2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8 Road Test Review

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

A lot of folks think that muscle cars are exclusively two-door coupes.  The Chrysler 300C SRT8 begs to differ.  Sure, it's a "luxury performance sedan" that competes with long-distance, high-speed cruisers like the BMW M5 and Audi S6 at a much lower price, but the first time you get on the gas and the HEMI V8 under the hood smacks you in the backside with an unmistakable roar, there's no doubt that this car has the heart of a dragstrip monster.  The equipment puts the 300C SRT8 in the luxury performance sedan class, but that V8 growl is all muscle car. 

The 300C broke ground when it first hit the streets, offering high-luxury looks and a rear-drive powertrain at a relatively affordable price.  At the time, Chrysler was a part of Mercedes-Benz, and the brand took advantage of a bit of German engineering to produce a handsome family sedan with solid, European-influenced construction.  The deal was sweetened with the introduction of the high-performance 300C SRT8. 

The looks of the Chrysler 300 haven't changed much since its introduction in 2005.  The massive grille and four-element headlights that dominate the front are familiar, but don't look outdated thanks to body-coloured inserts that make for an imposing monochrome look.  Luxury and performance are nicely blended with 20x9-inch Alcoa wheels wrapped in high-performance 245-series rubber and an exclusive aluminum grille.  The 300's upright silhouette and low-roof, high-sides stance gives it a unique road presence.   Subtle ducting has been added for brake cooling, and a small spoiler at the rear is a real aerodynamic aid, not a showpiece. 

No holds were barred when it came to the 300C SRT8's powerplant.  Chrysler installed the big-gun 6.1 HEMI V8 under the hood of its flagship sedan, naturally.  425 horsepower is a lot of grunt, and the HEMI delivers with the appropriate soundtrack.  Chrysler claims a 5 second 0-100 km/h run, and the seat-of-the-pants meter says that's accurate.  When it comes to real-world performance, the 300C SRT8 has no problem running with a Chevrolet Camaro SS.  A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, and it's strong enough to control the horsepower without resorting to harsh, unpleasant shifts, and good gear spacing means that it doesn't run out of steam at higher revs or extralegal speeds. 

As you might have guessed from the German influence on the 300C, this car was developed with long-distance freeway travel in mind, and that's a task at which it excels.  The 300C uses a fully independent suspension consisting of a short-long arm front setup and a five-link rear.  This base has been tightened up with new springs and bushings and the obligatory fat anti-roll bars.  The 300C SRT8 gets unique suspension knuckles that lower the car about half an inch compared to the working-class version.  This is a big sedan, but it can run with smaller sports coupes thanks to excellent front-to-rear weight balance.   The standard electronic stability program with traction control has been retuned so that it doesn't kick in and spoil the fun--until absolutely necessary, of course.  In slippery weather, it contributes to docile handling. 

The 300C SRT8's crazy horsepower is tethered to reality by massive brakes with big red Brembo calipers that are visible behind the wheels.  The vented rotors measure 360 mm up front and 350 in the rear and will bring the big four-door to a halt from 60 mph (96.9 km/h) in a nosebleed-inducing 33.5 meters (110 feet). 

The advantage the 300C SRT8 sports over the average muscle car is that it is a large, comfortable sedan, with two broad seats up front and room for three across at the rear.  Splitting the difference between sports cars and sports sedans, the 300C SRT8 does a good job of combining the best elements of both.  Inside, comfortable yet grippy sueded seats hug the driver and front-seat passenger. Available options include Chrysler's "Uconnect" voice activated, hands-free Bluetooth phone system; premium audio system with a 30GB music hard drive, touch screen, six-CD changer and DVD/MP3 capability; adaptive cruise control; navigation system; Sirius Satellite Radio and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. 

Critics will complain that the 300C SRT8's familiar design and arguably outdated chassis give the edge to the Germans in refinement.  Chrysler makes up for that disparity with pure, unadulterated fun, a quality that's sometimes lacking in luxury sport sedans.  The 300C SRT8's $48,345 MSRP undercuts the competition by a significant margin.  It's serious fun.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Chrysler, 2010, 300C SRT8, $40,000 - $49,999,

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments