Photo Gallery | First Coast Gears: Chrysler puts the luxury back in its flagship | Slideshow

 

Chrysler overhauled its 300 flagship and other models for 2011, triggering a 44.5 percent sales increase in November and an 83 percent jump in December as compared to 2010, according to USA Today, which explains why you've likely seen several new Chryslers along your First Coast commute.
 
For 2012, Chrysler hopes to continue the momentum with the new 300 Luxury Series Sedan.  Chrysler is out to prove it can compete with the best of them by offering a domestic industry first: an eight-speed automatic transmission that returns 31 mpg.
 
To coddle passengers the new Luxury Series offers hand-sanded Natural Pore Mocha matte wood, Mochachino Poltrona Frau "Foligno" leather-wrapped instrumental panel, Premium Nappa leather and two-tone Mochachino seats. 
 
Other luxury touches include the segment's largest touchscreen infotainment system, chrome lower door sills, ambient lit foot well lighting and LED illuminated interior door handles.
 
An all-wheel drive version is also available that delivers up to 16 percent better fuel economy as compared to the 2011.  The base engine is Chrysler's 290-horsepower 3.6 Pentastar V-6 or the optional 363-horespower 5.7-liter HEMI V-8.
 
200 also gets a boost
 
The restyled 200 is also getting some enhancements with a going over by Mopar, resulting in the Super S edition.  It will be available in two trims.  Stage One is an appearance package that includes a custom chin spoiler, satin chrome fog light trim, satin chrome grill and black 18-inch "S" alloy wheels.
 
Stage two adds a cold-air intake, cat-back exhaust and a lower coil-over suspension.  
 
Mopar "Stage" kits also going to Dodge Charger
 
Over at Dodge, Mopar is also working its magic but with a lot more muscle.  A Stage Three Charger Redline will be available with a 426 HEMI V-8 crate engine that packs 590 horsepower and includes bolt on performance parts from the Stage Two version and the aerodynamic exterior components and interior accents from the Stage One.  
 
And in case you had any doubt the muscle car still has a future, consider this, the Charger saw a 227% sales leap in December.
 
Chrysler will be showing off these and other models at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit that starts Monday (Jan. 9.).
 
A classic car reunion story that will tug at your heart
 
If you're reading this car column, chances are you have a memory of a favorite car growing up.  Maybe it's an old station wagon and summer vacations or an uncle taking you for rides in his classic sports car.
 
Or maybe it's of your dad's favorite car.  Chevy found a son determined to light up his dad's eyes by searching five years for a long lost 1965 Impala SS.   Enjoy, and maybe, just maybe, it will trigger a few of your own favorite automotive memories.

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