By on April 29, 2013

There’s a “problem” with the modern performance variant: they are too easy to review. You see, dropping a high-horsepower V8 into anything makes it good. Take the last generation Chrysler 300 SRT8. It’s interior was made from plastics rejected by Lego and Rubbermaid and you’d be hard pressed to tell it apart from the $9.99 rent-a-car special. The big difference with the SRT versions was that Chrysler stuffed a 425HP 6.1L V8 under the hood and a set of pipes that made the 300 sound like sex. The uncomfortable seats, crappy dash plastics and 1990s stereo were distant memories. If Chrysler had managed to fit the same V8 into the Sebring, it would have been the best convertible ever. This time is different. Before the 2013 300 SRT8 arrived, I decided I would not be seduced by Chrysler’s larger, meaner, sexier, more powerful 6.4L engine and review it like any other car. Can that be done?

YouTube Preview Image

Exterior

Our refrigerator white tester is impossible to confuse with anything else on the road. While there are still some Bentleyesque features, the 300 is solidly Chrysler metal from the long hood to the slim greenhouse. The 300′s tall and blunt nose is entirely functional and the bold sheetmetal is truly function over form. You see, the 6.4L pushrod V8 is very tall and very long, jamming it under a modern sloping hood to a aerodynamic nose simply wouldn’t have worked. That height dictates the beginning of the greenhouse around the front doors and that line continues rearward.

Out back, things have been brought up market with new tail lamps that don’t have the same bargain basement theme as the first generation 300. Despite the improvements there’s something unfinished about the 300′s looks to my eye. Perhaps the original 300 was so bold my expectations for a redesign were unachievable.

For SRT8 duty Chrysler swaps the stock wheels for wide 20-inch aluminum shod with 245/45R20 all-season rubber and the front grille turns black. Nestled inside the larger wheels are larger rotors with four-piston Brembo brakes (14.2-inch up front and 13.8 in the rear.) The rest of the SRT8 changes are subtle enough that they may go unnoticed unless parked next to a lesser 300. The same finlets that sprouted in 2011 are present on the SRT8 and there’s no ridiculous wing or funky chin spoiler to destroy the 300′s luxury lines.

Those luxury lines are important in another way, they help justify the SRT8 Core’s  $44,250 base price. The Core model is a new twist in Chrysler’s SRT8 plot offering a bit more than just a “decontented” ride. In order to get the $4,000 lower starting price the Core ditches the leather seats, HID headlamps and adaptive suspension. Core models can be distinguished by the 6.4L badge on the front fenders, more aggressive wheels and the blacked out halogen headlamps from the 300S.

Interior

Nevermore has an automotive interior gone from plastastic to fantastic so rapidly as the 300 and it’s all down to stitched cow. The SRT8 Core model and base SRT8 models make do with a slightly rubbery injection molded dashboard, a $2,500 option on the non-Core SRT8 takes you to a place hitherto the exclusive domain of six-figure luxury cars: the full-leather dashboard.  Trust me, the cash is worth it. Without the upgrade, the Camcord quality interior plastics stick out like a sore thumb, with it your passengers will be fawning over your french seams. While the 300 interior feels less expensive than an M5 or E63, it’s a better place to spend your time than a CTS-V.

SRT8 shoppers need to be prepared for a sea of black or some fairly striking red as they are the only two interior colors offered in the 300 SRT8 and carbon fibre is the only trim available. I’m not usually a fan of black-on-black interiors, but Chrysler thankfully breaks things up a bit with Alcantara faux-suede sections in the seats. SRT8 Core shoppers have less choice being offered only in a black-cloth configuration.

All models get reworked front seats that offer more lateral bolstering but still suffer from Chrysler’s latest seat-oddity: seat cushions you sit on rather than in. While not as pronounced as the seats in the Chrysler 200 Convertible we had, I had the constant feeling I was sitting on a large gumdrop. Despite this, the seats proved reasonably comfortable on my long commute despite the lack of thigh support this design causes. Just keep in mind that Alcantara can be a maintenance bear, so avoid spills and trousers made of rough fabric. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just Google “Alcantara pilling” to educate yourself.

Thanks to the super-sized proportions, the 300 offers the same amount of rear legroom as the Cadillac XTS. To put that in perspective, that’s several inches more than a BMW M5, Jaguar XFR, Cadillac CTS-V or Mercedes E63, all of which could be considered valid SRT8 competition. The 300 is more closely aligned in terms of size to the next-tier up in vehicles, the short wheelbase 7-Series, Cadillac XTS, short wheelbase XJ, etc.

Infotainment

Chrysler’s 8.4-inch uConnect infotainment system is standard although the Core model cuts the nav software to keep the price of entry low. uConnect is proof that being late to the party has advantages. Chrysler had more time to work out bugs, or maybe they just had better engineers working on the system, whatever the reason uConnect runs circles around MyFord Touch and Cadillac’s CUE in terms of response time and reliability. To date I have not had a Ford, Lincoln or Cadillac test car that didn’t have a total melt-down that required me to pull a fuse to reboot.

The system combines radio, multimedia, climate control, navigation, Bluetooth and other functions into a single screen. While some functions have duplicated hardware buttons, others can only be controlled via the touchscreen. This is both good and bad. It eliminates the button array plaguing Buick and Acura models, but some functions take longer and require more “eyes off the road” time than a hardware button. Stabbing the right button with gloves on is also a challenge.

The latest software adds full voice control of your USB/iDevice and worked very well without the library size limitations Toyota products suffer from. MyFord Touch offers a wider variety of “commandable” items and more natural command syntax, but  uConnect has a more natural voice and faster processing. Sadly the Garmin navigation isn’t well integrated into the system looking as if you’d just cut a hole in the screen and put a portable Garmin behind it. The look isn’t surprising since that’s exactly what Chrysler did, except they did it in software, not with a razor blade. While it makes uConnect’s navigation option inexpensive and easy to update, the graphics and menu structure don’t jive with the rest of the system and nav voice commands are very different from other cars on the market. Chevy’s new MyLink’s interface is just as snappy as uConnect but offers more polished navigation commands and a more seamless interface.

SRT8 models get additional apps tailored to the vehicle (shown above). The SRT apps include a race timer, G-Force displays as well as several screens of additional gauges like oil temperature, incoming air temperature, battery voltage, etc. There is also a custom screen that shows exactly how much power and torque the ginormous engine is cranking out at any moment. If you want the latest in uConnect with 911 asist and 3rd party smartphone apps, you’ll need to wait until Chrysler refreshes the 300 with the same system the new Grand Cherokee and RAMs use. If you want to know more about uConnect, check out the video at the beginning of the review.

Drivetrain

OK, this is the section you’ve been waiting for. Chrysler didn’t just tweak the old 6.1L SRT engine from the first generation SRT8 vehicles, and they didn’t just grab the Challenger Drag Pack/Mopar Crate engine either. You heard that right, this is not the “392 Hemi” in the Mopar catalog. Instead, Chrysler went back to the drawing board, cast a new block and built the new 6.4/392 around the design framework of the revised 2009 5.7L Hemi. This means you get variable cam timing to improve power and emissions, and Chrysler’s Multi Displacement System to improve efficiency. The redesigned engine still uses two valves and two spark plugs per cylinder and a heavily modified semi-hemispherical design. With as much engineering time as they undoubtedly spent, I’m somewhat surprised Chrysler didn’t cook up a dual-overhead cam SRT engine. No matter, there’s something primal about owning a car with an enormous push-rod V8.

Chrysler didn’t stop at enlarging the displacement, power is way up as well. The new monster is good for 470 horsepower and a stump-pulling 470 lb-ft of torque. While that may not sound like a huge improvement over the old 425HP 6.1L engine, the new 6.4 produces 90 lb-ft (or one whole Prius) more torque at 2,900 RPM. But that’s not all. Thanks to the trick cam timing, the new engine out powers the old by at least 60lb-ft from idle all the way to 5,600 RPM. The old SRT8 was a stout machine, but back-to-back, it feels like it runs out of breath easily. The improved thrust takes the 300 from 0-60 in a quick 4.5 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 12.87 seconds at a blistering 113 MPH. Those numbers aren’t that far removed from the BMW M5, E63 AMG, or Jaguar XFR-S.

If you were hoping 2013 would bring the new ZF/Chrysler 8-speed transmission to the SRT8, so was I. Sadly, the only cog-swapper offered on the 300 SRT8 is the old Mercedes 5-Speed that the 300 has been using since 2004. I wouldn’t say the Merc tranny is bad, but it’s not exactly a team player either. The shifts are somewhat sluggish, particularly when downshifting, and the ratios are far enough apart that highway passing can be dramatic or anticlimactic depending on how far down the transmission is willing to shift. Driven in a vacuum the WA580 is an acceptable play mate, but drive that Grand Cherokee SRT8 parked next to the 300 on the lot and your eyes will be opened.

If you believe that there is no replacement for displacement, the 300 SRT8 will be your poster boy. Sure, the latest German twin-turbo V8s put down more power, but the American bruiser has something they can’t deliver: a raucous V8 sound track. Proving the point I had the opportunity at a regional media event to drive several Mercedes, BMW and Chrysler models back-to-back on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The M6 blew down the main straight at a blistering pace with a tame, almost muted exhaust note. You can thank the turbos in the exhaust for that. Meanwhile hearing the 300 SRT8, Challenger SRT8 and Grand Cherokee SRT8 blast down the straight at the same time nearly made me pee my pants.

So it sounds good and clears 60 in 4.5. What’s not to love? The tire selection. All 300 SRT8s come standard with 245 width all-season rubber all the way around. Chrysler does offer a summer tire package, but it’s not what you want either. According to the 300 forum fan boys, you can stuff some seriously wide 295 or 305 width rubber in the rear without rubbing and there are a few companies out there making wider replica wheels so you can retain the stock look. Going this route will do a few things for you. The most obvious if the improved grip in the corners which is already good, but a lightly modified 300 proved it has the ability to be excellent and second you’ll get better 0-60 numbers. In our testing the 300 spent so much time spinning the “narrow” all-season rubber, I suspect a 4.3 second sprint to 60 is possible. Of course, that rumored 8-speed auto may provide a similar performance bump, the new cog swapper dropped the Grand Cherokee SRT8′s 0-60 time by a full second.

When the going gets twisty Chrysler’s adaptive suspension (not available in the core model) and regular old hydraulic assist power steering conspire to create a modern Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide. In standard mode the suspension is moderately firm and compliant, soaking up roadway irregularities like a taut German cruiser. In Sport mode the system stiffens the dampers and attempts to counteract tip/dive and sideways motions. In Track Sport the dampers are set to their stiffest mode and the 5-speed auto gets downshift happy. On regular road surfaces the suspension never felt punishing, even on broken pavement, which translates to a slightly soft ride on the track, a worthy trade-off in my book, since few new cars are headed for the track anyway.  The decision to leave electric power steering off the table for the moment makes the enormous and moderately numb Chrysler have perhaps the best steering feel in this coat-closet-sized segment.

As before, the 300 SRT8 represents an incredible value compared to the other high-performance RWD sedans on the market. The difference is, this time around I don’t have any caveats attached to that. Our well-equipped tester rang in at $56,235 with every option except the black roof, up-level paint and tinted chrome bits. That’s about $12,000 less than a comparable CTS-V, and a whopping $40,000 less than a comparable M5 or E63. Of course the SRT8 isn’t going to have the exclusivity or snob value of the Germans and it’s less powerful for sure, but the fact that we can even have this discussion is saying something. While the 6.4L engine is undeniably intoxicating, the 300 SRT8 finally gets better under the harsh light of reality. Chrysler’s new-found ability to craft a desirable interior and competitive infotainment system mean you won’t have to “live with” much other than the 5-speed automatic. Give Chrysler a year or two and even that caveat may be lifted.

Hit it

  • Sexy optional leather dash is a must.
  • Endless torque.
  • Bragging rights: My engine is bigger than yours.

Quit it

  • Ye olde 5-speed should have been swapped for the sweet 8-speed this year. For shame.
  • Rubbery dashboard in the Core model.
  • AWD would make the SRT8 sell easier in the north.

 Chrysler provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 2.08 Seconds

0-40: 2.8 Seconds

0-50: 3.66 Seconds

0-60: 4.5 Seconds

0-70: 5.73 Seconds

0-80: 7.0 Seconds

0-90: 8.83 Seconds

0-100: 10.54 Seconds

0-110: 12.5 Secodns

1/4 Mile:  12.87 Seconds @ 113 MPH

Average fuel economy: 17.8 over 566 miles

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

79 Comments on “Review: 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 (Video)...”


  • avatar
    David Hester

    Nice write up. I really dig white luxury cars with red interiors.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    There is a local one of these that is equipped with twin turbos (that “only” cost $10,000 complete installed) that puts out a truly satanic 800 horsepower.

    Black on black, it is the car that Satan himself would drive.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not buying till they put the upgraded steering wheel, the 8-speed and the other options in. The core model had a SEPIA interior at the NYAS that looked like “peanut butter”. It was gorgeous. I’d definitely consider a Metallic Silver exterior and Sepia interior.

      I personally feel there is no good reason not to have Navigation in every single 300. fortunately it’s an option.

      You won’t see the 8-speed until the 2014 model. The 2012 and 2013 are basically the same.

      I was considering upgrading to a Stroker 426 or 440, but I’ll definitely not be able to use my 2006 as a daily driver anymore.

      “The improved thrust takes the 300 from 0-60 in a quick 4.5 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 12.87″

      When my 6.1 was stock, I was able to do quarter miles in almost the same amount of time – I even have a video doing so. I think the big problem is that this car spins out under hard acceleration from a standstill cause the Goodyear RSA2 on it SUCK. Under a hard acceleration, the car swerves and slips hard.

      The benefit of the W5a580 transmission is that you can put in turbos or a supercharger without worrying about it breaking. That thing handles over 700 pounds of torque. Thanks Mercedes!

      I DO NOT WANT TO SEE THIS CAR WITH AWD.

      If you want AWD – get the Jeep. This car is so much better as RWD – allowing you to tune it easier and offering segment unparalleled high-speed steering response and sensitivity.

      I must say the weight in this generation of SRT is so much higher that I feel a lot has been lost between generations.

  • avatar
    retrogrouch

    The “hit it or quit it” crap makes me feel stabby.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Got chuckle at anti-Camcord/ Prius comments, but they are true none the less. This car has GT-car performance with a backseat, priced right! Nice to see it compared to the Germans, no Asians need or can apply.

    • 0 avatar
      copanacional

      mfw when i’d rather have the Lexus LS 460 F any-day-of-the-week

      yadda yadda “But this V8 makes more powaaahh” Yeah… but it doesn’t matter when the rest of the car is a pos.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Dude! The lexus LS 460 F sport starts at $82,000. Maserati Ghibli is supposed to start arounde 70k, let’s have an appropriate comparo between those two instead of between the lexus and a car that’s 30-40g’s less?

        • 0 avatar
          copanacional

          Then why even bring up the M5 and E63 in this article? My response was really to the asinine comment from ‘Norm’ in regards to “no Asians need or can apply”.

          I’d rather ride in that Lexus LS F any day of the week and gladly pay the $30k price premium. Hell, I know the quality and residual will most definitely outlast that of the Crapler 300.

    • 0 avatar
      VA Terrapin

      Leave it up to the guy who has a pathological hatred of Toyota to try to create a race war where none was even suggested in the article.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Overall good review that really sums up the appeal of this car, which by my own account, is incrediawesome.

    But, what’s with the dissing of the seats? The ’06-’10 SRT seats were the best part of that interior. They were comfy to sit in for long hauls and nicely bolstered for the twisties.

    My Charger has the exact same seats as the ones in the car you reviewed (red too) and I find them to be just about perfect ergonomically. On 3 hour tours I never find myself fidgeting to find a more comfortable position.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      “But, what’s with the dissing of the seats? The ’06-’10 SRT seats were the best part of that interior. They were comfy to sit in for long hauls and nicely bolstered for the twisties.”

      +1

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    Great review, I enjoyed reading it!

  • avatar
    dts187

    I’m a fan of the 300. Nothing like big, unapologetic, RWD american metal. The interior design isn’t as good as the competition, but the overall exterior/interior works very well for me. I’m not feeling the red leather, though. I think a darker red would help immensely. If I was paying the bill, the 300s with the 5.7 would be my choice.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    Thorough review. thanks.

    I like the car, but a few quibbles that are addressable by chrysler (whereas the abysmal brand cache, the real reason I wouldn’t buy this, is not so addressable). 5spd auto seems ancient now. some of those black plastic panels look scratch prone. biggest beef would be the carbon fiber look interior inserts – they make it look like an up-optioned Evo or STi.

    • 0 avatar
      copanacional

      +1 internets

      sat in one @ the dealer. while impressed with the optional leather interior. was not impressed with many of the trim bits and overall fit & finish. panel gaps. panel gaps. panel gaps galore

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      You can of course swap out the carbon bits for wood or whatever trim was available for this generation interior. I’d go dark wood myself from the luxury series interior.

      • 0 avatar
        copanacional

        But honestly, Alex, in a $50k+ car… you’d expect the carbon inserts to look a little more presentable. Someone phone the Chrylser boys and give them Audi’s number for lessons on tasteful carbon trim.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I aspire to own one of these one day. The refreshed charger was kind of neat when it first came on the scene but now it looks too overstyled for my tastes on the sides and the front end. Hopefully you can get one of the new Masseratti ghiblis to review for comparison as that car is built on what will be the next generation architecture for the LX twins.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    “The shifts are somewhat sluggish, particularly when downshifting, and the ratios are far enough apart that highway passing can be dramatic or anticlimactic depending on how far down the transmission is willing to shift.”

    With 470hp/470ft-lbs, how is it even possible for any passing manuever to be “dramatic?”

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      The 5-speed has some interesting ratios, and if you’re going the right highway speed you may not be able to downshift right to eh engine’s power band. The 8-speed does not have this issue, I had some seat time in the GC SRT8 and the difference is incredible.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Is the 8 speed all that? I have the 8 speed with the v6 in my Charger SXT and i can never seem to get the gear i want, and it has no manual mode.

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          It’s all down to the programming. The 8-speed in the SRT8 Grand Cherokee is a team player, I expect the same when it trickles down to the Charger/300.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        Having had two cars with the 5 speed, a 2008 Charger R/T and my present 2010 Challenger R/T, if you want it to get it to downshift, you need to stomp it. It reacts pretty quickly on my car, and can be dramatic, both in sound and action. On my friend’s 700 RWHP Challenger, stomping it is just asking to get the crap scared out of you.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “the 6.4L pushrod V8 is very tall and very long, jamming it under a modern sloping hood to a aerodynamic nose simply wouldn’t have worked”

    How does that happen? Pushrod V8s are supposed to be 20-pound lunchbox-sized engines that make a bazillion horsepower, according to GM fans anyway.

    The big questions is: why buy this SRT8 instead of waiting for the 8-speed?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      That is an excellent question. After writing this I drove the Grand Cherokee SRT8 around Laguna and the 8 speed alone drops the 0-60 time by a full second. I’d wait. Other than the transmission, Chrysler finally got everything right.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Not lunchbox-sized, obviously, but overall no larger, and often more dimensionally-compact than a fully-outfitted, ready-to-run turbo-4, twin-turbo V6 or DOHC V8.

      Maybe the correct answer to your question is: it depends on how well-matched the eight-speed will be to the engine and how well the PCM can learn from the driver’s habits.

      If the new transmission is going to hunt and hunt and hunt for the right gear, and there’s a good chance it will, get this one as two-year-old used special.

    • 0 avatar

      The Hemi V8 is taller and wider than the GM pushrod V8s due to the larger heads of the Hemi.

      The reason to buy this one instead of the 8 speed, most people are probably not aware of the upcoming 8 speed, and the salesman at the dealership won’t bother telling a prospective customer to wait until next year.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ PatM – Interesting point regarding the head size. Interestingly, this also would’ve been true of Mopar’s 426 and contemporary Chevrolet big blocks, correct?

        @ bumpy ii – Several months ago, there was a cool schematic in one the car magazines (Car and Driver?) depicting the cross section of a GM OHV V8 completely inside the cross section of an OHC V8. (I can’t remember if it was from Mercedes, BMW, or someone else.) The LS’s reputation for compactness is pretty legitimate.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, the 426 Hemi was rather large, hence it being nicknamed the elephant engine. The double rocker arm arrangement for the valves definately made for a physically impressive looking engine, too bad the new ones don’t have the chrome or black wrinkle finish of the old ones on the valve covers

  • avatar
    Zackman

    425 hp. is nice until you have to start paying for the gas to feed this monster…shoot, paying for 300 hp. is no picnic, either, but I do enjoy “exercising” those horses on occasion…like this morning…

    That being said, I like this car from a distance – as I do all Chryslers.

    Until their quality is proven and at least as good as my rides have been, I still look at them with a jaundiced eye. I really hope I’m wrong, but not being in the market, it doesn’t matter.

    Yeah, I’m a broken record on this, but if I were buying a new car, it wouldn’t be a Chrysler, although I wish it were, as I liked most of our former MoPars. Call it 2.7L syndrome…

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “425 hp. is nice until you have to start paying for the gas to feed this monster…”

      If you buy a car like this, the money you spend filling it up really isn’t a factor. Would it be nice it got 35 combined, yes. But most buyers know what to expect and gladly make the trade off.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I average around 20mpg in mixed driving with my 5.7L Hemi with VVT and MDS. If Alex managed more than 17 with a 100 more HP on tap, I’d say that’s pretty darned acceptable.

        You run of the mill mid/full size crossover won’t beat that by much.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The v6 model gets 31 miles per gallon highway with the 8 speed. With near 300 hp on tap and 8 gears, I don’t see much of a reason to spend on the SRT model for a street car. I would go for the varvotos luxury model, that is one sharp car.

    • 0 avatar

      My Supercharged 6.1 costs me about $55 to fill up and typically takes me about 250 miles per full tank. But I never drive full. I usually drop $30 in it every 4 or 5 days.

      The REAL problem is grinding my tires to dust. I need a new set of tires every 1.8 years.

  • avatar

    This car is proof positive that Chrysler is benefitting from Fiat’s touch. The first one was great externally though a little too much. The interior, terrible. Fiat did an amazing job with the external and internal design in my opinion. The external design was toned down and made more pleasant because of it. Inside it now looks the part.

    On this car, I’d love one though I know in my heart I’d never bit cause of the fuel economy (if I’m gonna be spending that much fuel on a car, better it be a Challenger or Mustang). The red seats look great, but the all black interior and wheels, big fail for me.

    On the seats, sitting on it isn’t what makes it comfortable for long drives?

    • 0 avatar
      VA Terrapin

      Chrysler was already improving its interiors before Fiat came along. The only significant contributions that I know Fiat made to Chrysler were buying Chrysler stock from the Federal government and providing the Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform and MultiAir engines for the Dodge Dart.

      If anything, it’s Chrysler’s profits that are benefiting Fiat right now.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    While everything else might be okay (save the omission of the 8-speed), I’ve just never warmed to the slammed, ‘gangsta’ roofline of these cars ever since their 2005 introduction. Along with a blinged-out Escalade, driving one of these would seem like too much of an embarrassing rapper cliché.

    The high beltline and gun-slit windows remind me of a 7/8′s scale version of the cheesy, 1977 made-for-tv movie ‘The Car’ and makes the 300 more of a caricature than an actually well-styled vehicle. But, evidently, sales indicate I’m in the minority on that one.

    • 0 avatar
      VA Terrapin

      Unlike most American sedans, the Chrysler 300 looks unapologetically American, not like the all too typical American sedan that tries to copy an Asian or European sedan.

      American sedans might as well try to be American because there’s always a better Asian or European sedan than any American sedan that tries to be Asian or European.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    The 300 SRT8 (and for that matter the entire SRT line up) offers great performance at a great value but to tell the truth none would be at the top of my list.

    The next generation CTS-V, if the V-Sport is any indication, will be on an entirely different level regarding looks, refinement, as well as power and will hopefully still offer a manual transmission.

    A few weeks ago TTAC posted an article titled “I’m glad they built it but I wouldn’t buy it” or something to that effect. Add this car and its Charger kin to my list.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm I guess I’m a point of diminishing returns guy… I’d stop at the good old 5.7 Hemi and enjoy. I love cars like the SRT8 I guess I just can’t justify the in my head the extra expense of one new vs its slightly less fire breathing V8 brethren in the showroom.

    Nice review though Alex.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I was kind of torn between the new 2010 Challenger R/T I bought, and a really nice 2009 SRT Challenger. I had driven several R/Ts and I knew what they were like and was hoping the SRT would be so much better that the choice would be easy, one way or another. It wasn’t. Yeah, it handled better, and was quicker, but I wasn’t impressed all that much to be honest. Now if it would have been an SRT with the 6.4, that would have been a totally different thing. The 10K difference is insane to me. IMHO, the better brakes, engine and suspension changes are worth about $3K. I have a box with a pulled off SRT suspension, it cost me $400. My 5.7 runs a 13.34@105+ ET (with a perfect launch, very difficult to do), so just how fast do I want to go?

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “You see, the 6.4L pushrod V8 is very tall and very long…”

    Why would this be? Compact packaging is supposed to be a benefit of pushrod V8s. And yes, I saw that someone already asked this, and no, I don’t see that that person got an answer.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It is, the author is a little misguided by making that statement.

      The Hemi actually looks small sitting in the engine bay of these cars. there’s tons of room all over, the hoods could stand to be sloped a bit more should the design accomodate it.

      As a comparison, a Ford modular V8 and most OHC V6 and V8 engines are generally a bit taller than the Hemi or LSx engines.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Yeah, that’s what I thought – there is no way for example that you could fix a 7-liter V8 under the hood of a C6 ‘Vette if it were OHC.

        And of course there is no reason a pushrod engine would be longer, either. If anything, OHC engines’ cam drive setups usually make them a tad bit longer than pushrod ones.

        So Alex…your statement was that the tall and long engine dictated the high-beltline 300/Charger platform…? You wanna take another shot at that, since the high-cowl/tankslit windows are maybe the most-criticized aspects of the car?

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          The high cowl look is both criticizes and praised. It really depends on your point of view and I think a design that elicits emotion like this is a good thing regardless of where you land on the topic.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        DOHC heads with a 60 degree bank angle are certainly going to be taller than a cam in block 90 degree v8, however, the hemi heads do add some extra size to this motor.

        I believe that the cam uses an oil pressure phaser for the VCT, I’m not sure how much that would add to the front as I’ve never got a look at the front of the motor, but probably a couple of inches at least. The hemi is a great motor, but it will be even better if/when they decide to move the production hemis to aluminum or compacted graphite blocks. I’d really love to see them adapt the cam-in-cam VCT from the viper to the SRT hemis, that would be something.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        All I will say is: grab a tape measure and check for yourself, this is a big engine. Yes, the engine bay is large as well, but seriously, this is one healthy chunk of iron.

  • avatar
    makuribu

    This is a direct descendant of the Omni GLH.

    More horsepower does not compensate for butt ugly looks.

    Cruising down the main drag and squealing your tires at every light will impress the kind of person your momma would not want you to marry.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Cruising down the main drag and squealing your tires at every light will impress the kind of person your momma would not want you to marry.”

      you speak as if you know this from recent experience. What’s her name and did she roll you??

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      “This is a direct descendant of the Omni GLH.”

      I would say this is more like a direct descendant of the original Chrysler 300 letter series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_300_letter_series

      The white exterior with red leather works for me, it seems like a colour combo that would have been common on the letter cars, and also ties in with the Cordoba based 300 of 1979. It’s too bad the door panels and dash aren’t red as well.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I think that feeling that the design is unfinished comes from the tall front end and even taller rear. The front end wasn’t as noticeable when the larger grille was used, but with the smaller, higher grille, there’s a something-is-missing vibe to it. A contrasting horizontal line just below the grille might do the trick.

    In the rear, that bumper clip is enormous. Look at how high the bottom of the trunk lid sits. That fat lower lip has to be broken up, and like the front, a contrasting horizontal line is needed. Both horizontal lines, front and rear, are about where chrome bumpers used to go.

    The question is whether the feeling of incompleteness is a design omission, or an eye-of-the-beholder-who-remembers-big-chrome-bumpers effect. For me, it’s both.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “I think that feeling that the design is unfinished…”

      Oh, I’m sure there’s an abundance of after-market stick-on chrome goodies to address that concern! Would you like your portholes round, oval, diamond, or one of the multitude of Satan-derived, demonic/gothic-shaped ones?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Stick on? Not for me. I’d like to see a return to big, honking, quarter-inch thick chromed steel bumpers with black rubber tits in the front and blade flares under the tail lights. They hold up better when you knock over a fruit vendor’s wagon like in the movies.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Two things:

    1. You must have a dashboard fetish.

    2. Why do American car companies insist on putting the 3rd brake light on the trunk instead of in the rear window? So cheesy!

  • avatar
    kkt

    12 1/2 second quarter miles don’t seem all that fast for the class of car that this is supposed to be. I personally don’t care, I don’t drag race and am not planning to start. But if that’s what I was shopping for, in the most “go fast” special optioned trim for this model I would not be too impressed.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      It could be for a few reasons in this application:

      1. The power rear sunshade.

      2. The CHMSL in this and the Charger houses the trunk release button and the reverse camera.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Every sedan that is faster really only marginally so, and costs almost twice as much. So someone who bought one of these could be content with the fact that they got a good deal.

      For those still malcontent with that, there is a supercharged 6.2L version of the Hemi coming that will frankly blow all 4 doors off anything with that many.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm

      I don’t think you realize just how fast a 12.5 second 1/4-mile time is…..think C6 Corvette territory.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    As a package, it does what it does better than anything else near it in terms of price.

    In terms of long-term reliability, are the big German names making fast 4 seaters going to fare any better over 8 years of ownership in terms of maintenance and repair costs? Isn’t one of the primary complaints against them that they’re building cars to last only as long as a lease and then they become stupid expensive after that?

    Well here we have a fast 4 seater that, at worst, may do the same thing. Only it does it at a significantly lower cost, and in black with a red interior looks positively menacing. I can see the appeal, here.

    Wasn’t enough to make me buy one, but I absolutely get it.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    “Take the last generation Chrysler 300 SRT8. It’s interior was made from plastics rejected by Lego and Rubbermaid and you’d be hard pressed to tell it apart from the $9.99 rent-a-car special.”

    Interesting perception and valid point, Alex. I always felt the same way sitting in an SRT8 wondering why anyone would pay the premium for the Chrysler when they could save the money for the Dodge and get nearly or exactly the same performance. Normally I would say it was because the interior was of higher quality and now, it looks like Chrysler has figured that out.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    All the Ford fans say that it isn’t a big deal at all that you have to pull a fuse to make MyFord Touchy work and they you should be grateful that such a complex system requires so little to keep it functioning.

    Their words not mine.

    Seems Chrysler just has better engineers. Both for electronics and the overall automobile.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Where’s Alex’s video? There just a blank space on the page.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    I don’t know…the first time I saw the 300 SRT8 (or another time when I first saw a 300), I was not impressed with the interior quality. Right off the bat, I found a few bad stitches on the leather. That’s unacceptable for something north of $40k.

    Though that’s not to say that this wouldn’t be a sweet buy in 5-6 years when the Chrysler depreciation sinks it down to a very nice price range.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Though that’s not to say that this wouldn’t be a sweet buy in 5-6 years when the Chrysler (or any other brand)* depreciation sinks it down to a very nice price range.”

      So TTAC. Oh, the horror!

      *words in parentheses mine.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I like this car, the 300 is a good comeback story for Chrysler. HOWEVER, the decision to use blue backlighting on the instruments is not a smart one. Red light is best for the eyes at night, there is a reason submarines have red lights in their command centers.

    Also the red backseat looks straight out of a whorehouse.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    I like this car enough to have recently stopped by a dealership to check it out. Despite the car’s overall size, at 6′ 2″ and 200 lbs, imagine my surprise when I discovered that I DON’T FIT. The chopped roofline that looks so good chops the effective headroom to the point that I had to open the sunroof sunshade in order to sit with my head upright.

    IF it had the 8-speed and available AWD, I might find a way to live with the limited headroom.

    Still, well done overall Chrysler!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Still amazes me how interior comfort can be so subjective. I’m the same size as you and find the car fits perfectly. The front seats have quite a bit of height adjustment, perhaps it was cranked all the way up?

      My wife likes the seat much higher than I do, so I always hit the memory 1 button to make sure the seat has moved to the right position before getting in. Sometimes our keys get mixed up and it automatically moves to her positions and I rage as the seat moves into the wheel.

      Also, they can be had with AWD and the 8 speed with the V6.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      My 6’5″ friend fits in his cars (300 and Challenger just fine, it is a little close on the 300 with the sunroof though. Maybe you needed to lower the seat?

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I’ve not sat in this one, but I’ve driven the current V-6 models. I didn’t feel cramped at all and I’m 6’3″ 215 lbs. 34 inch inseam.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    While I would not trade my 530i for this I would park it and drive this, terrifying all the old folk and bro’s with 22 inch chrome crap wheels driving these!

  • avatar
    pb35

    My 2012 Charger R/T turned a year old yesterday. As far as issues, I had a squeaky drivers seat and the rotors needed to be cut. I have about 8400 mi on it now. It has been great so far, fast, comfy and quiet. I find the 5.7 more than adequate for daily work. I have the Road and Track package so my car has the same seats as the SRT. They fit me well though not as comfy as the chairs in my XC90 Sport.

    I don’t mean to provide feedback on my car which isn’t the same as the car in the review, so here comes the relevant part. I want the SRT. Bad. I will wait for the 8 speed, however. The red seats are cool and all but the Sepia interior in the 2014 is gorgeous.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States