Nutshell version: If you want a car that stands out from the sea of Mercedes and BMW's but still looks in that vein, or if you just want a luxury musclecar that is well engineered at a great value, th...
Nutshell version: If you want a car that stands out from the sea of Mercedes and BMW's but still looks in that vein, or if you just want a luxury musclecar that is well engineered at a great value, the Chrysler 300C SRT8 is our car!
The 300C was announced in 2004 with much fanfare and applause. The car debuted in 2005 with the most awards of any new car. With a German engineered chassis, original styling and a good old fashioned American V8, it was everything I wanted in a family sedan. That is, until the 300C SRT8 came out shortly later.
With a stiffer suspension, Brembo brakes, and a bigger 6.1 L V8 hot-rodded to 425 Hp, the SRT8 version promised to be a 4 door sports car. It has delivered and then some. It's not the fastest, or the most luxurious car you can buy, but it was the quickest, fastest luxury sedan you could buy for under $50,000. It wasn't considered cheap unless you saw what you had to pay for a similar features and performance in another car - the SRT was an easy $10,000 less expensive.
The seats are all-day comfortable, the steering is tight and responsive (if not very communicative), the brakes have incredible stopping ability, the exterior appearance is sharp and understated while still hinting at the potential lurking within. The interior is pleasant and has plenty of features, although if you compare to a more expensive European rival, it will seem a little sparse and maybe a bit cheaper in appearance due to the gratuitous use of plastic. However, without the direct comparison, the cabin is a nice place to spend time. The stereo sounds great, and remains distortion free regardless of the volume.
The only real downside is fuel economy. Anyone who requires great fuel economy should look elsewhere... frugality is not this car's purpose. The car's computer has shown as high as 22.4 mpg on the highway, while driving at typical freeway speeds with little throttle application. The observed low was 12.1 mpg - done in town on short trips while keeping my foot in the throttle as long as conditions allowed. If you can live with those numbers... an SRT8 might be for you.
What I love most about the 300C SRT8 is that I really have two cars - a buttoned-up luxury sedan that turns into a sports car when you ask it to. The 6.1 Liter V8 produces 425 Hp and 420 lb/ft of torque - it's easy to forget how heavy this car is when on the gas! Luckily the Brembo brake calipers grab 14.7 inch rotors to slow the beast down with a tremendous force. 0-60 ranges from 4.5 seconds to 5.1 seconds depending on circumstances, and 60-0 can be done in as little as 110 feet - this from a 4200+ lb car! Highway cruising is less than effortless, it's very easy to cruise up over 100mph if your steering wheel is adjusted to block the top of your speedometer. I learned the hard way, but fortunately no law officers witness this flagrant violation. Deceptive speed, thy name is SRT8!
Performance figures put it on par with the last-gen C5 Corvette, and equal to or ahead of it's 2012 rivals. The new Infiniti M56 is -on paper at least- a match for the 1st Gen SRT8, but at over twice the price. If you feel like swinging that level of payment, the 2012 300C SRT8 has been refined with a better interior, more power and better efficiency - some report over 27 mpg highway!
The 300C SRT8 was redesigned for 2012, featuring redesigned exterior and interior styling, improved fuel efficiency and power, and an increased price topping over $50,000
The 1st generation was produced in limited numbers from 2005-2010, with a base price starting at just over $48,000. 2005 cars seem to be ma bit more expensive due the extra low production volume of this year, with 2006 models being slightly more affordable in spite of added features such as Bluetooth phone connection and the rear DVD player. 1st generation colors were initially Silver, gray and black, with Red being added in 2007. A green was extremely rare in 2008.
I found my 2006 SRT8 at a dealer through Car.com. They wanted about $3000 too much for the car, and after several offers and counter offers, I had to walk away. A month later I saw it was still available, and for $1000 less than my best offer. I went back and made the deal. It was worth the wait, and worth every penny and more.