SOON TO BE THE ONLY V8
FAST-forward a year or two and Chrysler’s 300SRT will be the only affordable V8-powered car available in Australia.
Sure, there will be the (expensive) Euro models but no ‘Foulcan’ and no ‘Crummydore’.
If the Chyrsler is to be the only choice for V8ies then it’s not a bad place to be.
Even the cops will be in the big Mopar when they can’t buy turbo Falcons or SS Commodore chaser cars.
So look out all you miscreants who persist in speeding, because the SRT is coming to get you.
And get you it will, based on our long drive in both the de-specced Core and luxury SRT models this week.
They sell for $59,000 and $69,000 respectively, right up the nose of HSV.
And both absolutely rip as you would expect from a car with 350kW of 6.4-litre V8 burbling away under the bonnet.
This is the third iteration of the SRT, formerly called the SRT8, and is far and away the best with proprietary parts from the best suppliers all working their magic on how the car drives, stops, feels and handles.
Bilstein shocks (adaptive on the SRT), Brembo brakes, a ZF eight-speed auto replacing the previous five speeder.
And get this, Australia is one of the few countries that will get this kick-butt sedan because it won’t be available in the US. Their focus is on the more mundane models – our gain.
Having said that, the 300 is an old car albeit revised from the original starting point which was a Merc E-Class a few models ago. Not a bad starting point.
The engine has been around for yonks too and is a pushrod overhead valve unit with two (big) valves a cylinder. The single, low mounted camshaft has variable phasing to optimise output and a cylinder deactivation system cuts four pots to save fuel when all eight aren't needed.
The change from four to eight pots is quite noisy though and is definitely noticeable when you are driving along. It’s capable of 13.0-litres/100km in combined driving but a quite shocking 20.0 litres/100km around town. More than that actually, unless you have an egg under your foot.
Chrysler has gone the whole hog here with extensive aluminium suspension components and the body features plenty of light weight, high strength steel but the 300 SRT still tips the scales at a hefty 1950kg – wow.
Of course, drive is to the rear wheels through a mechanical limited slip differential and before that, a slick changing eight-speed auto with multiple drive modes and paddle shift. Now here’s a relevant point: the paddles are in actual aluminium unlike most similar systems that are cheapo plastic. Speaks volumes.
They installed electric power steering this time around, which means selectable response for the driver who can range between Sport, Track, Default and Custom – for the steering, throttle and transmission.
The cheaper Core misses out on leather, forged 20-inch wheels, driver assist technology, has a lower spec audio system, no satnav and non adaptive dampers, all of which are on the SRT at 10 grand more.
The interior is a vast improvement on previous efforts and is approaching luxury car standard.
Verdict: It’s a statement car – looks awesome on the road, sounds awesome, goes quickly, has plenty of kit. A third the price of a Benz C63AMG with similar performance. We’d have one in a blink, as long as someone else was paying for the fuel.
Quite soon the big Chrysler will be the only affordable V8 in Australia.