Whatever preconceived notions you have about Chrysler or the current state of the American car, abandon them. Even if they’re good thoughts, everything changes when you lay your eyes on the 300 SRT8.
Driving around Los Angeles, a city ruled by foreign sports cars, the SRT got more compliments than you would imagine. Everyone from valet guys in Hollywood to random girls at Venice Beach had something positive to say. A UPS worker even hopped out of his truck mid-shift to size the ride up. You can’t blame them; the design commands attention. Dual exhaust tips and the fact that the SRT sits a half-inch lower than the standard 300 are an attractive bonus and keep the “racing” theme consistent. Stock chrome 20-inch rims don’t hurt the exterior appeal, either.
A UPS worker even hopped out of his truck mid-shift to size the ride up.
That same level of craftsmanship carries over to the interior where you’ll find Poltrona Frau “Foligno” leather, available in a beautifully understated two-two black, or as our test vehicle had, an eye-popping Radar Red with suede accents and silver stitching. Real carbon fiber trim and racing style perforated gas and brake pedals take the high-performance look to the next level.
The SRT’s interior doesn’t just look and feel good. It’s also fully equipped with a lengthy list of world-class accommodations that turn the car into a luxury experience before you even start up the (keyless entry) engine. Upon first taking a seat, you’ll probably need to take a moment to get acquainted with the sheer amount of amenities in front of you. Cup holders, seats, and even the steering wheel all have heated options, and the former two have vents if you’d prefer a cool-down.
Beyond that, there’s a 19-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system that pumps out 900 watts of audio power with minimal energy consumption thanks to the SRT’s innovative GreenEdge technology. Of course, thorough GPS and multimedia options come standard in most 2012 vehicles, but Chrysler wisely streamlines the process with Uconnect Touch and Voice Command options, all held together by the beautiful 8.4-inch color screen at the hub of the SRT’s interactivity.
Now, it takes no time to know that the car looks beautiful and houses some impressive technology, but how does the thing drive? You’ll be pleased to know that the SRT more than lives up to expectations in that department, as well. There’s a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 under the hood, resulting in 470 horsepower that you can feel as soon as you press the gas. The SRT blasts off with authority, going from 0 to 60 in just over four seconds, and all of this without draining your tank thanks to new Fuel Saver Technology that increases efficiency by 21 percent on the highway. To boot, “manual” paddle shifters and an adaptive damping suspension system give the driver more control than expected from an automatic transmission vehicle.
Chrysler calls the 300 SRT8 its “most powerful and best handling model ever,” and after spending a week driving it everywhere from crowded city streets to the coast of California, we can confirm that the claims are reality and not just press release jargon. The car drives like a dream and looks like one, too, inside and out. If that’s what you want out of a ride, look no further.