Chrysler 300C SRT8 –

8 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Chrysler 300C SRT8 –

Chrysler 300C

At A Glance

THE term “value for money” is an oft bandied-about one and, when applied to a car costing upwards of R600 000, is certain to raise a few eyebrows. Nevertheless, it’s hard to describe the Chrysler 300C SRT8 as anything but. What we have here is a full-size muscle car powered by a 347 kW 6,4-litre Hemi V8.

It features tuneable suspension and an interior packed with the kinds of gadgets for which the German marques are guaranteed to charge extra. Yet, when presented with the 300C SRT8 in the metal, value for money is not exactly what springs to mind first.

The 300C, when originally launched in 2005, caused waves with its squared-off styling and Bentley-esque grille treatment. It quickly became a regular sight on MTV, its bling often matched by the shiny “grilles” (jewellery-encrusted teeth) of the artists in hip-hop and rap videos. Furthermore, its muscle-bound looks also became the subject of frenzied customisation.

With such a visible cult following, an unfair perception existed that bling was the car’s only selling point.

It’s unsurprising, then, that Chrysler decided to tone things down a notch or two when it came to restyling the facelifted Chrysler 300C SRT8.

Undoubtedly, the more restrained grille treatment and subtle panel creases succeed in giving the new model a more modern look. But subtle? Not quite.

The 300C SRT8 still wears its heart on its 20-inch, black, polished alloy wheels.

Bigger, arguably more important, changes have been made inside. Besides the obvious improvements in trim quality and materials (real carbon-fibre and Poltrona Frau leather, the latter also featuring on some Ferraris and Maseratis), the 300C has lost its old-fashioned green-hued instruments and previous-generation controls.

Instead, there’s a smart new 8,4-inch touchscreen display for the navigation, sound system and so-called Performance Pages – including timers for 0-100 km/h, 200- and 400-metre sprints, braking, as well as lateral and longitudinal G-force displays. But wait, there’s more: you can also access displays for steering angle, power and torque outputs and other engine gauges.

Interior comfort is superb. In typical American fashion, the front seats (heated and ventilated) are large (to such an extent that they impinge on rear legroom), and the rear seats offer heating, too.

Chrysler 300C

At the price, there’s nothing on offer with this much firepower under the bonnet. The new 6,4-litre Hemi V8 churns out 347 kW and 631 N.m of torque, good enough to launch the big brute to 100 km/h in 5,1 seconds. Perfectly in character, the 300C SRT8 doesn’t abide by any gentlemanly agreements with the German trio – it’s top speed is not limited to 250 km/h.

Chrysler claims a 280 km/h top-end.

The engine is mated with a good ol’ five-speed automatic driving the rear wheels, but it offers the driver the choice of normal, sport or manual modes and there are smart shift paddles behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Atypical for this kind of car, the 300C SRT8 prefers a more laid-back approach. It may offer an advanced Adaptive Damping Suspension (ADS) setup that boasts auto and sport modes, but the inherent dynamic character of the car is biased towards comfort.

So, while it is possible to make swift progress in the 300C (especially in the firmer Sport mode), the comfort-oriented suspension, two-tonne weight and slow, lifeless steering conspire to make it more of a straight-line blaster than back-road scalpel. Surprisingly, the Hemi V8 is also rather subdued in the aural department.

Approached from a consumer angle, any argument about the SRT8 is bound to centre on value for money. But this would be missing the point. The Chrysler 300C SRT8 is such a charming, characterful car that it would appeal to those whose heart strings it tugs hardest even if it was priced considerably higher.

The flipside of this coin is that the obvious value for money on offer here is unlikely to sway those who are put off by the mere looks of the thing. In other words, its appeal is so specific that you either want it or you don’t. For those who want it, the high-value price is simply a bonus.

And what a bonus it is.

Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
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