The annual Robb Report “Best of the Best” issue is once again chockfull of the latest must-haves for those who must have the ultimate in premium goodies, and this year, that includes two vehicles from the Chrysler Group: The Chrysler 300 SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. It’s a fairly impressive feat when you consider that the rest of the Best of the Best includes cars like the Jaguar XKR-S, Maserati GranTurismo MC and Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4. Further, the only other entries from American automakers were a pair of hi-po muscle cars, the Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
The news also represents a validation of sorts for the SRT brand, which was setup as a stand-alone Chrysler Group division last summer. Headed by Ralph Gilles—he’s the automaker’s senior vice president of design as well—the new brand is the company’s in-house tuning headquarters and is committed to offering the latest in Street and Racing Technology. The current SRT lineup also features the Dodge Challenger SRT and Dodge Charger SRT, with the reborn SRT Viper and an SRT version of the new Dodge Dart on their way to the marketplace.
Robb Report Best of the Best: Chrysler 300 SRT
The current Chrysler 300 family has been racking up both high sales and a steady stream of third-party honors—including a 2012 Autobytel/AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award—and this latest prize should convince any remaining doubters about the quality of the cars. According to the Robb Report’s Paul Dean, the 300 SRT8 boasts “Teutonic” levels of technology and performance, with a Bentley-esque design, but despite those Euro-style benefits, the car’s key advantage is its all-American muscle. The motivation here comes courtesy of a new 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that delivers 470 lb.-ft. of torque and a similar number of horsepower, while also enabling a top speed of 175 mph and the ability to race from 0-60 in the mid 4-second range.
But the Best of the Best award isn’t merely about which cars offer the best performance, and neither is the 300 SRT8. As Dean also points out, the full-size rear-wheel-drive sport sedan also features “striking interior packages with leather and carbon-fiber trim.” The Chrysler’s cabin also packs standard and available amenities like heated/ventilated front seats, Bluetooth functionality for hands-free calling and music streaming, an 8.4-inch multi-information display screen that can be used to track the car’s performance in real time, and a Harman Kardon sound system with GreenEdge speaker technology.
The MSRP of the award-winning 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 is $48,470.
Robb Report Best of the Best: Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is touted as the “most awarded SUV ever,” and that position doesn’t look like it will be changing anytime soon. After all, in picking up its latest trophy as a Best of the Best Sport Utility Vehicle, the SRT model was called “every bit the luxury high-rider that its competitors from Germany, Britain and Japan are.”
On the performance side of the ledger, the dynamic Grand Cherokee SRT8 showcases “off-road talent that follows the Jeep tradition” along with the kind of leading-edge street and track abilities that can only be found in a vehicle massaged by the SRT brand. That means a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds, Brembo-backed stopping power and a highly capable adaptive suspension—and a max tow rating of 5,000 lbs.
Yet the Grand Cherokee SRT8 also can load on the luxury with touches like leather and suede seating, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio setup, a flat-bottomed racing-style steering wheel, and an interactive 6.5-inch display screen that can be used with SRT’s award-winning Performance Pages, which allow a driver to keep track of the vehicle’s real-time performance stats.
And it’s priced from $60,960, making it a veritable bargain among today’s premium SUVs and crossovers.