January 17, 2012 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Delivering performance, technology and handling capabilities that are among the world’s best, two of Chrysler Group LLC’s latest products – the all-new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8® and the new 2012 Dodge Charger – earned Winding Road’s “Best Car of the Year Awards,” an annual honor that recognizes the best driver’s vehicles in the market.

“SRT and Dodge are two brands that stand to make 2012 a banner year for driving enthusiasts,” said Seyth Miersma, Editor-In-Chief – Winding Road. “Taking over where the last generation left off (somewhere in the middle of a cloud of smoking tire rubber), the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 manages to be one of the most brutally fast and easy-to-live-with super-SUVs we’ve ever tested. Meanwhile, the 2012 Dodge Charger offers more in terms of style, performance, and space than most of the vanilla-flavored competition could dream of. With completely different form factors, price points, and audiences, the commonality between these two Best Cars is the way in which they can make their drivers grin.”

Selecting from hundreds of vehicles Winding Road reviews each year, its “Best Car of the Year Awards” seek out and honor the best driver’s vehicles, across every level of size, form and functionality. The highly involved selection process not only leverages the opinions of Winding Road’s seasoned staff of test drivers, but uses the Winding Road Involvement Index to quantify the always-elusive “fun to drive factor.” Because of Winding Road’s focus on the driving experience, only vehicles the publication has driven in the past 12 months are considered for a “Best Car of the Year Award” nomination.

“We are honored to earn Winding Road’s ‘Best Utility Award,’ as the driver-focused accolade recognizes the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8’s high-performance capabilities that can get it done on the street, on the race track, in a blizzard, or when towing other fun machines behind it,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO — SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “Combining its aerodynamic performance styling with track-tested powertrain and chassis upgrades, with legendary Jeep utility and value, makes this super-SUV second to none.”

“As an enthusiast brand that combines power, innovation and world-class refinement at an unmatched value, Dodge is honored to receive such a prestigious award,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge. “Winding Road’s ‘Best Everyman Sedan’ award for driving enthusiasts validates how Dodge has transformed the new Charger into the class leader in driving dynamics, fuel efficiency and performance. With an unmatched combination of a 292 horsepower Pentastar V-6, class-leading 31 mpg highway and iconic muscle car styling, the 2012 Dodge Charger is in a class by itself.”

Winding Road’s “Best Car of the Year Awards” issue can be viewed at http://magazine.windingroad.com/issue/78/

About the all-new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
The most powerful, technologically advanced, high-performance Jeep® vehicle ever – the all-new 2012 Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT8® – offers a combination of Jeep’s legendary capability and utility, merged with the renowned advanced performance engineering from Chrysler Group LLC’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team.

Delivering outstanding driving performance in all conditions, and complemented by key SRT attributes – including functional, performance-oriented styling, world-class ride and handling, benchmark braking and race-inspired interior appointments – the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 broadens the Jeep vehicle lineup and builds upon the successful launch of the award-winning 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Designed and built using the proven SRT formula that raises the performance to astonishing levels, the new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 runs from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0-100-0 mph in the mid-16 second range, can cover the quarter mile in the mid-13 second range, has a top speed of 160 mph, and brakes from 60-0 mph in 116 feet.

Powering the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is Chrysler Group’s all-new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 with Fuel Saver Technology that delivers 470 horsepower (351 kW) and 465 (630 N•m) lb.-ft. of torque – an improvement of 50 horsepower and 45 lb.-ft. torque over the 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 it replaces.

The best handling Jeep vehicle ever – capable of .90 g on the skid pad – features a new SRT-tuned, adaptive damping suspension managed by the new Jeep Selec-Track system that interacts with several different systems (stability control, adaptive damping, transmission shift strategy, transfer case torque proportioning, Electronic Limited Slip Differential performance, throttle control and cylinder de-activation) to automatically tune the dynamics of the vehicle.

Stopping power for the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8 comes courtesy of new SRT high-performance Brembo brakes with four-wheel anti-lock brake system (ABS). Stopping distance performance of 116 feet from 60-0 mph is made possible by new red-painted, Brembo 6-piston (front) and 4-piston (rear) calipers, and vented rotors at all four corners measuring 15-inches (front) and 13.8-inches (rear).

A wide variety of easy-to-use infotainment options are available with features that provide customers with seamless integration of consumer electronics, delivering drivers and passengers the conveniences of home and office. Premium navigation and SIRIUS Travel Link are standard with the 730N Media Center CD/DVD/MP3/HDD radio. Also standard are a multitude of features including SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Uconnect Phone.

Already a recipient of the 2011 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 'Top Safety Pick' for the volume Grand Cherokee models, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 offers consumers 45 safety and security features.

The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is available now with a starting U.S. MSRP of $54,470.

About the new 2012 Dodge Charger
The Dodge Charger provides the ultimate combination of dramatic Dodge heritage styling, award-winning premium interior, the reassurance of an IIHS Top Safety Pick and full-size spaciousness with the fuel efficiency of a mid-size car.

All-new for 2012 is a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission paired with the award-winning Pentastar V-6 engine, which delivers an impressive 292 horsepower and a best-in-class 31 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway. In fact, that fuel economy not only surpasses any full-size V-6 sedan but any mid-size V-6 sedan, while offering all of the driving dynamics and distinctive style for which Charger is renowned. The new eight-speed transmission delivers an estimated 15 percent increase in fuel economy and 10 percent improvement in acceleration. Also new for 2012 are die-cast paddle shifters, available with the Pentastar V-6 and HEMI® V-8 engines.

The Charger’s available legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with four-cylinder mode Fuel Saver Technology and variable valve timing delivers best-in-class power with 370 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque and a starting price thousands of dollars less than the competition. The 2012 Charger R/T is positioned as the most affordable V-8 sedan in America, with a starting U.S. MSRP of only $29,995.

Charger’s all-wheel-drive system is the most advanced in its class, with segment exclusive active transfer case with front-axle disconnect to maximize fuel economy of up to 27 mpg highway while delivering outstanding performance and handling inherent to a rear-wheel drive car.

With its iconic character, contemporary fastback four-door coupe proportions, world-class performance, award-winning interior craftsmanship and refinement and state-of-the-art connectivity features with available Uconnect Touch 8.4-inch touchscreen media center, the new Dodge Charger proudly delivers premium, world-class sedan precision at an incredible value, starting at a U.S. MSRP of only $25,495.

About SRT
The Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand uses a successful product development formula featuring five proven hallmarks: awe-inspiring powertrains; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors and race-inspired and high-performance interiors to remain true to its performance roots. The expansion of the SRT vehicle lineup in 2012 features four new products that are world-class performance contenders and bring the latest in safety technologies and creature comforts. These products include the Chrysler 300 SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.

About Jeep
Built on more than 70 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV brand with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.

The Jeep vehicle lineup includes Compass, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. To meet consumer demand around the world, all Jeep models are sold outside North America – and all are available in right-hand drive versions and with gasoline and diesel powertrain options. Chrysler Group LLC sells and services vehicles in approximately 120 countries around the world.

About Dodge
For nearly 100 years, Dodge has defined passionate and innovative vehicles that stand apart in performance and in style. Building upon its rich heritage of muscle cars, racing technology and ingenious engineering, Dodge offers a full-line of cars, crossovers, minivans and SUVs built for top performance – from power off the line and handling in the corners, to high-quality vehicles that deliver unmatched versatility and excellent fuel efficiency. Only Dodge offers such innovative functionality combined with class-leading performance, exceptional value and distinctive design. With the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart, the all-new Dodge Charger paired with the ZF eight-speed transmission that achieves a class-leading 31 miles per gallon on the highway, the new Durango and the significantly revamped Grand Caravan – inventor of the minivan – Journey, Avenger and iconic Challenger, Dodge now has one of the youngest dealer showrooms in the United States.

About Winding Road
Winding Road publishes daily automotive and lifestyle content at www.windingroad.com, and stunning monthly content via its award-winning digital magazine. Our editorial staff reviews hundreds of vehicles each year, compiles the industry’s only Involvement Index, as well as the Winding Road Comfort Index, every month. Visit http://www.windingroad.com/accounts/register to sign up for Winding Road Weekly, your email portal into the best of our enthusiast world. For Drivers. Winding Road is a NextScreen publication.