mere 145 mph versus the Hellcat’s 204, but you’ll still reach the Chinese takeout place before they pack up your food, and 5.1 seconds to 60 mph will leave most sedans gasping for breath.

Track Pack Plus

Surprisingly, given its mass, the R/T has a good dynamic résumé. The driver is aware of the substantial, two-plus-ton curb weight, but the Charger’s chassis tuning mitigates that number very well.

Thanks to a rigid unibody, the basic Charger R/T nicely manages yaw, pitch, and roll. But those who love to drive are advised to get the 29R Customer Preferred pack, which upgrades the car, as it did on our test example, to Road & Track spec. Doing so means a cornucopia of goodies including the Super Track Pak sport suspension; the Road & Track Performance Group with more aggressive throttle mapping, revised traction control (higher intervention threshold), heavy-duty brakes, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and sportier rubber (245/45 Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 all-season performance tires); and Dodge’s Performance Pages software, which allows the driver to track acceleration, cornering, and a variety of other numeric markers.

There’s a lot of other desirable stuff crammed into the 29R package, too, including nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (heated front chairs come on every R/T), a power tilt and telescope steering column, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, and heated power mirrors, to hit a few high spots. At $3000 for all the foregoing equipment, it’s a must-have bargain collection.

Augmented by all the Track Pack goodies, the R/T dances even more remarkably well for a big car, the combination of quick (2.5 turns lock-to-lock), gratifyingly accurate electric power steering and firm suspension making it easy to place the car precisely where the driver wishes. And there’s enough grip to inspire confidence in very fast cornering.

It’s also very easy to develop affection for the eight-speed automatic. Shifts in the Charger aren’t quite as whap-whap quick as those delivered by some of the very best dual-clutch automatics, but one could call them deliberate, and in manual mode the transmission will hold the selected gear against redline—no autonomous upshifting.

The eight-speed is new for this year and slightly enhances EPA fuel economy versus last year’s five-speed unit, adding 1 mpg to the car’s city rating. That means 16 mpg in urban environs and 25 on the highway, on midgrade fuel, which is pretty good for a big V-8. We averaged 18 mpg in mixed driving. Would economy go up if the Hemi were fitted with direct fuel injection? Probably. But fuel economy isn’t a high priority for Hemi fans, nor for cars operating in this performance realm.

The car doesn’t have many demerits, and those it does have aren’t deal-breakers. We’ve already mentioned mass; cutting the curb weight would further improve handling and efficiency. The suspension tuning that gives the R/T its athletic reflexes can be a little stiff on gnarly pavement, and while grip—0.86 g—isn’t exactly a weak suit, it could be improved by a set of real summer performance tires.

Such tires would probably improve the braking performance, too, as 170 feet from 70 mph is long for a car with sports-sedan pretense. We detected no real fade in the system, but the pedal did begin to go a little soft after repeated hard stops.

The Right Stuff

Considered in standard trim and before its 2015 refresh, the Charger ranked behind mainstream sedan offerings like the Toyota Avalon and the Chevy Impala in our comparison test. But for the owner who wants a strong performance component in the everyday drive, the new R/T has the right stuff for an agreeable $33,990 starting MSRP.

Our test car got expensive quickly, however. In addition to the $3000 Preferred/R&T stuff (again, don’t leave the showroom without it), it had $6975 of additional options. These included $995 for Beats audio gear; $1795 for the Technology Group (rain-sensing wipers, auto high beams, and safety nannies); $295 for Driver Confidence equipment (blind-spot and cross-path warning, exterior puddle lamps); and $695 for navigation, infotainment goodies, and a backup camera. Our car also was fitted with a power sunroof ($1195), Redline Red paint ($500), and a black-painted roof ($1500).

The grand total came to $43,965. That’s more than the cheap-speed $40,990 R/T Scat Pack, although still well shy of the $48,380 Charger SRT 392. (The wild and wooly Hellcat opens at $64,990.) In any case, there do seem to be some opportunities for whittling. Okay, the red paint is probably important, as it emphasizes the aggressive styling. On the other hand, do you really need the safety technology, puddle lamps, or the black roof?

Options notwithstanding, this Charger figures as an underappreciated performance bargain in a full-size sedan. It’s everyday useful and ready to rock every day.

As read on: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-charger-r-t-hemi-test-review

2015 Chrysler 300 V-8

Quick! Name an American, rear-drive, V-8–powered, full-size sedan. If you said, “Chrysler 300,” you’re only 15 percent right, because that’s the proportion of 300 buyers who actually opt for the V-8. The rest decide that the V-6 will suffice, a strong indicator that while the model name may be rooted in a high-performance heritage, the car sells mostly on its styling, size, and value. All the same, the V-8 is key to the car’s image so that’s the version we sought out first—in both the 300C and sportier 300S trims—to sample on roads in and around Austin, Texas.

A decade after Ralph Gilles’s design for the 2005 model caused an industry sensation, the 300 has been revamped a second time, with new nose and tail treatments featuring redesigned lights and a 32-percent larger grille, a fresh interior, and an eight-speed automatic operated by a rotary dial on the console. The EPA combined fuel-economy rating goes up 1 mpg to 19 (16/25 mpg city/highway) with the new transmission, the quicker shifting of which Chrysler says will also improve performance even though the engine is unchanged.

The 300 got a thorough redo in 2011, but for 2015 it gets no new sheetmetal, unlike its platform-mate, the Dodge Charger. It does add another trim level, the 300C Platinum. The C, S, and C Platinum all offer the V-8 as an option but the engine is not available on the base Limited, adding a perhaps-unintended layer of meaning to that version’s name.

Checking the option box for the 5.7-liter V-8 costs $3000, which gets you not only the 363-hp Hemi, but also bigger brakes (with dual- rather than single-piston calipers up front and ventilated rather than solid rotors in back) and a 160-mph speedometer. The 300S also gains a decklid spoiler, while C and Platinum trim levels get the paddle shifters that come standard on any S. This year, the V-8 can no longer be paired with all-wheel drive, owing to that combo’s abysmal take rate; evidently, people who already commit $2500 extra for AWD are disinclined to throw another three grand at the lump under the hood.

DIAL A GEAR

Brand president and CEO Al Gardner’s marching orders for Chrysler are to square up more directly against the industry’s volume-sales leaders, including Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota. As Chrysler’s flagship, the 300 still has some near-luxury pretensions, but the sharpened focus gives Dodge precedence as the “performance” brand. This goes some way toward explaining the lack of a U.S.-market SRT8 version. The SRT8 will survive in some foreign markets, but its price point exceeds (and its sales volumes fall far short of) Chrysler’s targets for North America.

A pity perhaps, but mainstream buyers in search of a V-8’s bellowing torque still have the 5.7-liter and its 394 lb-ft to lust after. New mechanical elements are the eight-speed gearbox, electric-assist power steering, and a retuned suspension using aluminum components. Aside from the rotary-dial gear selector much like the one on the Chrysler 200, prominent changes inside include a handsome new steering wheel, a new instrument cluster, and a redesigned center stack. There’s a good division of labor between the 8.4-inch UConnect touch screen and the button interfaces, although we grew frustrated by a radio we couldn’t turn off—the volume can be muted, but it repeatedly reactivated itself without our bidding. Also, the heated-seat controls are buried in the touch-screen menu rather than given dedicated buttons; partially offsetting that annoyance, a seat-heat icon appears on-screen when you first start the car, so you can avoid the irritation if you’re quick.

Supplementing that screen is a new 7.0-inch driver-information display nestled between the tach and speedometer. As long as you’re okay with the dial-a-gear setup, the controls are all easier to figure out and use than in the previous model, even with the added indicators and buttons for the new electronic driver aids, which include adaptive cruise control with full-stop ability, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning, and brake assist. These are contained in the SafetyTec 2 package, a $1695 option; SafetyTec 1, also at $1695 and required to get SafetyTec 2, brings parking assist, blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts, as well as forward-collision and adaptive cruise.

WHERE THE HEMI MEETS THE ROAD

The first V-8 we drove was a 300C optioned up to $47,170 with all the electronic assists, Touring suspension, and 20-inch wheels wearing 245/45 all-season performance tires. It’s a handsome car in the more traditional Detroit mold with plenty of chrome trim and, as configured, most of the driver-oriented hardware that comes on a 300S, excluding only that version’s tauter suspension. The 300C proved to be a comfortable, relaxed commuter through Austin’s dense urban traffic despite a bit of road noise from the performance-grade rubber; standard 18-inch wheels with touring-grade tires are a better choice for the comfort-seeker.

Once we got out into Texas Hill Country and the winding two-lane roads that make the region a driver’s delight, the latest 300 was eager to demonstrate that, like its predecessors, it can handle much better than you’d ever expect of a 4350-pound four-door. To get the best out of it, turn the gear selector to “S,” which delivers crisper shifts and allows the driver to take full control of the eight gears via the paddles—it lets you bump against the rev limiter rather than shifting itself at redline.

Our complaints of lazy shifting in previous 300s have been addressed, especially with the dial in S. Whether the driver calls for them or lets the transmission think for itself, gearchanges are crisp, taking only 250 microseconds, according to Chrysler, versus 400 for the previous model with its five-speed automatic. The only flaw is that Chrysler’s paddles are small, sharing back-of-the-wheel space with audio-system buttons, making it too easy to change radio stations rather than gears. There’s also a Sport button on the center stack that calls up more-aggressive programs for the throttle and steering response.

Speaking of the latter, Chrysler seems to have done its sums right with the electric-assist steering. You wouldn’t call it communicative, but at its worst the feel is as good as that delivered by the previous hydraulic unit, and sometimes it’s better as full electronic control allows for sharper reflexes when you’re going hard without imposing any burden in parking maneuvers. It’s also adjustable through three settings via the center screen.

PLENTY OF GOODS TO BACK UP THE GOODNESS

While the Platinum layers on more luxury, the driver’s choice remains the 300S with the V-8. Our test example had the 300S Premium Group option pack ($3295), including a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, navigation, the big UConnect screen, the SafetyTec 1 features, satellite radio, and so on. Other notable options included a $895 Light Group with self-leveling HID headlamps, SafetyTec 2, and a roof painted black to contrast with the Redline red paint ($1500). Not all of that is essential gear, so it’s clear you can get the driving goodness of the 300S without spending the full $46,275 on this car’s sticker. That’s worth considering because at that price, you’re head-to-head with the Chevrolet SS, which comes fully loaded at its base price and now offers your choice of manual or automatic transmission. Also important, the Chevy is several hundred pounds lighter and a better performer overall.

The Chevy might not interest those into the 300 look and the Hemi heritage, but the keen drivers for whom that car might be an option should know that the tighter suspension in the 300S is worth having—with it, the car took a quicker set into a corner and was less inclined to pitch or roll than was the otherwise similar 300C when the back roads took on the contours of a stormy sea. The 300S’s attendant blacked-out trim and unique grille texture are more matters of taste.

Chrysler kept reminding us that the 300 model name turns 60 years old in 2015, harking back to the original C-300 of 1955. Sixty years ago, its 300 (gross) horsepower was a bunch of power and the C-300 was a bunch of car. It was also an early exemplar of a car company mating luxury and style with performance.

Even with the SRT8 version gone, the 2015 model combines respectable performance, elegant styling, useful technology, and surprising agility at a reasonable price. If it’s the V-8 configuration you want, this may be the time to step up. When FCA finally gets around to a clean-sheet redesign—expected for 2018—the V-8 will probably be even more rare, and more expensive, than it is now.

As read on: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-chrysler-300-v-8-first-drive-review