The Chrysler 300C caused quite a stir when it first landed in Australia. Every enthusiast with a bit of bling and 'yo brother' about them looked on in awe. Personally, I thought they were ugly, too big and American which meant they must have shiny leather, plastics like 30 grit sandpaper and sloppy suspension. As well as the inevitable chime set to go off if you just think about opening a door, not wearing a belt or leaving the keys in the ignition.
So a quick post about the Chyrsler 300C SRT-8 is appropriate. I need to confess to you how wrong I was and appease the Mopar fans. SRT stands for Street and Racing Technology so the SRT-8 is similar to our HSV and FPV variants of the standard Holdens and Fords.
I can vouch for this being an awesome car and quite suprising when you consider the average Aussies low expectations when it comes to American made cars. I was lucky enough to meet the owner of a 300C SRT-8 in Melbourne via of all things a car detailing forum. He didn't know me but we agreed to meet and he handed me the keys of his pride and joy and offered me a brief drive and run-down on all things 300C. I couldn't believe my luck either!
The secret to this car, indeed all 300C's is that they are based on the superseded Mercedes E-Class platform and it shows. Even with 20" wheels the ride was mostly compliant and unobtrusive on the Melbourne metro roads we were on which is no mean feat given the state of Melbourne metro roads.
The power was sensational and the big American had no trouble lifting her skirt and bolting. It felt easily as quick as an LS2 powered VZ Clubsport if not quicker. I guess thats to be expected given that in SRT-8 form there is 6.1 litres of Mopar Hemi madness under the bonnet ('poverty-pack' 300C's run the 5.7 Hemi) running through a very smooth Mercedes 5-speed auto. With 317kW and 569Nm of torque, its not going to be slow. 0-100km/h comes up in 5.2 seconds and the quarter mile (400m) is dispatched in 13.3 seconds. Thats quick for a car nudging 1900kgs.
The exterior was a known quantity with its gangster style chopped roof and pumped guards it can't really be missed. The interior is what really impressed. Now if you're used to German cars or drive a Lexus you can screw your nose up here but if you drive almost anything else then the 300C's interior will charm you. Aside from some cheap looking plastics it was plush, beautifully appointed and quite well put together. In fact the whole car felt tight and solid...kinda Mercedes like.
At $71,990 it won't be in everyones budget but if you are shopping for a V8 'something-or-other' in that price range you'd do well to give the Chrysler 300C SRT-8 a test drive. It's plush performance American style.