PRO’s: Great styling, gobs of torque, impressive performance, great price.
CON’s: Narrow 245-series tires, aging 5-speed transmission, may be a little too aggressive for some.
FINAL THOUGHT: A modern muscle-sedan that provides tire shredding performance in a package that’s all-day comfy and wonderfully styled.
Hurdling down Interstate 680 in Northern, CA in the new Chrysler 300 SRT8 is an exercise in restraint. On the one hand you’ve got this big American luxo-sled that’s reminiscent of the big Chrysler’s of yesteryear. And on the other you’ve got a player that has the ability to put some serious hurt on the best that Europe and Asia has to offer, something that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The 300 SRT8 is about as bold and brash as the American automobile gets. It sports high style and aggressive looks, and with a naturally aspirated power-plant that has the ability to turn the back tires into liquified goop, it’s definitely a forced to be reckoned with. This is an old-school muscle sedan that’s made for driving hard and fast. It’s the crown jewel of Chrysler’s fleet and it isn’t a car that’s going to be on everyone’s playlist. Enthusiasts will make comparisons between the SRT8, BMW’s M5 and Mercedes AMG cars. But understand that this car appeals to your emotions, American’s especially, on a completely different level.
Where the M5 and AMG’s are technological marvels that sport terabytes of tech, the SRT8 is a pad and pencil. It’s a blunt force object in a sea of razor sharp precision, and this ladies and gentlemen is precisely why I love it.
Okay, down to business. Under the hood lies SRT’s 6.4-liter 392 cu.in. HEMI V8 that produces 470 hp and 470 lb.ft. of torque. It’s big mill has the ability to get this 4,365 lbs sedan to 60 mph in 4.5-seconds, blitz the quarter mile in 13-seconds and onto a top speed that lies in the mid-170’s. Some people out there are going to bitch about the aging 5-speed transmission, and rest assured that a new 8-speed auto is on the way, until then though, the 5-speed unit, while not new and fancy, still does a great job of slamming all that power down to the pavement.
From a ride quality perspective the 300 SRT8 comes with a new 3-mode suspension. Auto, Sport, and Track are your choices and all exhibit subtle changes. In my opinion, Auto mode was simply too soft, and Track was too harsh. This is after all a big sedan, not a Miata. Therefore go with Sport as it will provide the best combination of performance and comfort for daily use.
Handling wise the big Chrysler has the ability to hold its own with pretty much everything out there that’s in the same class. Remember people, you’re not race drivers (and if you are sorry), so understand that whether a comparison test shows this car leading or trailing in one area or another as compared to the competition, the odds of you being able to tell the difference are nill. Also, this is not a track car. Yes, you can venture there every now and again, but if tracking a car is your passion, then buy something else as this is not your baby.
One area that Chrysler has really stepped up its game is the interior. A nicely sculpted dash with monster size touch screen greet you, while fresh analog gauges tell you everything you need to know.
Yes, there is a function that will tell you G-forces, acceleration and breaking times, but I found this to be a bit gimmicky. Will you use it once or twice? Probably, otherwise I really didn’t see it’s appeal.
It must be said though that the Garmin based navigation system, climate and audio controls are intuitive and very easy to use compared to other cars in this class. Then there are the SRT8 seats which provide the best combination of sport-support and all-day comfort that I’ve seen on a sub-60k sedan.
Braking wise we’re looking at 14.2-inch rotors up front and 13.8-inch out back. Combine that with 4-piston Brembo calipers and integrated brake cooling ducts, and you’ve got a car that will haul you down to a stop in no-time flat.
The Chrysler SRT8 is a great car. It’s a car that will make you grin whenever you mash the gas, giggle when you throw it into a corner, and relax on those long road trips. I’ve owned a BMW M5, driven all manner of AMG car and even owned an older SRT8, all of which have been great cars. However this car appeals to the American in me, the hot-rodder and the muscle car enthusiast, and while it’s not perfect, it does hit all the right buttons for a price that is completely reasonable.