Best of the Best 2012: Sedans: Chrysler 300 SRT8

Chrysler’s dark and serious television commercials convey the message that the brand’s 300 sedan is imported from Detroit. Drive the Chrysler 300 SRT8 (www.chrysler.com) and you will understand what narrator Joe Mantegna is getting at. This high-performance version of the mainstream 300C borrows noticeably from the Europeans. Its high-end technology and performance is definitely Teutonic, and Chrysler could have plagiarized its squared front end, height, and blocky shape from the big Bentleys. Its powerful plod, a surge of American muscle that transmits 470 hp from a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, calls to mind a Mercedes-Benz. A black grille, misty-gray chrome wheels, and striking interior packages with leather and carbon-fiber trim—along with the hefty horsepower increase—distinguish the $47,000 (about 36,000 euros) SRT8 from the stock 300C.

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