The 2012 Chrysler 300 S introduces America to the 8-speed 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.
Chrysler CEO Olivier Francois explained the design theory of the new 300S at the NYIAS debut:
“No chrome . . . no wood . . . matte carbon fiber finishes . . . unique black or Radar Red leather . . . our biggest wheels, and world’s first integration of Beats by Dr. Dre audio technology – the best standard audio system period. This is the new Chrysler 300S and it has an attitude that comes through loud and clear. For the Chrysler brand, it’s not just about design, it’s about substance. And with the Chrysler team working with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for months, I know the new 300S with its mapped sound waves, designed algorithms and unique Beats Audio components are a direct result from our model collaboration – a partnership between an OEM and the music industry – that makes the 300S perform with the power to play music as the artist intended it to be heard.”
The 2012 Chrysler 300S with the optional Hemi V8 and the standard 8-speed ZF automatic transmission is expected to hit dealerships in the fall of 2011.