Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Community Classifieds | Driveway -

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.

Peter Barn­well

Quite soon the big Chrysler will be the only af­ford­able V8 in Aus­tralia.

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