Do you ever see those cars on the road that act like roosters? Loud, slow, peckish? Well, let me assure you, the Chrysler 300 SRT8 is the exact opposite. It’s a car Teddy Roosevelt would love – it walks softer than a lot of cars for its price range, and it’s got a giant Sequoia tree as its stick. In other words, it appears docile, but will run just about anybody out of Dodge City. That’s what happens when you have a top speed of 175 mph!
When Chrysler introduced the spectacular 300 SRT-8 back in 2005, Car & Driver heaped many praises on the powerful 425-horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque 6.1-liter V8. Plus, the brutish 5-speed automatic would chirp tires on a 1-2 upshift. The 300 SRT-8 had no real competitors for the price (the Cadillac CTS-V was almost $10,000 more!), but it’s interior wasn’t the stuff dreams are made of of. Plus, it guzzled gas, like, well, a Motown muscle car. Now, there is a car that is perfect for those wanting something tame for the workweek, but will beat a Mustang Boss 302 at the track day. Chrysler and SRT have truly made a 1000-pound gorilla in a back alley. Look out! In fact, this car is so obedient that most street racers would never know that it would smoke their Mustang with the gigantic wheels and skinny tires. Besides, it doesn’t need any nitrous-oxide – it’s fast enough by itself, thank you very much!
The 300 SRT-8 has a very powerful engine that has 45 more horsepower and 50 more lb-ft of torque than the previous 6.1 liter engine. This new engine is much more technologically advanced than the old engine. It has variable valve timing (VVT) for better fuel economy and power delivery, and an aluminum engine block that shaved almost 30 pounds off of the old block. Now, there’s a chip off the old block (get it?)! It has grown to the much-loved 392 cubic-inch engine (6.4 liters). The engine pumps out a whopping, mighty, and thundering 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. This gorilla will quite simply, scare you off the road!
With the push of small button on the not-so-high-quality touchscreen, it can be a tractable commuter car, an effortless interstate loper, or a vicious corner carver. Also, its oh-so-potent 6.4 liter Hemi engine can switch between four cylinders and eight cylinders, depending on the driving conditions. The old car was brutal in its performance, delivering a whopping 4.8 second 0-60 mph time and beat a Nissan 370Z Nismo through the quarter mile at a blazing 13.3 seconds at over 100 mph.
The new car is much faster at 4.5 seconds to 60, and an amazingly fast 12.9 seconds through the quarter mile. That’ll beat the Porsche Cayman S (the Cayman R will beat the Mustang GT500) to 60, and the 300 SRT-8 will pull ahead in the quarter mile. Floor the 300 SRT-8 when passing on the highway will result in a huge thundering roar that will set off car alarms and rocket you to almost 90 mph. In just a few seconds. At redline. VROOM! By the way, the redline is at almost 8000 RPM, so it makes a raw, uncensored, bellowing, howling, roar that sounds like it is supercharged. At idle, the engine sounds docile, almost like a V6. Why? Because of something called cylinder deactivation.
Car & Driver‘s Shaun Bailey recommends NOT using the shift paddles when one has passengers. Why? Because using the shift paddles in manual mode is a sure way to give passengers whiplash…Also, don’t downshift when you are not in a straight line. It tends to upset the chassis. However, SRT has recently retuned the chassis to reduce chassis flex during hard cornering.
Unfortunately, cylinder deactivation doesn’t get rid of that absolutely annoying Gas Guzzler Tax. That automatically slaps $1,000 onto the price of the car. But, don’t be afraid – the 300 SRT8 starts off at $47,815. But, most drivers and/or passengers will want the killer Harmon/Kardon 19-speaker sound system that sounds like a Bang & Olufsen unit. Wanna be safe? Get the SafetyTec package for safe technology. Like stargazing, get the dual panoramic sunroofs. Enjoy black chrome? Get the Black Chrome Group, which adds those big, 22-inch wheels. Plus, the Chrysler 300 is one of the last big cruisers from Detroit. Since this generation debuted last year, there have been three editions, and they instantly make the curb appeal of the Chrysler 300 even bigger.
The Chrysler 300 SRT-8 is meant to look subtle, but be very aggressive. It’s akin to seeing a grizzly bear that looks all cute and cuddly. The second-generation Chrysler 300 SRT-8 is very much like Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote. It walks softly, enveloping the driver and passengers in the lap of luxury, but the stick that it carries under the hood will send a caveman running back to his, er, cave… Scarily, when it revs, it almost sounds like a maniac. I can’t wait until I get one, Mom!