First Look: 2012 Chrysler Mopar ’12 300

Mopar’s string of factory-built, blue-on-black, special-edition models continues, but in a break from tradition, Chrysler’s aftermarket parts and accessories wing isn’t starting with a Dodge product. Instead, its latest limited-edition effort -- the Mopar ‘12 300 -- is based off the Chrysler 300.

To be precise, the Mopar ‘12 model is based off the slick-looking 300S, which debuted late in the 2011 model year. Some parts -- notably the black headlamps surround -- carry over, but the “Moparized” car carries a unique look. That’s not too surprising, considering it’s given the same sort of paint job as the Mopar ’10 Challenger and Mopar ’11 Charger. Buyers can order a Mopar ’12 300 in any color they like, so long as it’s gloss black with Mopar Blue highlights running down the hood and bodysides. Mopar’s other exterior touches include a blacked out grille surround, black chrome grille insert, Mopar 75th anniversary emblems, and black 20-inch wheels with a matching blue accent on the outer edges,

The blue-on-black theme continues within the car itself. Katzkin leather seat covers for the front bucket incorporate blue accent stitching, embroidered Mopar logos in the seatbacks, and perforated sections with blue highlights. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob -- the latter boasting another Mopar emblem -- boast matching blue stitching. Matte carbon accents dress up the center console and door trim, while most dash trim is dressed with a piano black finish.

Although the 300S is available in both six- and eight-cylinder forms, Mopar’s 300 is available only with Chrysler’s 5.7-liter, yes-it’s-a-Hemi V-8. Don’t look for any power bump here – it still spits out the same 363 hp as any other 300C – but the car may be mildly quicker than before. Mopar swaps out the stock 3.06:1 rear axle with a 3.91:1 final drive cribbed from the Dodge Challenger, which allegedly allows the big sedan to blast from 0-60 mph in the low 5-second range.

Many of these components will be available a la carte through Mopar’s own accessory catalog, but the complete, factory-built package shown here will only be available for a limited time. Only 500 examples will be built for both U.S. and Canadian customers, and each will be bundled with an array of exclusive collectibles, including a certificate of authenticity, unique Mopar-branded key fobs, and a limited-edition lithograph of a Mopar ’12 300 design sketch.

Pricing, however, may leave many scratching their heads. According to Chrysler, the Mopar ’12 300 – which features the company’s Safetytec package as standard equipment – stickers for $49,700, including $825 in destination fees. That’s a sizable chunk of change, especially considering that’s about $7300 more than a comparable V-8 300S, and about $800 more than the more powerful 300 SRT8.

Will this doom the Mopar ’12 300’s chances at success? Highly doubtful. Brand loyalists snatched up its gussied- up Charger and Challenger with gusto, and officials already report interest in the Mopar ’12 is quite strong. In fact, they’re already accommodating requests from owners of the first two to order a Mopar-tuned 300 with a matching serial number.

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