Chrysler: 2016 300 SRT sedan review

Chrysler: 2016 300 SRT sedan review

There is a wonderful expression amongst petrol-heads: “there ain’t no substitute for cubic inches,” and it is one colloquial phrase which is wholly appropriate to the latest 300 SRT sedan.

For the 2015/2016 model year the local Fiat Chrysler Automobiles distributor has rationalised the current 300 sedan range to two models, the 3.6-litre V6 300 S and the 6.4-litre Hemi V8 300 SRT.

The exterior design of the 300 with its high belt line and shorter glass house still divides opinion, but the new face of the SRT with its black gloss grille, new LED daytime running lights, integrated boot spoiler, and the four rounded exhaust tips, have added some additional subtlety to the ‘gangster’ car as some refer to it.

2015 300 SRT grilleAnd for some bizarre reason, some people still ask if its a Bentley? Must be the huge grid style radiator grille.

SRT is an acronym for street and racing technology, and is applied to the highly specified and high performance Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models.

The benefits of this to the current 300 SRT not only include the 350kW/637Nm Hemi V8 2015 300 SRT hemi engineengine, it also includes the new 8-speed torqueflite automatic transmission, and three-mode adaptive damping suspension, 20-inch chromed alloy wheels fitted with low profile tyres, and a launch control system, as well as a lap timer for those people who like to take their pride and joy to a local circuit.

Drivers can customise the damping, steering, transmission, paddle shifters, and traction control of the 300 SRT to their liking through the 2015 300 SRT dashboardcentral 8.4 inch UConnect touch screen. There are four settings, being default, custom, sport, and track, and all can be set up to suit the individual.

The difference in ride comfort and transmission and steering response between track, sport, and street is quite pronounced, describing the three as sharp, sharper, and sharpest is closer to the mark.

2015 300 SRT boot lidEven on the softer and more comfortable settings the SRT is still responsive to the throttle and steering, and its surprisingly agile for such a large and spacious five-seat sedan with a decent sized boot.

But least you think the 300 SRT is an uncouth and noisy beast (which in track mode and when using launch control it most certainly is) it is also one that is luxuriously appointed, and one that is also has every conceivable active and passive safety feature available on the market.

2015 300 SRT alloy wheelActive cruise control, forward collision alert, blind spot information, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, and rear cross traffic alert are all part of the 300 SRT’s safety arsenal, and all are welcomed when piloting such a big car in the city and on a busy and crowded motorway.

I did find that unlike the Mercedes-Benz lane keeping assist system that can see the steering wheel suddenly wrench itself in your hands, the Chrysler system is a great deal more subtle but if you take your hands off the wheel entirely, it will bleep at you and tell you off for doing so.

Unlike its nearest antipodean competitors the Ford Falcon XR8 or the Holden Commodore SSV Redline, the 300 SRT doesn’t offer full leather upholstery but instead the seats are covered in a mix of leather and high quality velour, and both the ventilated front and rear pews offer both heating and cooling functions.

Complementing the sporting themed seats is a dashboard with real carbon fibre inserts and a flat bottomed steering wheel which seems the be the current fashion amongst automotive designers.

Did I mention the twin cup holders in the centre console also have a heating and cooling function? So you can keep your coffee warm in one, and your water bottle cool in the other one.

If the sound of that rumbling V8 exhaust wears a bit thin ( it is loudest in track mode) then there is a 19-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system fitted, with a 900 watt amplifier to elevate any rock and roll song to a whole new level.

It seemed appropriate to crank up a track from The Rolling Stones very loudly as I cruised through the city during the daily commute to the office.

Our test vehicle started life at a retail price of $98,990 to which the local distributor had added two options being the Leather Interior Group ($3600) and the Black Vapour Chrome Group ($3600).

The leather interior provides American Nappa leather on the door cards and dashboard, as fellas plush foot mats front and rear and the very comfortable alcantara/suede combination on the seats.

As well as the black detailing on the grille and around the headlamps and tail lamps, the Black Vapour Chrome Group bestows upon the SRT those amazing looking 20 inch forged aluminium hyper black chromed wheels, which you do not want to scuff on a kerbstone because repair is nigh on impossible according to the distributor.

While a price tag in excess of $100,000 might at first seem excessive for a Chrysler vehicle, to achieve the same level of performance, luxury, safety, and driver assistance systems in a similar sized and specified European vehicle would require at least double the investment of funds.

Certainly with the demise of Ford Performance Vehicles, only Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) offer a directly competitive vehicle to the 300 SRT but I think like to think its a cut price competitor to the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG range and the BMW M5 sedan.

Price as tested: $106,190

Pros: Huge performance, fabulous noise, great specification, great enjoyment

Cons: Massive thirst, and massive depreciation

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