Review: Chrysler 300C SRT8

Posted on 04. Mar, 2012 by in Auto News

Back in the day, "American Cars" large parts of rolling sculpture of low-revving V8 driving the rear wheels were driven by three quick slushboxes. With a column shift and bench front seat, they are designed to effortlessly float along in a straight line. The "import" were the opposite of those things. Today these distinctions are all but gone. Quadricycle wretched excess in styling, in horsepower, in functions, in sheer mass has become much more typical than Detroit for Munich and Stuttgart. Neither GM nor Ford even offers a large rear-wheel-drive sedan to Americans. If you want the most traditional American car available That's not a truck your only options from an Italian-controlled facility in Canada. The 2011 Dodge Charger (in 370-hp R / T form) and I did not hit it off Maybe the Dodge, with its "four-door muscle car" was foreign and 4/3-scale instrument panel, easy-to-US for me. So I asked the Chrysler variant of the 470-horsepower SRT-mill test. Is the 2012 Chrysler 300C SRT8 at American, according to American or not American enough?

Exterior: the appropriate American

In recent decades, the domestic manufacturers have not had much luck getting the general public to notice their new cars. But periodically they were suspended, and that EVERYONE noticed. With bold, and bold styling, the 2005 Chrysler 300C was one of these cars. The 2011 redesign is more elegant and less gangsta. Would it have made a big impact as well as a 2005 back in '04? Probably not. But with the 2005 blaze at a track and a strong similarity between the two, the second generation car afford to be subtle. The "Baby Bentley" grille was (stealing from the British a long American tradition) down, weakened perhaps too much. But a little rake the waistline gives the car a dynamic appearance to make up for the brilliantly executed and a rear end. Have the subtleties 300C robbed of his all-American character? Well, the American styling is not necessarily over-the-top. Detroit to the world not only the '57 300C and '59 Eldo. It also gave us the '61 Continental and '63 Riv.

Interior Design: not American enough

The 2005 Chrysler 300C was inside to traditional Americans, painted rectangular elements in silver and trimmed in faux chrome. With the 2011 redesign of the interior has been completely redone. Materials have been improved, but apart from the synthetic suede on the seats and door panels seem to be much better suited at $ 33,000 than $ 53,000-always a risk when a single model covers a very wide price range. Most of the surfaces are soft-touch type, but many do not look soft. The design of the new device is too general and does not continue the bold taste of the outside. As in many current Chrysler, the surface detailing all too plain and seems incomplete. In SRT8 trim, which includes anthracite roof liner, only the instruments' powder blue lighting (an interesting choice) saves from the cabin with all the applause of coal bin. Not a bad interior, only cold and boring.

The attenuated outside visibility pays dividends. With a less radical upright windshield and windows enlarged, it is much easier to see from. But you're still clearly not sitting in an old car-view over the hood is still beating and muscle size. As the Charger, which is under 6-2 want to raise the front seat. Unlike the Charger, the dashboard is not so ridiculously big, even with the seat raised. The front seats are large and comfortable, but not as aggressive as the strengthened in the first generation SRT8. This last change could be good or bad, depending on how tall you are. But not everything is perfect for the XXL driver can not find the kind of wide open space, typify the American Iron and thanks to the relative width of the un-American center console used.

The rear seat is not as wide as the broad-shouldered exterior suggests, but the cushion is comfortably high and legroom in the rear, at just over 40 inches, is plentiful. The center console can swallow a rather large camera. Truck volume of 16.3 cubic feet is only acceptable for a car of this size, but the rear seats can be folded to expand it. This last feature is ironically in a reversal of tradition, it is now so rare in the sophisticated Japanese sedans, as it will be in the American ones.

Features and functionality: Ergonomics has no limits

The interior aesthetic restraint bears easy to use controls which pair of large buttons with a fat-finger touch screen. A SafetyTec package includes adaptive cruise, Forward Collision Warning, a blind spot warning system and cross-path detection. These systems work well enough, if you configure it properly. If the sensitivity of the Forward Collision Warning on "far", he recognizes an imminent collision to every curve in the road where a sign is set. I deactivated the audible warning signal for the blind spot system. Before these two tweaks the frequency of beeps was maddening. Unfortunately, there are no settings for the seat belt warning system that has no grace period offered. (Buckle immediately or scolded.) The SRT8 includes a timer acceleration and g-meter. A proposal by the latter: some very small numbers to zero. As the meter will often 0.02 or so down the road when straight. A final curiosity: the "Sport" button that adjusts the transmission and adaptive dampers on the side for the seat heaters.

Engine: gorgeous American

Look, Ma, no cover! For 2012, the SRT receives "HEMI" V8 engine a bump from 6.1 to 6.4 liters and the 5.7 's Multi-Displacement System. The former change allows a 45 hp bump to 470 at 6,000 rpm. Torque is up to 50 pound-feet, to 470 at 4,300 rpm. The 6.4 is vocal when prodded, but not too loud, and their sounds are music to any enthusiast ears. Despite a relatively high state of tune and pushrod valve actuation, there is no lumpy idle or mechanical beating at high speeds. The regular 300C mill is hardly torque-deficient, with 394 pound-feet at 4,200 rpm. Nevertheless, the SRT8, the additional rotation is readily apparent. In fact, the Goodyear Eagle RS-A 2s were tested on the car not even remotely capable of dealing with everything. Mash green pedal at any speed up to 35 and the rear end not only breaks loose, but kicks right. On dry pavement. Grippy summer tires are a $ 150 option. (These were originally installed on the vehicle being tested, but they were removed for the winter.)

Transmission: to American, even if it's German

Although Detroit longstanding relationship deficiency seems to be nearing its end, this end has not come fast enough for the 2012 300C SRT8. The five-speed automatic supplied by former "partner" Daimler is not only short on ratios, but slow to respond and often bumpy when it finally Sun Hopefully the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission paired with the V6 line migrated soon.

Fuel consumption: to American

The original SRT8 engine caused a $ 2,000 gas guzzler tax. One reason (Unless you got the Dodge Magnum wagon, which classified as trucks.): The 6.1 was missing the 5.7 's cylinder deactivation system, causing the engine to run on only four cylinders during the journey. I suggested that they add it.

With the 6.4, they have. The results are … mixed. The city EPA ratings are from 13/19 to Highway 14/23. The gas guzzler tax is halved. In S-Drive with a light to moderate foot-board computer reported 14 to 16 miles per gallon. A heavy foot slightly sends the numbers in the single digits.

So what, does not surrender to this improvement (apart from its modest size)? Combine the SRT8. "Eco" more vocal character with cylinder deactivation and you get a slightly unpleasant rumble in Active Noise Cancellation would help.

Handling: too American?

The 300C SRT8, better with the benefit of slightly firmer suspension and adaptive dampers, handles than the Charger R / T. But it's not a budget alternative to the $ 67,000 + Cadillac CTS-V. Chrysler feels much larger part because it larger (198.6 vs. 191.6 x 75.0 x 72.5 cm, 4365 vs. 4255 pounds) is. But beyond this, the Chrysler feel the steering is not as sharp as nuanced or direct, and his body movements are not as tightly controlled or accurate. Pitch the big car in a curve, and there is a touch of slop before the chassis takes a set (also in the "sport"). Once there, the car assumes stable and predictable. In a much fairer comparison, the. SRT8 rides and handles with much more composure than the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec, the only other largish sedan with 400 + hp at a similar price

While the suspension can be nervous about the little things, it will absorb larger bumps well and far from hard. Noise levels are relatively low, with the whole atmosphere just before that a really high-quality car. The 300C SRT8 do not feel like taking the long way home, but it's not your every mile commute to feel like a punishment, either. You'll feel like a badass while driving the car, without suffering.

Pricing: appropriate American

Our test car had the $ 53,435 SafetyTec package and the 900-watt audio system, each of which bumps the price to $ 1,995, not the $ 1,495 panorama sunroof (which would have helped shed light on the dark interior). A Cadillac CTS-V equipped like a unoptioned 300C SRT8 is about $ 18,000 more-so to the injustice of my comparisons. And the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec? It has standard equipment compared with the test cars and a sunroof. Add the 19-inch tires with the Hyundai, and lists for $ 48,750, with no gas guzzler tax. For example, $ 6,200 less than the Chrysler then before hiring for the remaining feature differences and about $ 4,100 less (based on True Delta car price comparison tool). Compared to other 400-plus-horsepower car, but the Chrysler cost far less. An M56 is about $ 15,000 more. Something European? If you need to ask …

Total: honest American

A sign of the times: Most American car you can buy in a Canadian business with a Mexican motor and a German transmission system operators gathered by an Italian company controlled. So what makes it American? The configuration, the look, the feel. A tall, strong, bold (but tasteful) style semi-premium car at a relatively low price? You can not get much more American. The Hyundai Genesis R-Spec has similar specifications and a similar price, but it has no identity, neither an inheritance, or anything that makes them special. Granted, the 300C SRT8 looks more special than it feels. During normal driving, the powertrain and chassis offer their few clues to the car's performance potential. But that's a weakness? For me personally, yes. But today's upscale sedans offer driver's assistance to the driver isolation. They are all more and more American, because that's what many people around the world, not only want to most Americans. At least the Chrysler comes honestly by this character.

Chrysler provided the car with insurance and a tank of gas.

Michael Karesh operates, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.