CHRYSLER'S BIG, Hemi-powered 300 SRT is probably wishing the Aussies would piss orf already. Never mind the 335-more-like-375kW, $53K XR8, but closer to 300 SRT territory, HSV's cooking up a 400kW Clubbie for sixty-something grand.
Chrysler's had to revisit the 300 SRT8 recipe to keep it on punters' menus. For a start, it loses the 8 from its name, now just SRT, ditches the much-maligned hydraulic steering for a new electric unit and welcomes a new ZF eight-speed auto (there's no manual). Outputs are up 3kW/6Nm from its 6.4-litre naturally-aspirated pushrod Hemi V8, now a pretty impressive 350kW and 637Nm, good for 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.5sec.
Chrysler’s muscle car has copped some minor styling tweaks, too, and is now chocker-block with shiny new gadgets – adaptive cruise, lane-keep assist, active emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, sat-nav. Throw in 20-inch forged aluminium wheels, leather and a decent stereo and you're talking a lot of car for $69,000.
But in picking a fight with the Aussies, you could count the new three-mode adaptive dampers as the SRT's knuckle-dusters. Chrysler took us down some crook rural roads near Wagga in NSW and the big, 1965kg SRT had some impressive waft-factor about it. It rides really well.
Boot it and there’s serious grunt on tap, too. You'd think 350kW and 637Nm was a big ask for rear 245/45s, but a mechanical LSD means even in the wet traction is strong. Still, belt the throttle and wheelspin is keenly available. It's fun like that.
The thing bellows out a very satisfying V8 snarl, too, even emitting a little AMG C63-esque blat on upshifts. For a solid V8 soundtrack the 300 SRT sounds the business.
The new gearbox is a bit of a gamechanger; you're always in the engine’s sweet spot and with a pluck of a steering paddle, there’s no delay, it just grabs a new gear and goes.
There weren't many corners on the test route Chrysler gave us, so we'll wait for another drive until we give a verdict in that area, and on the new steering, too. But first impressions are while through the big, fast corners it felt super planted – and at 100km/h it was like it was only getting started – perhaps obviously, we suspect this isn’t a car for your local motorkhana.
Rather, the 300 SRT has the same hot-rod qualities as the old one, but with some much-needed updates, and now laden with tech.
But we'd wait for a few MOTOR comparos before placing your order.
Guess which cars we're thinking... M
Solid grunt; decent ride; rear-drive, LSD; satisfying V8 racket; new tranny
Thirst; interior a bit low-rent in places; a bit unsure about the handling