Chrysler 300 SRT8: Our Shed

By: Nathan Ponchard

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Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8
Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8
Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8
Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8
Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Chrysler 300 SRT8

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Chrysler 300 SRT8: Our Shed
Our shed: Chrysler 300 SRT8

 

Chrysler 300 SRT8

The newest addition to the Unique Cars shed is exactly that - new! - though after clocking 5600km in just five weeks in our sinister metallic-black Chrysler 300 SRT8, the term 'new' probably no longer applies.

That said, 95 percent of those kays have been on the highway, and it's hard to think of a more appropriate vehicle for the job. With the new-generation SRT8's adaptive dampers in standard mode (there's a highly effective 'Sport' alternative for really twisty roads or racetracks), the 300 SRT8 is as calming as a rub down at a day spa.

Not only is the thing bloody quiet - especially on smooth city motorways - but the body control over lumps and bumps is impressive, and the heated and cooled front seats (no joke!) are superb over long distances. Smashing out Lismore to Gosford one day, then Gossie to Melbourne the next could've been a hideous chore, but the SRT8 made it relatively painless. That's nearly 2000km in two days. And yet the big bitch managed to drink as little as 9.2L/100km (or 30.6mpg) when it wasn't crawling in Chrissy holiday gridlock, thanks to a cylinder-deactivation mode that cuts four cylinders off in light-throttle cruising. You can hear and feel the slight imbalance when it does so but I'm actually growing to like it!

The Chrysler will remain in the stable for a couple of months, but we'll seriously need it that long to get our heads around the amount of gear this car has. For the $66K ask, the SRT8's level of standard equipment is staggering.

How's this for a list - heated steering wheel, heated rear seat, full-length glass sunroof, active cruise control that allows you to disable the 'active' part, lane-departure warning, collision alert, proximity sensors (which are a little too keen to go nuts on a car as big as this), 20-inch wheels (in charcoal thanks to the optional Black Chrome pack that also smokes the grille surround), superb Brembo brakes, and a mega Harmon Kardon stereo with 18 speakers, a 10-inch subwoofer, a 900-watt amplifier and one of the most intuitive touchscreens around (an 8.4-inch colour one, see left) to control the lot.

On the slog up NSW's horrendous Pacific Highway, the whisper of chilled air from the seats, the beautifully crisp audio and the monster overtaking punch from the 347kW 6.4-litre V8 all tried their hardest to cancel out the pain of sitting in a dead-stopped traffic jam that stretched up to 20km outside some towns. It was like being in the 1970s again.

On the way home, though, I pointed the 300 inland and headed from Lismore down through Casino and along the challenging Armidale Rd to, er, Armidale. After that, Walcha and the glorious Thunderbolts Way was next and, believe it or not, the SRT8 proved it's actually very wieldy for such a large, intimidating car.

Sport mode introduces some impact harshness over really big potholes, but otherwise, it was hard to fault. And the SRT8 feels much smaller than it is, which, when you're talking cars, is a huge compliment.

 

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