Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First Drive: Chrysler 300 SRT-8

The Chrysler 300 has been around since 2005, serving as Chrysler's full-size luxury sedan. So far, there have been two generations of the 300. Chrysler has its own in house tuning company Street and Racing Technology, or SRT for short. SRT took a Chrysler 300 C and turned into the Chrysler 300C SRT-8, replacing the 5.7L Hemi V8 engine found in the standard 300C with a 6.1L Hemi V8 that produces 425 hp. With Chrysler releasing the second generation 300 in 2011, SRT got its hands on the car. At the 2011 New York International Auto Show, Chrysler revealed the next generation Chrysler 300 SRT-8. At the 2013 Houston Auto Show, I was able to take one out for a test drive. Unlike my test drive with the Dodge Charger SRT-8 Super Bee, I did not have a slow moving car preventing me from unleashing the fury of a SRT vehicle.

On the outside, the 300 SRT-8 looks like a standard Chrysler 300, but there are few minor changes. The chrome trim has been replaced with body color trim, a lower front fascia, larger exhaust tip, and 20" aluminum wheels. The 300 SRT-8 also sits a half-inch lower to the ground than the standard 300, plus the 300 SRT-8 also has a sportier suspension and a Brembo brakes package. The interior is very similar to other Chrysler 300 that I drove. The major difference is that the seat in the SRT-8 is stiffer than the seat in the 300S. I still had good head room and leg room behind the wheel of the 300 SRT-8.

The 300 SRT-8 is powered by a 6.4L Hemi V8, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, that produces 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 175 mph. On the test drive with the 300 SRT-8, I had no cars in front of me, so I was able to unleash the fury of the engine. The 300 SRT-8 is quick. Compared to the 300S, the 300 SRT-8 has a stiffer, sportier ride. It was stiff, but not too stiff for my comfort level. The 300 SRT-8 did not try to kill my back, unlike some other vehicles I have driven. For a car with a big engine, it was quiet inside the 300 SRT-8. This car has good muscle car performance. The Chrysler 300 SRT-8 goes for $47,995, which is over $1,000 more than the Dodge Charger SRT-8. Still, that is not bad for a full-size luxury four-door muscle car.

The Chrysler 300 SRT-8 has been featured in Breaking Bad. The Chrysler 300 SRT-8 is playable in Forza Motorsport 4, Car Town, and Car Town EX.

Overall, the Chrysler 300 SRT-8 is a fun car to drive. It is a quick full-size four door door sedan. It has a few minor differences on the exterior compared to the other versions of the Chrysler 300. It still feels luxurious on the inside, even with the stiffer ride. When I was in the Dodge Charger SRT-8 Super Bee, I was not able to test out the acceleration of the car since I had a slow moving car in front of me. It was a different story with the Chrysler 300 SRT-8. I had nothing in front of me when I was on the roads in the 300 SRT-8 and I could just nail it. I could feel my heart beat fast when I was in this car. The 300 SRT-8 has a sporty ride, but I was still comfortable behind the wheel. If you want a muscle car with four doors, then check out the Chrysler 300 SRT-8. If you want a slightly softer ride from SRT, then go with the 300 SRT-8 over the Charger SRT-8. But if you want a slightly sportier ride, then go with the Charger SRT-8. Both are very good four-door muscle cars. But if you want an American full-size sedan with a softer ride, then go with the Charger or 300 that was not tuned by SRT, or go with the Cadillac XTS. SRT cars are for people who want to go quick.

Photo was taken by a digital camera.
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