CHRYSLER 300C SRT8 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Luxury Performance Sedan
Fuel Economy (claimed): 14.2 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 14.4 l/100km
The 300C SRT8 has been with us since 2006. When it first arrived in Australia, it was a worthy challenger to our local V8 luxury performance cars.
Five years on, the locals have grown their kilowatt counts and moved the game along considerably, but there is still plenty of appeal wrapped up in the 300C SRT8 package.
- Quality: There is a premium feel to the SRT8’s interior, with a mix of quality plastic, leather and chrome finishes. Fit and finish is a step above the local heroes.
- Comfort: With acres of leather and suede throughout, and electrically-adjusted and heated SRT8 performance seats up front, it’s easy for both driver and passengers to get comfortable There is also an abundance of legroom in the rear.
- Equipment: Standard equipment includes a 13-speaker sound system, electronic vehicle information centre, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, rain sensing wipers and High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps.
SRT-only features include ‘technical’ leather-covered steering wheel, shifter and door-pulls, a 300kph speedometer, tachometer and temperature gauges. A tyre pressure monitoring display within the instrument panel display is also standard.
- Storage: Storage spaces include a centre console storage box, coin holder, four cup-holders, glove-box, door bins on all four doors and overhead sunglasses storage. The boot will swallow 442 litres of luggage.
ON THE ROAD:
- Driveability: The SRT8 is a fun mix of old-school hot-rod and luxo barge. It’s no surgeon’s scalpel, but what it lacks in feel at the wheel and cornering prowess, it makes up for with character.
The 6.1 litre Hemi is a lazy torque monster in regular driving, but it will get its nasty on with a foot-to-the-floor prod of the long-travel accelerator.
Poke it in the ribs and with a downshift or two, the SRT8s demeanor changes from wafting limo, to barking mad muscle car.
The automatic is only a five-speed, but there are 569Nms to smooth over the missing ratio and it’s not noticed when driving.
Gears can be manually selected by moving the selector sideways when in drive, but it’s not especially intuitive and the selector is best left in ‘D’.
- Refinement: There were no rattles or plastic squeaks, just an overwhelming sense of solidity. Inside it’s quiet and refined and feels like a considerably more expensive car.
- Suspension: The 300C’s standard double wishbone front suspension, and a multi-link rear suspension, is upgraded in SRT8 guise with tuned dampers, revised spring rates and suspension bushings, and larger diameter anti-sway bars.
The ride is smooth, but the engineers haven’t been able to dial out all of the bump-thump created by the huge 20-inch billet alloy wheels. You’ll notice it, but not enough to care.
- Braking: Each wheel runs Brembo four-piston caliper brakes with vented rotors. Pedal feel is excellent and stopping power prodigious.
- ANCAP rating: Not rated
- Safety features: Standard active safety features include an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
The SRT8 comes standard with dual frontal airbags, side curtain airbags and seat mounted thorax airbags.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: Three years / 100,000 kms, whichever comes first.
- Service costs: Servicing intervals are set for every 12,000km, with a typical service costing between $470 - $500. The first major service is due at 48,000km, and costs roughly $1250
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY:
- HSV Senator Signature ($83,990) - The over-styled HSV isn’t a match for the 300C’s build-quality. On the plus side of the ledger is the muscular (317kW/550Nm) 6.2-litre Chev engine.
It’s also a more focused performance drive, with a genuine and respected pedigree. (see HSV reviews)
- FPV GT-E ($82,540) - With 335kW/570Nm, the new super-charged Coyote V8 has propelled the V8 FPVs to Aussie performance sedan ‘King of the Hill’ status.
Hard to fault, but like the HSV it carries a big price premium over the SRT8. (see FPV reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL:
It’s a simple case of mathematics. The 300C SRT8 is such a huge bargain, it’s like a barn-find without the dirt, straw and chickens.
Fully loaded (with the exception of a sunroof) for $65,000, it undercuts the equivalent HSV and FPV by well over $15,000.
While it’s not necessarily better than either of the local offerings, it is rarer, unique, and most importantly (for the enthusiast), it has character... and a HEMI.