Chrysler 300C SRT 8
The folks from Chrysler seem to have made a concerted effort to produce a saloon to compete, in terms of both mechanics and aesthetics, with their more fancied local rivals. But, as all motoring journalists will attest to, there is a lot of tarmac separating tried and succeeded.
At first glance, no drastic changes in terms of the exterior have been made, but rather some well-positioned enhancements. Of these, the most notable is the new, somewhat more aggressive, grill. Also, a more eloquent boot design, coupled with modified rear lights, gives the new 300C a far more balanced look. It must also be noted that the 300C is designed predominantly for the American market, which is why it’s such an oversized vehicle. While this might tickle the fancy of some South African motorists, I still find it less attractive than most of its competitors.
Getting into the new 300C, I immediately noticed the quality of the improvements in its interior. The biggest negative factor of the previous model was its less-than-standard interior, which the design team also seemed to have noticed.
* Prices as at date of publishing
Not only does the new model look aesthetically pleasing, it feels great too – everywhere from the steering wheel to the dashboard, to the centre console and seats, to the door panels. The use of better-quality materials overall has greatly increased the value that potential customers will gain from purchasing the new 300C.
Ignite the engine and the main attraction comes to life, waking up the golf course and surrounds. The beautiful roar from the 300C’s legendary 6.4-litre HEMI® V8 comes standard with a big scoop of excitement and an added touch of adrenaline, all at no additional cost. Pulling out of the Pezula resort, I couldn’t wait to unleash this beast upon the tranquil Knysna roads. As I put my foot down, I realised why the team at Chrysler went with the tried and trusted five-speed automatic transmission of the previous model. According to them, the newly developed eight-speed Cygnus gearbox, though superefficient when coupled with the lower-range 3.6-litre Pentastar® V6 engine, is just not strong enough to cope with the 347kW and 631Nm of torque generated by the HEMI®. This power gives you a 0km/h to 100km/h time of around 5 seconds, and a top speed of 280km/h.
The car offers exhilarating stuff down a straight line, but, unfortunately, this is not backed up by its suspension systems when it comes to tight cornering. Even though
the engineers at Chrysler have developed premium hydrobrushings, among a multitude of other improvements, it does little to prevent the massive body of the 300C
from understeering when throwing it into corners.
In terms of functionality, the 300C range does offer a bootful. The 3.0-litre V6 Turbo Diesel model sports a relatively low fuel consumption, coming in at .2-litres/100km
(191g of CO₂ emissions). The SRT8, being the heaviest, uses 13-litres/100km (303g of CO₂ emissions). The overall size of the car also translates into a lot of space for all the occupants. While sitting in the back seat, I never felt cramped or claustrophobic, and the dimensions allow for a sizeable boot as well.
In conclusion, the major positive factor of the Chrysler 300C range would definitely have to be its pricing. It is hard to believe that, for R629 990, you get a fully loaded, full-blooded V8 that ‘goes like stink’ on a straight line, and that, for R479 990, you get a fuel-efficient cruiser that is a very nice place to be.
With the improvements in the quality and ergonomics of the interior, a lot more value is created for buyers, as not many of them would be the types to take a 300C out on to the racetrack and require sports-like handling. Another factor to consider is that 90% of all the extras are not extras at all, and come standard with all models, such as the front and rear park assist system or the excellent UCONNECT TOUCH™ media and navigation system, to name just a few. So, if American styling ‘floats
your boat’, and you are not interested in extreme driving through corners, then the value delivered by the new Chrysler 300C cannot be dismissed.