In California the Chrysler 300C SRT8 is considered the poor man's
Bentley because like the Bentley it has the size, speed, and serious
power to very quickly transport four adults from point A to point B in
comfort and style.
In Europe the 300C has earned the reputation
as the quintessence large American sedan with broad shoulders and the
larger than life swagger and attitude of the early classic American big
In Colorado I found the 300c SRT8 to be the most frustrating and vexing car I've ever reviewed.
I was first handed the keys to the Inferno Red Pearl Crystal 300C SRT8
(Chrysler's color description, not mine) I had just finish reviewing
the Lexus LS460, and sitting down in the 300C SRT8 was like going from
first class to economy.
The smell of cheap plastics filled my
brain with bad memories of my friend's Chrysler GLH in collage, and the
hap hazardous fit and feel of the interior immediately made me frown.
But it only took one meaningful stab of the accelerator as I was merging onto the highway to turn that frown in a broad grin.
have to be honest here and confess that in my book there is no sin
great enough that 425 roaring HEMI horsepower cannot forgive. It's not
just the power and 420 lb.-ft torque, but the sheer "in your face"
sound and stump pulling fury of all that power that makes for pure
joyous fun. I found myself just stabbing the throttle out of sheer
menace just to see the reaction on the faces of all of the dazed
commuters in their Camrys and Accords.
FYI: I would not
advice doing this too often if you happen to own one of Chrysler's 6.1
liter HEMI cars as most drivers really don't seem to appreciate the
300C SRT8 roaring past them in a huge huff and puff of childish tire
Of course it comes as no surprise that the 300C
SRT8 can accelerate like a bat of of hell—to use a well worn cliche.
What is surprising is the car's ability to actually stop, turn, and
dare I say corner. The old muscle cars in the SRT8's direct line of
heritage would skid off the road like a goat on ice on many a mean
corner taken at any speed above a gentle jog.
The 300C SRT8 with
its massive Brembo brakes and huge 245/45R20 performance tires and
wheels is, dare I say it, poised and surprisingly nimble when the road
twists and turns. Not only does this car go, but it stops, and actually
turns sharply. And because of this the 300C is hoot to drive fast up
and down your favorite canyon. I recorded a 60-0 mph stopping distance
of just 128 feet which is an impressively short span for a car weighing
over 4000 pounds.
300C SRT8 is not what I would call nimble. It does not carve or finesse
a curve, it just hangs on to the best line with surprising tenacity,
and powers out of the turn with a guttural and spine crushing ferocity
that puts many smaller and more nimble cars to shame.
equally powerful eight cylinder Aston Martin Vantage is the James Bond
of cars when it comes to its motoring reputation, the 300C SRT8 would
be the Terminator of Arnold Schwarzenegger fame. Both cars get the job
done—its just that the 300C SRT8 does it in a much more forceful and
Hasta la vista, baby!
So let's go through a quick time line of dinosaur muscle car eras.
years ago, in the first era of the muscle car dinosaurs when such
beasts as the 'Cuda and Road Runner ruled the streets. The best known
muscle car dinosaurs had massive engines, prehistoric styling,
unforgivable handling, and cheap and dolled-up interior design.
In the second era (current) of muscles cars, which is now coming to
a rapid end as these sort of dinosaurs cars are quickly becoming
extinct due to a combination of government regulation, sputtering
economy, and high gas prices, the dinosaur cars like the big engined
Charger, Challenger, Mustang, upcoming Camaro, and the 300C SRT8 have
even bigger engines, retro styling, adequate to better than average
handling, and unfortunately still cheap and dolled-up interiors.
I'm guessing that forty years from now during the third era of the
dinosaur cars they will have even bigger and faster electric engines,
hyper-retro styling, crisp and inspired handling, and for the first
time first class interiors.
And of course when all this happens
in the year 2050 or so you'll do well to own one of the current era
dinosaur cars because they'll be selling at private auctions for
millions of Worldos (the new world currency).
So my suggestion
is get your Chrysler 300C SRT8 while you still can, and if you can
overlook the economy class interior, you'll have a very fun car to
drive for the next forty years. After which you'll be able to sell it
to some rich space travel entrepreneur who will be able to afford the
100 Worldos a gallon for gas, plus the 100 Worldos of carbon tax per
mile to keep the 300C SRT8 roaring down the street in a proper huge
huff and puff of childish tire melting smoke.
2009 Chrysler 300C SRT8
Price as Tested: $50,220
Engine, Transmission: 6.1 Liter SRT8 HEMI V-8 5-Speed Automatic
PocketDyno Test Data
1/4 Mile: 14.18 second at 102.57 mph
0-60 mph: 5.79
Max Acceleration: 0.55 g's
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates
City: 13 mpg
Highway: 19 mpg
Combined: 15 mpg
As tested: 14.8 mpg
CO2 per year: 12,356 lbs
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