What happens when you mix a dash of Detroit swagger with a level of luxury, power and styling designed to do battle with the Europeans? The Chrysler 300 SRT, that’s what. Granted, Chrysler is arguably, Europe adjacent since the Italians took over, at least spiritually— one can almost smell the espresso from the driver’s seat. Equally at home in the driveway of a hip-hop superstar and a board room baller, the redesigned 300 is even more drool worthy in it’s SRT edition.
At the heart of this well mannered beast is a 6.4-litre HEMI V8 that produces that produces 470hp and 637Nm of torque here. The engine’s high torque output allows for drag strip starts and copious straight-line power, while performance-tuned motor mounts improve idle stability and ride control across the board. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides both maximum low-end torque and optimised high-end power. The 300 SRT also includes an active valve exhaust system that allows for standard Fuel Saver Technology (four-cylinder mode) to engage over a wider rpm range, meaning extra urban consumption is improved to 8.6L/100km.
This is the first time this car has seen the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, and it’s an excellent addition. The design of the transmission further contributes to efficiency - at 88kg, it weighs just 1.8kg more than the previous five-speed gearbox. The top end gear ratios are paired closely for for smoother shifting, continuous torque, and efficient cruising at highway speed. With this new tranny, the car gets a new toy— a new launch control system that allows the driver to personalise performance options including the desired launch rpm, as well as track-ready timing functions including a 400-metre sprint log, kinda like Pole Position back in the arcade days, albeit real.
Flick on Sport mode and drop the hammer and the car takes on a performance-first mandate by activating sport-tuned steering calibration and paddle-shift mode, in addition to sport engine and transmission calibration, and increased responsiveness of the accelerator pedal calibration. Engaging Sport - by switching the rotary shifter to ‘S’ - provides lightning-quick gear changes, reducing shift times by 37% (250 milliseconds versus 400 milliseconds) holding each gear longer for max. torque and acceleration in the wavvy bits.
The standard adaptive damping suspension (ADS) system is linked to the vehicle’s drive modes and offers three fully customisable settings - Default, Sport and Track. Switching modes allows the 300 SRT to offer a compliant and comfortable ride on the street, yet can easily be switched to handle on-track conditions. Default mode (which could use a better name) you get a good, all around daily driver starting point. The car isn’t enraged at all times, but you can get there in a hurry with a hot foot. In “Sport” mode, the car stiffens up a tad and then “Track” mode, gives you the highest damping rates combined with a performance shifting and gear holding features that let you wring the most out of the V8.
Add to that, the car is the most stable, composed 300 SRT to date, thanks in part to the all-new EPS system, which transmits precise road feel and improves on-centre tracking, steering noise and fuel consumption. The EPS system applies variable steering effort to different driving conditions. EPS analyses steering angle, vehicle speed, engine rpm and chassis control systems 13 times per second for a precise performance-handling feel. For track or performance driving, the EPS changes when Sport or Track mode is activated to give the steering character greater feel and feedback.
Inside, it’s all leather and lace with an SRT-exclusive, flat-bottomed steering wheel features the SRT logo and is flanked by die cast paddle shifters. The car comes standard with ventilated front seats that will be welcome in the GCC Summers. There are stitched SRT logos all about and the modified door trim panels feature unique bolster material and accent stitching on armrests to match the seats. Taking the place of a traditional instrument cluster is the 300 SRT’s fully customisable 7-inch (177.8 mm) instrument cluster display, offering performance readouts as well as speed, fuel economy and navigation information. SRT models include real carbon fibre interior trim pieces integrated into the instrument panel, door spears and shifter bezel and racing style brake and accelerator pedals. The UConnect 8.4-inch (213.36 mm) colour touchscreen display with navigation offers SRT Performance pages that delivers performance data such as steering angle, power and torque outputs along with engine gauges.
The 300 SRT is one of those cars that is designed for the buyer who wants it all. Luxury? Check. Power and handling? Check. The poise of a saloon and the ability to hold several full grown passengers? Yeah, it does that too. This car, like any that aspires to greatness, is a particular flavor of cool. It might or might not appeal to everybody, but it’s going to make quite a few drivers very happy.
ًWords: Adel Habib | Photos: Charles Verghese