The 2012 Chrysler 300 S introduces America to the 8-speed transmission

During their press conference yesterday at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, Chrysler CEO Francois Olivier introduced a trio of new trimlines for the Chrysler 300 sedan and included in that group is the new 2012 Chrysler 300 S – the full sized sedan that will introduce consumer America to the 8-speed automatic transmission.

Since Fiat took the reins of the Chrysler Group, there has been the promise of 8-speed automatic transmission coming in the near future and with the introduction of the 2012 Chrysler 300 S, the future is here. This transmission is provided by ZF of Germany and until Chrysler’s Kokomo Indiana production facility is up to speed with producing these 8-speed gearboxes on American soil, Chrysler will be purchasing and shipping these transmissions directly from Germany. Because of this, Chrysler will only install the 8-speed ZF transmission in the V6-powered, rear wheel drive 2012 300 S sedans so if you opt for the 363 horsepower Hemi or Chrysler’s advanced all wheel drive system – you will be getting the same 5-speed gearbox found in the current 300 sedans.

The introduction of the first 8-speed transmission in a vehicle of its type is big news for the 2012 Chrysler 300 S lineup but these new “S” trimline sedans are more than just a new gearbox. Chrysler intended for the 300 S models – available in either V6 or V8 form – to be a sort of subtle street cruiser. You won’t find the copious amounts of chrome and real wood trim like you will in the rest of the luxury 300 family but instead, body colored items with piano black and carbon fiber trim. This allows the 300S lineup to cut the flashy chrome without looking like a base model – especially inside with the most obvious aspect being the optional bright red seats.

Next, Chrysler packed the 300S with a sound system unlike anything available in the industry with help from hip hop superstar Dr. Dre. The 10-speak Beats By Dr. Dre sound system is the first integration of studio quality speakers in a vehicle and when mated to the UConnect touchscreen control system, this is truly a state of the art infotainment system. The idea was to provide a premium experience without the “bling” and the resulting 300S lineup should be a hit with those looking to keep a low profile while enjoying the luxury end of the automotive spectrum.


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