MO­TOR­ING

Chrysler’s new 300 SRT proves that big­ger is some­times bet­ter.

Friday - - Contents -

I thought the 300S I drove a few weeks ago was good but as the old say­ing goes, there’s no re­place­ment for dis­place­ment. Why set­tle for just 5,700cc when you can have 6,400? In­deed, the big­ger 6.4-litre V8 com­pletely trans­forms this hand­some saloon.

This Chrysler (it doesn’t ac­tu­ally have any Chrysler badges on it, just those oh-so mean­ing­ful SRT let­ters on the grille and boot) does the 0-100kph sprint in 4.5 sec­onds, has a healthy 485bhp — that’s 122 horses more than the S — and 102Nm of in­cre­men­tal torque too, at 637Nm. You can feel ev­ery one of them nail you to the driver’s seat, but with trac­tion con­trol switched off, you’re not go­ing any­where. This proves equally as thrilling as shoot­ing off into the hori­zon. This SRT loves leav­ing great big clouds of smoke and end­less sets of 11s, thanks to the ex­tra 700 cubes.

Push the start but­ton and the Hemi awak­ens with an an­gry growl. The tailpipes emit such a throaty roar that revving the V8 be­fore you set off be­comes stan­dard pro­ce­dure. Ham­mer the ex­tra-loud pedal (with trac­tion con­trol em­ployed) and you’re met with un­re­lent­ing torque; it pulls strongly well above its 4,250rpm peak, so pick­ing a long stretch is ad­vis­able be­cause you’ll run out of road or brav­ery be­fore it runs out of puff.

The nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 is mated to an eight-speed au­to­matic and it’s a good job that old five-speed was ditched, oth­er­wise this brute of a mo­tor would have made minced meat out of it. It shifts in a per­fectly civilised man­ner when you’re cruis­ing but in Track mode, it rams home the gears with un­prece­dented force. You’ll be look­ing in the rear-view for a wreck­ing ball, such is the sen­sa­tion. The 5.7-litre doesn’t re­ally bother the au­to­matic much, but the 6.4 gives it a lot more to think about, and it copes ad­mirably.

The pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion was GOOD, but the new SRT has added more PO­TENCY to that for­mula, FINE-TUNED it and de­liv­ered a red-hot pack­age

It set­tles quickly in the sweet spot, but you know you’re just a kick down away from an as­sault on the senses.

It car­ries some clout, so it’s a re­lief the stop­pers are mas­sive fourpis­ton Brem­bos (360mm in di­am­e­ter up front and 340mm at the back) that can bring the hefty, 2,050kg 300 to a sure-footed halt. You feel the weight in the cor­ners but this SRT re­mains flat and com­posed.

It isn’t all about per­for­mance though; it has lots of gad­getry to keep you amused if the burnouts be­come bor­ing. A new 7.0in TFT screen be­tween the speedo and tacho tells you every­thing you need to know, while the 8.4in touch­screen in the cen­tre con­sole has an SRT menu that lets you set the 300’s sus­pen­sion (it has adap­tive dampers that can be stiff­ened or soft­ened), steer­ing (a nicely weighted elec­tri­cal sys­tem that be­comes heav­ier in Track mode to aid sta­bil­ity) and throt­tle re­sponse.

You can also keep track of 0-100kph times, top speeds and a lot more (it even has a g-me­tre) via the specs-en­thu­si­ast-grade soft­ware.

Throw in ac­tive safety fea­tures like full auto brak­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and lane keep as­sist along with a well-crafted cabin (the seats get leather and Al­can­tara trim and are very comfy, mak­ing them ideal for long drives and use­ful when you throw this saloon around a lit­tle thanks to their cor­ner­ing sup­port) and what you have is a fam­ily car that’ll re­ally ex­cite once the do­mes­tic du­ties are done.

The pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion was good, but the new SRT has added more po­tency to that win­ning for­mula, fine-tuned it all and de­liv­ered it in a red-hot pack­age with a more ag­gres­sive front bumper, LED lights and eye-catch­ing 20in al­loys. And with that mas­sive Hemi up front, catch it if you can.

The 300’s plush leather seats make it ideal for long drives and when you’re throw­ing it around, thanks to their cor­ner­ing sup­port

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