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2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8 Review & Test Drive

posted by Harvey Schwartz  
Filed under Automotive, Chrysler, Featured, Test Drives

Like a heavyweight boxer wearing a tuxedo, the new 2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8 is an elegant brute.  The interior is elegant, the exterior styling is bold and under the skin is a knockout punch courtesy of Chrysler’s SRT ‘Street and Racing Technology’ division. First introduced in the 2006 model year, the 300C SRT8 is still the fastest and most powerful full-size sedan from the Big Three.

With benchmark performance, premium amenities and race-inspired styling-all at an attractive starting price of just $44,865.00-make the 2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8 unique in the marketplace.  My loaded test 300C SRT8 came in at just $49,125.00 including a gas-guzzler tax of $1,700.00 and $750.00 destination charge.

The exterior styling combines sophisticated, premium elegance with functional performance enhancements.  Up front is the new black anodized mesh grille, and a set of quad lamps with HID headlights increase your nighttime view of the road.  The lower bumper features an airdam to increase front downforce, powerful round foglamps at the sides, and brake cooling air ducting that increases cooling for the big brakes.

The side view is highlighted with steeply racked ‘A’ pillars, a flat roof, sloping rear glass that matches the rake of the ‘A’ pillars, pulled-up windows wrapped with a full-perimeter chrome strip, flared fenders, chrome pull-out door handles, body-colored, aerodynamic styled side mirrors, chrome strip running the length of the doors, and deep side extensions as part of the full-perimeter aero-bodykit that gives the 300C SRT8 a lower center of gravity.

The rear features a chrome Chrysler crest and wing running across the rear trunk lid, big and bright lamp clusters, a specially designed rear-lid spoiler to increase downforce, SRT8 badge, and two, 2.75in. polished stainless steel exhaust outlets.

Inside is all elegance with several sporty cues.  The 10-way powered/heated front leather bucket seats are very comfortable and deeply cut for extra lateral support and feature perforated suede inserts to further keep you in place during spirited driving times.  The four-spoke, technical leather-wrapped, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel feels great in your hands and features controls for the audio system, trip computer, electronic vehicle information center (EVIC) with Performance Pages that gives you feedback on your 0-60mph time, ¼ mile time, lateral acceleration, and 60-0mph braking distance.

You also get power pedals to give you the perfect position to more effectively handle the fun and easy-to-drive Chrysler 300C SRT8 sedan.  The elegant, chrome-ringed, white faced with black numerals, instrument cluster features an SRT signature 180mph speedometer, 7,000rpm tachometer and smaller fuel and engine coolant temperature gauges to easily keep you abreast of your vitals.

The center stack is finished in brushed aluminum trim and features two air-ducts with chrome insets, easy-to-use, chrome-ringed dials for the dual-zone climate system, audio system, and finished with Chrysler’s signature round quartz clock.  The electronic stability control (ESC) button is also easy to reach on the center stack when you want to let the rear wheels slide out during exciting driving times when cornering steep curving roads.  Thick elegant chrome rings can also be found on the door pulls and steering wheel.  Just above the glove box is a technical carbon fiber strip and the same technical carbon fiber trim is located around the center console with chrome ringed shift gate that also features a leather-wrapped stick shift.  The center console also features a padded leather armrest with dual-tiered storage bin.

Each door features a chrome strip on the same line as the chrome door handle for another elegant touch.  The dual cupholders now feature LED lighting as well in the front and rear door map pockets.  The two leather-trimmed rear seats feature perforated suede leather inserts, grab handles, reading lamps, clothing hooks, a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders and air-ducts at the end of the center console to bring cool or heated air more effectively into the rear.

A one-touch open/close electric sunroof is now standard as is the U-Connect hands free Bluetooth communication system and U-Connect tunes for your audio enjoyment.  You also get a two-driver memory system that recalls the radio stations, seat position, pedal position, steering wheel rake and power-remote/heated/self-dimming sideview mirrors.

More standard features inside, not mentioned above, include-remote start, keyless go start/stop button which also features the ability of opening a locked door by simply pulling out the door handle with the keyfob in your pocket or purse, remote trunk opener, cabin air filtering system, SIRIUS satellite radio, Media 430 CD/DVD/MP3 radio, power accessory delay, outside temperature display/compass, rear window defogger, keyless entry, power windows with one-touch front express up/down, automatic door locks, auto-dimming reaview mirror, dual map lamps, cruise-control, rain-sensing wipers, washers, storage slots in each door, and premium front/rear floor mats.  My test 300C SRT8 came with these options-inferno red crystal pearl coast paint, SIRIUS radio with traffic alert, GPS navigation, U-Connect phone with voice command, iPod control, 13-Kicker SRT high-performance speakers, 100-watt Kicker SRT subwoofer, 322-watt Kicker SRT amplifier, surround sound audio system, media center CD/DVD/HDD/NAV/AM-FM radio, rear parking sensors, and Goodyear F1 Supercar tires.

The brute of the 2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8 is found under the skin of the exterior styling.

The heavyweight punch is furnished by the Street and Racing Technology-engineered 425hp, 420lb.ft. of torque, 6.1 liter HEMI V8 engine that gives the 300C SRT8 its  world-class power. All of this power and torque is transferred to the rear wheels through a SRT tuned five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick that can keep your selected gear in place all the way up to the 7,000rpm redline.  A SRT-tuned limited slip differential keeps the power and torque solidly planted on the pavement for enhanced launch and traction.  SRT performance figures include-0-60mph in the low five-second range, 0-100-0mph in less than 17-seconds, and 0.89g on the skid pad.

Chassis setup for the 300C SRT8 is aimed at all-around driving pleasure and performance, including SRT-tuned Bilstein monotube, gas-charged shocks, specially tailored coil spring rates, and suspension bushings and large-diameter anti-sway bars.  Front and rear suspension knuckles contribute to a ride height that’s lowered .5-inch from the Chrysler 300C.  The electronic Stability Control (ESC) has been SRT-tuned, resulting in the system sensing lateral acceleration that effectively primes the system in anticipation of the next brake application.  You can, of course, shut the system down at the right time and place. The hydraulic power-assisted rack & pinion steering system comes with a performance-gear that gives you incredible feedback from your inputs, and even more feel for the road, but is less tight when navigating parking lots at slow speeds for backup maneuvers when parking.

Benchmark braking performance results from a four-wheel disc brake system featuring performance calipers developed by Brembo, each equipped with four pistons for even clamping.  Up front are vented and slotted 14.2-inch rotors and 13.8in. vented and slotted rotors in the rear.  The result is 60-0mph braking performance of approximately 110-feet. The SRT-exclusive braking system includes ABS, and Brake Assist to enhance your control on slick or wet pavement, plus brake-knockback mitigation software for even better track response.

The 300C SRT8 rides on large, 20X9in. Alcoa forged/polished, aluminum alloy wheels that have SRT and Alcoa forged, laser-cut on each wheel that is wrapped with 245/45ZR20in. Goodyear F1 Supercar tires for incredible grip and traction.

The Chrysler 300C SRT8 has it all-outside, inside and under the skin.  This car is easy to drive and maneuver around slow city traffic, is a whole lot of fun to drive at high speed on the open road, and when cornering at speeds.

It still stands alone at the top of all full-size American sedans.  Will any of the other two American manufactures come close in matching the Chrysler 300C SRT8’s interior excellence and world-class performance figures?  If you are not sure but want one of these limited-edition sedans now, you have to get down to your nearest Chrysler dealer and order one before they are all spoken for.

COPYRIGHT:2010:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: Base 300C SRT8 $44,865 As-Tested $49,125
Type: Large Sedan
Where Built: Canada
EPA Class: Large Cars

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 196.8 in.
Width: 74.1 in.
Height: 57.9 in.
Wheel Base: 120 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.6 in.
Curb Weight: 4178 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5300 lbs.

Interior
Front Head Room: 38.7 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.9 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 59.4 in.
Rear Head Room: 38 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 57.7 in.
Rear Hip Room: 55.9 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.8 in.
Rear Leg Room: 40.2 in.
Luggage Capacity: 15.6 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Number of Cylinders: 8
Engine Size: 6.1 liters
Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 425 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm
Torque: 420 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4800 rpm
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 38.9 ft.
0-60mph: 5.3 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 19 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 13 mpg / 19 mpg / 15 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 247 mi. / 361 mi. / 285 mi.

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