(first posted 9/5/2016) The V8 engine isn’t dead yet but the pool of offerings is evaporating. Ford, for example, is embracing the turbocharged V6 and even employing such engines in their latest Raptor and GT. The Aussie Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore and their popular V8 options are being read their last rites. But while automakers are reducing the number of V8 offerings, consumers seem more than happy to buy whatever is left. Case in point: the 2015 Chrysler 300C SRT. While it has been discontinued from North American showrooms, it lives on in Australia and the Middle East. Mark my words: this will be a genuine classic one day.
It’s a visceral thing, really. A turbocharged V6 can be absolutely thrilling and match a V8 in horsepower and torque while often bettering it in fuel economy, but nothing can replace that sonorous, throbbing, burbling, just-damned-wonderful growl of a V8. The SRT’s 6.4 (392 cu. in.) V8 pumps out a blistering 470 hp and 470 ft-lbs of torque. The venerable LX chassis remains a competitive rear-wheel-drive platform, if a touch on the heavy side. All of this is wrapped up in a bold, unabashedly American design. The only 8 that has disappeared here is in the name: the Chrysler brand’s performance flagship is now known simply as “SRT”.
Much like a great number of enthusiasts today idolize cars from the halcyon era of muscle cars, the 1960s, this SRT will be fondly recalled by those in a near future where electric cars and hybrids will have become increasingly common. Sure, the latest Tesla Model S P100D can get to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds in Ludicrous Mode, but enthusiasts of the near-future will likely argue that, although impressive, a Tesla lacks the kind of physical and aural drama and classic ingredients of the SRT.
Enthusiasts of tomorrow and today can thank Australia for the 300 SRT’s continued existence. See, Aussies love big, rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered, sporty sedans. That last part is where Aussie enthusiasts differ from Americans: sporty Aussie coupes like the Holden Monaro have always been the exception rather than the rule. And although the American Big 3 always allowed for V8 performance to be available cheaply in cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, the affection for sporty V8 sedans was less prevalent. If you wanted a V8 sedan in the 1980s or 1990s in North America, for the most part all the Big 3 would offer you was an ageing Panther or B-Body – no picture of athleticism – or something with (gasp!) front-wheel-drive, like a Cadillac Seville. A Mustang is iconic to Americans but here, the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore were quite literally the two best-selling vehicles in Australia for many, many years. Most of those sales were of six-cylinder models to fleets and families, but V8 sales have always represented a sizeable portion of overall volume. We like big V8 sedans and we generally prefer them to be a bit sporty.
Chrysler is repositioning its titular brand as a more mainstream marque while further establishing Dodge as their performance division. The SRT didn’t fit in anymore and so it was retired from North America. Fortunately, the mechanically identical Charger SRT lives on. The 300 SRT-8 hadn’t exactly helped clarify Chrysler’s brand strategy, with the marque’s positioning zig-zagging for the past few decades. First, it was staunchly upper middle-class – near-luxury, before that term was common parlance – before reaching down with lower-trim full-size models in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, downsized Chryslers arrived although there was some appreciable differentiation between these and lesser Plymouths and Dodges. That differentiation further eroded until eventually the PT Cruiser arrived and, although immensely popular, obliterated any remaining pretence of prestige.
2011 300 (top) and 2015 300 (bottom)
The RWD 300 of 2005 featured premium design cues but little in the way of added luxury over its Charger cousin. The 2011 redesign, with its elegant details and Luxury Series models, attempted to take the 300 (and Chrysler) upmarket but the presence of rental-spec 200 four-cylinder sedans on the showroom floor handicapped those efforts. With the 2015 facelift, Chrysler is offering ever-plusher luxury trim levels like the Platinum but for all intents and purposes, the 300 is a Chevrolet Impala rival. That being said, the top-shelf models of cars like the Impala and Ford Taurus are pretty damn plush nowadays.
In a place like Australia, Chrysler is synonymous with brash and American. Those Mopars that fit that template sell well (300, PT Cruiser) and those that don’t, don’t (Neon). Dodge sells only the Journey here so there’s no Charger to cannibalize sales; this situation resulted in Chrysler developing an $AUD 10,000 cheaper SRT-8 Core with fewer luxury features, curiously an idea that made the trip back to North America. When the Falcon and Commodore leave production shortly, perhaps Chrysler figures they can tempt those V8 buyers with an SRT. It’s a sound strategy.
The 2015 facelift was so minor you’d be forgiven for thinking little has changed. For the North American 300 models, that’s basically the case: front and rear ends are tweaked slightly and some new gadgets like adaptive cruise control are now available. For the SRT, the improvements are more significant. An eight-speed automatic replaces the old five-speed and features paddle shifters. The steering is now electrically instead of hydraulically assisted. Bilstein shock absorbers have been retuned and have three-stage adaptability in the up-spec SRT. Refinement has been improved, although the Core’s non-adjustable shocks result in a stiff ride. But although the interior is as functional as ever, with Chrysler’s excellent uConnect infotainment system, the design has changed little.
The rumor mill suggests the Charger will soon move to a new, smaller RWD platform while the 300 will become FWD, losing its V8 engines in the process – another V8 casualty. Fortunately, Chrysler has committed to V8 engine and rear-wheel-drive. American car enthusiasts ought to give Chrysler a round of applause for the 300 and its platform-mates. Even if their styling may not be to your taste, what is underneath is impressive. Taking a page from the Aussies, Chrysler developed a rear-wheel-drive, V8 sedan that was relatively affordable and has kept selling these distinctively, unashamedly American cars against all odds. From the surprisingly gutsy 3.6 V6 models right up to the SRTs, there’s a blend of competent handling, compliant ride, a spacious interior and American styling. The featured SRT was snapped at a car show. Get ready for plenty of 300s and Chargers at car shows in 20 years’ time.
Future Classic: 2015 Dodge Challenger V6 – The Rarest Challenger.
Vintage Review: 1989 Ford Taurus SHO – American Showstopper
Curbside Classic: 1994-96 Chevrolet Impala SS – Killer Whale
I am still disappointed FCA decided to kill the Lancia Thema here in Europe (albeit only ever offered with a V6 diesel)…
Most of Lancia Thema I have seen in Germany is doing the taxicab duty. I have not seen the privately owned Thema in a long time.
I still don’t understand what FCA has been doing in the last few years, especially trying to salvage Lancia division by rebadging Chrysler products as such beside the United Kingdom and a few countries who have long memories of Lancia magically rusting before their eyes.
I bet lot of Chrysler sales centres are burning white hot anger about seeing their investment gone in a smoke.
Chargers Challengers and 300s are quite popular in NZ they are everywhere often LHD imports but the RHD new cars are about, I havent noticed a PT Cruiser or Neon for a while though no doubt Ive driven past some without seeing them but the big Mopar products stand out real well a local dealer was raving on the radio about a rare green Challenger that has a very hard to get colour except Ive see two more just like his one oops shoulda dropped the price and sold that.
If Chrysler wants to go upmarket, they need to quit putting out ultra-cheapo rental fodder versions of their cars. The 300c’s and obviously the Luxury, Varvatos, and Platinum versions of the 300c make for convincing luxury/near luxury cars but jump in a stripper 200 and you are disabused of thinking Chrysler is an across the line near-luxury marque. It’s too bad because the last generation 200 was actually a nice looking car, and in c trim actually had a nice looking interior.,
A 300c makes for a nice Buick competitor, even a Lincoln or Cadillac competitor to the Mopar inclined but only in c and up trim could it be said to be upmarket.
Chrysler brand positioning was confused well before the PT Loser launched under their namesake brand instead of as a Plymouth. View a ’95 Cirrus LX with a 2.4 and wheelcovers, or a ’94 Concorde with a 3.3, wheelcovers and a cloth bench seat, or a 2002 Voyager (nee Plymouth) which had a 4 cylinder and 3 speed automatic.
The basic 200, of either generation, was par for the course after two decades of down market positioning.
While it’s obvious that the PT should have been a Plymouth, (Giving that brand a unique car,and an inexpensive one at that), The Cirrus never made any sense to me. The Breeze was on the same floor! By having a Chrysler “Breeze” they managed to “cannibalize” Plymouth and “downgrade” Chrysler at the same time. I don’t know what marketing course taught that concept!
The Cirrus predated the Breeze.
The dominance of FWD sedans with V6s masquerading around as “sport sedans” over the last few decades really goes a long way explaining why swaths of people hate cars and hate driving and why we’re all forced to dive head first towards this Orwellian plug in autonomous future to take away the burden, where now so people disenfranchised with driving want to pretend they’re being chauffeured. All because people simply fell for stat sheets and marketing and think if their V6 Camry didn’t excite them, what else possibly will? The V8 is a benchmark, like it or not there’s a reason the buzz phrase “V8 power, V6 economy” is still being used decades after V8s left most average drivers concisence. I doubt people will be saying “DC motor economy, Ecoboost power” in the dystopian future.
The 300 SRT I hadn’t realized wasn’t sold here, I just thought it had a low take rate, but as you said with the Charger it makes sense consolidating that into a performance brand image. Plus I felt the 2011 restyle of both made the Charger finally look substantial while making the 300 look anonymous, so for the first time in my life I’m not envious of Australia’s car choices. I do imagine this generation of Mopars will be sought after in the future, I find it almost hard to believe big RWD V8 cars like these are basically keeping them afloat, quite a long way from Neons and Avengers of my childhood, but sadly they’re not sustainable for the company’s future due to artificial forces.
I actually thought the 2015 restyle finally made the 300 look grown up and not a car for gangbang er wannabes. I would choose a 300C Platinum with the Hemi over anything Cadillac offers.
I confess I came very close to buying one last month but ultimately my ingrained Canadian thriftiness couldn’t justify buying a V8 so I ended up going with another stylish 4 door.
The 2015 is definitely better looking than the 2011, but it’s only a detail improvement on the the existing 2011 sheetmetal. I just never quite warmed up to that 2011 restyle, which I thought was not grown up but elderly in execution, I’m glad they ditched the horizontal bar grille for the 2015, in favor of a Jaguar like mesh unit, and the wheel designs look less rental car as well, but they still have the same soft headlights and 80s Monte Carloesque taillights the 2011 did. The SRT kit helps immensely across the board.
The 2011 refresh left me a bit cold too. Both on the 300 AND the Charger, but the ’15 refresh of the 300 looks almost as good as the ’05-’10 look. The Charger…hell, the ’15 might be the best its EVER looked. Just needs to hide those goofy rear doors is all…
“The dominance of FWD sedans with V6s masquerading around as “sport sedans” over the last few decades really goes a long way explaining why swaths of people hate cars and hate driving and why we’re all forced to dive head first towards this Orwellian plug in autonomous future”
Ive been saying this same exact thing for a while now! Its a vicious circle: The prevailing wisdom is that ‘people don’t care about cars anymore’, yet cars that are actually WORTH caring about are thinner on the ground than ever before. Granted, the LXs made a big splash 11 years ago and are still popular but the ‘artificial forces’ you mentioned are very much there. They don’t make the ‘good stuff’ completely unattainable, but its out of reach for young drivers. If you don’t get the kids hooked right around driving age, then theyre gonna end up with their nose in their iPhones and playing pokemon rather than wrenching. Very sad.
Why is it sad if kids have interests other than cars? Didn’t folks say the same thing about horses a hundred some years ago? And steam engines?
Ok, you’re probably going to call this one a stretch, and maybe it is, but here goes.
There’s nothing wrong with kids having interests other than cars. Indeed, a well rounded person has many varied interests. But a person’s interests say much about how they view themselves and their society. And if they have no interest in engaging in an activity – driving – that, almost more than anything I can think of, allows them to assert their independence from their parents, then what does that say about them and what they view as society’s role in their lives?
For example, in May, my daughter turned 16 and got her license that morning before school. Around here, that’s getting to be a rare event. More and more kids her age have no interest in getting a driver’s license until they absolutely have to. They’re perfectly content to let their parents drive them around into their early 20’s. Indeed, we know a lot of parents who’ve had to FORCE their kid to get his or her license. Fortunately, my daughter – who did not grow up being babysat by an iPhone or a videogame, was eager to get hers.
I dropped her off at school that morning, and when her mother and I picked her up that afternoon, we went in two vehicles. I made a big production of getting out of my Sebring Conv. (with the top down, of course, and with my daughter’s favorite CD playing), handing her the keys, and then getting into our Dodge Journey with her mother, so that our daughter drove away from school on her own.
Some of her friends were jealous, some were excited for her, but most didn’t get it – they didn’t understand why she would WANT to drive herself when she could leave the driving to us. After all, driving a car is so . . . DANGEROUS, and socially irresponsible – or at least that’s what they (and our daughter) have been indoctrinated with since kindergarten. Obviously, my wife and I effectively counteracted that indoctrination.
Well, our daughter took the opportunity of a convertible, a full tank of gas, a sunny afternoon and her favorite CD to take the VERY long way home. It took her over an hour to make the 10 minute drive, including a wholly unnecessary stretch on the Blue Ridge Parkway. When she did get home, we asked how she liked driving without us, and after a, moment in thought, she said, “It was . . . so LIBERATING.”
That was her word – liberating. Driving offered her the freedom to go where she wished when she wished – within our rules for now – but clearly on HER terms in the future. It offered her a future of INDEPENDENCE, not DEPENDENCE on others.
And that’s why it matters. Our daughter wants to live free. She wants to chart her course in the world, live life on her terms – and that’s exactly what her mother and I want for her. But so many of her friends do not want that. They’re content to let others make their decisions for them, to continue to be chauffered – whether by parents or a computer, so long as they don’t have to take any risks. They are AFRAID of independence, and they want to remain safely ensconced in the cotton in which they’ve been wrapped their entire lives. They have no desire to live free, and as such, will happily surrender their freedom to society so long as it means they don’t have to make any decisions.
So yes, it is sad in that way, that today’s young people seem to have no interest in cars and driving.
BTW, my 16 year old daughter just bought her first car this weekend after several weeks of searching. She found a 2004 Toyota Solara, negotiated a good price, and bought it using money SHE earned working at the local Waffle House this summer. She wanted a good car which she enjoyed driving and which was unlike anything else in her school’s parking lot. She succeeded.
She’s very proud of her car, and her mother and I are very proud of her.
To The Big E,
I get what you’re saying. At 6 years old, I was walking 3/ 8s of a mile to school alone. Somehow I made it to adulthood. I drive truck for a living, doing a 190 mile route everyday. In that 190 mile stretch there is only ONE single house that I pass that there are kids outside playing. It’s a breath of fresh air to see them, doing what they should be doing. In the morning, I some times get stuck behind a school bus. This bus picks up the kid who lives on the property that abuts the school that he is going to. If the bus didn’t pick him up he would have to walk 200 feet to school. Why is Johnny obese? It sounds to me like your daughter has it all going on!
+1 – I’ve been a petrolhead since I was a toddler, but car’s aren’t intrinsically “better” than anything else.
I think youre misreading me. Its great to have ‘other’ interests. But when you have a whole generation of people that cant drive a stickshift or even change a tire…that’s whats sad. Cars aren’t ‘just’ a hobby, theres a practical use for the skills you learn in the process. Unless youre going to make a living selling comic books or in the video game industry, then that’s definitely not the basket Id put my eggs in. JMHO.
But realistically, when was the “good stuff” attainable for young drivers except as second or third hand cars? Nothing has changed.
In fact, IMO there has never been a broader car market than today’s, where any and everything you can imagine is obtainable in a variety of propulsion systems, engine sizes, safety nannies, sizes, etc. With the exception of considerably fewer standard-transmission choices (and let’s face it, 80% of that preferred market was because improved mpgs, no longer necessary because of better auto transmissions…), I can’t recall an era in the last 40 years when choice was better than today.
That said, it was nice having the 300SRT as a choice. I also thought the 2011 re-do was an improvement over the 2005, and the 2015 better yet.
It seems like the cars kids pick up now a days to play with are still the same exact ones they were a decade ago when I was in High School, 90s-early 00s civic coupes, DSMs, Nissan 240s, and V6 Mustangs. It seems like the coupe market still has a following with young people into cars, but once they have the money to move up there’s virtually no choice, but that’s another discussion. It’s always been a bit difficult finding enthusiast cars on a high schooler paycheck/savings, it seems like the golden age for that would have been gas crisis era when Muscle car values plummeted, but that was before my time.
Oh and Pokemon, super happy that fad is back, I was in middle school during the first phase of that when the cards were popular. One of my coming of age moments where I decided not to follow trends just because they’re popular anymore. Fitting for this topic really, I’m used to fighting uphill lol
The dominance of FWD sedans with V6s masquerading around as “sport sedans” over the last few decades really goes a long way explaining why swaths of people hate cars and hate driving and why we’re all forced to dive head first towards this Orwellian plug in autonomous future to take away the burden, where now so people disenfranchised with driving want to pretend they’re being chauffeured. All because people simply fell for stat sheets and marketing and think if their V6 Camry didn’t excite them, what else possibly will?
You can’t be serious, right?
There have been genuine FWD “sport sedans” ever since they were invented. Think Saab, Audi, Lancia, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, etc… Trying to draw a line in the sand as to whether a sedan is genuinely sporty because it does or doesn’t have RWD and V8 is utter bullshit. There are many qualities that determine what makes a car a genuine sports sedan, and it’s not limited to those two specific ingredients.
If you think a Honda Accord Sport V6 is any less of a sporty sedan than a Chrysler 300, than you’re just painting yourself in a very small corner. Even the great and mighty wizard (and often reactionary) Jack Baruth drives one. As much as I love the sound and power of a healthy V8, there are many ways to deliver the goods in a car.
I’m sorry, but this whole line of thinking, carrying it on into your Orwellian nightmare, is something I just can’t get behind. it’s a classic argument of putting the effect ahead of the cause. You blaming the lack of exciting V8 RWD cars as the cause for folks not being excited about cars is pretty absurd. What you’re forgetting is that for an overwhelming majority of car owners, all the way back to the Model T, the car has always been primarily an appliance, not a love object upon which to drape their enthusiast passions. That has always been a small minority. At most, it was a prestige object for many, and a Tesla is undoubtedly more prestigious nowadays than a Chrysler 300.
You’re obviously very passionate about your worldview, but it strikes me as decidedly narrow and negative. Yes, as a matter of fact, Tesla drivers can get quite animated about their batteries’ KWH capacity, electric motors, and acceleration, which of course will blow away that V8 RWD 300.
But true, one car era has come and gone. Did you stop to think how hard it was for lovers of steam engines to see diesels replace them? And the same went with lots of committed horse and buggy users?. And V16/V12 lovers, who (rightfully) looked with disdain at the newfangled V8s? There’s always some (many) who have a real hard time with change.
I like old stuff, but I also like change; the more the better actually, for lots of good reasons. But it’s not like I’m going to convince anyone. It’s just a variation on politics; it’s been shown scientifically that some folks’ brains are genetically predisposed to be conservative, other liberal, and not just in strictly political ways. Some hate and fear change; others cause and embrace change. Can’t fight nature, until they find a way to actually change your genes. 🙂
Thanks for this reply Paul, saves me from trying to write a retort. I love cars and love to drive. I have owned 20+ in my life time, almost all of the 4 cylinder, maual transmission. Never owned a V8, don’t feel I’ve missed anything. I appreciate that the option is out there for some but I think today’s reliable, efficient cars are the result of decades of learning how to manufacture them, not the end of the road in that regard.
I usually take his fwd rants with a huge grain of salt, as he has probably zero experience in one. In the case of my old Acura TL, the overall balance of this car is better than anything I have ever driven, fwd, rwd or awd. As for my little Rio, it is cheap to run, reliable as a rock and fun to drive. Both cars are roomy for their size, thanks to Front Wheel Drive.
It doesn’t really matter if a car is fwd or rwd. Either can be made to handle well, and the fwd platform gives huge advantages in packaging.
You caught me! I’ve never driven one of those new fangled fwd cars before, they’re just so rare and hard to get ahold of!
Pains me to point out that I do in fact agree with you, as that was basically my point to begin with. Awful lot of average at best cars have been marketed as sporty over the years because of a big engine, or black trim, or a spoiler, or stiff suspension, or alloys, ect. Think I’m under any delusion that a 60s big block ponycar was inherently better than the best FWD cars because of RWD? No. In present tense the gimmick tends to be the V6 option with a normally 4 cylinder FWD sedan. Simple as that.
I will dispute packaging though, AWD interchangable platforms with driveshaft tunnels and standard wide center consoles aren’t much better at that than rear drivers. Fords especially. Not an issue in all. but likely would in as a Chrysler 300 successor.
Have you, for example, driven an Acura TL in the Rocky Mountains for ten days, and then done it in a Cadillac Sedan de Ville? I have, and the drive wheels make nary a difference.
Most FWD platforms are not set up for AWD, so it is not an issue. If transverse engines FWD didn’t save space, engineers wouldn’t use it.
I have driven both the V-6 Accord and Camry at length. But are excellent cars, the Honda being the better of the two. What is wrong with this? As for your “gimmick” we are going to see the end of V-6 sedans very soon.
So “an awful lot of cars have been marketed as sporty”
So what? Nothing new about that.
My neighbor’s 2014 Tesla Model S simply blew away my 2014 Chrysler 300C AWD V8 in every possible way when I drove it. It made me a believer in an electric future.
Frankly it pretty much blows away my Porsche 911 in almost every way (except for sound) as well. And I like the look of a 911 but the Model S is quite attractive in its own way.
The other currently available electrics from other manufacturers are less performance-minded (for now). but we are on the cusp of a major shift in this regard within the next decade. I’m waiting for something like a VW Golf GTE or Ford Focus STE with 200mile range and the handling of a current GTI or Focus ST to bring the performance to the masses. Then the game will truly change.
We’ve seen over and over again on these virtual pages readers that come here and are very determined about what they like and what is good and not good. Eventually many of them open their minds and take an opportunity to go through the gate to the other side of the fence. Some are able to acknowledge that there are many other options out there that sometimes do things just as well or even better.
I’m not sure how I feel about autonomous tech, but I do know that if perfected I will welcome the opportunity to be driven through traffic or stressful driving conditions without having to concern myself with it. At times. At other times I will probably still enjoy driving myself. But let’s not kid ourselves that driving ourselves 65mph down a straight interstate is in any way, shape, or form either enjoyable or a good way to use up the remaining useful life of any car that was made to be used to enjoy the act of driving.
A Camry V6 will embarrass many performance cars from just a decade ago at a dragstrip. And get you there and back in much more comfort. I’m tempted to drive one to see for myself but I’m scared I might like it too much to walk away…Realistically, with age often comes reason and at some point in one’s life one decides (or realizes) what really matters, no matter how much of an “enthusiast” one might be.
Of course, it’s not such a strict dichotomy either. I like that the LX is RWD based, but mainly because so are S classes and 7 series. I don’t really care if it’s a v8 or v6, but truth be told I kind of wish the Pentastar was a v8 just so I could say it is a v8. I’d be happy to drive an electric car, I just would wish they draped that electric power train in old luxoboat chrome festooned drag.
What I don’t like about some of the newer generation having no love for cars has nothing to do with the “enthusiast” ranks as I am not an “enthusiast” (at least not as a stiff suspended sports sedan flying through the twisties sort of way) but rather it seems like an affront against a very precious bit of Americana. I started driving as soon as I could reach the pedals and see over the wheels. I just don’t get why you wouldn’t want to drive. I don’t really care if it’s a Camry or a 300 or an S Class-something!
To here some kids show an utter lack of interest in driving seems almost traitorous to me. I say that tongue in cheek, but it’s such a foreign concept to me.
Fair enough, though I think you’re reading too much into it. I never said there weren’t legit V6 FWD sports sedans, I know for sure I have gushed about the 4DSC Maxima and sung the praises of the 06-10 Acura TL here, nor do I think RWD or V8 is key to it(that would exclude BMWs for the latter otherwise which would be ridiculous), but V6 and FWD doesn’t equate sport sedan any more than any other layout, and hyping some examples as such is akin to selling a 396 Impala as a Muscle car. Now that being the catalyst for an Orwellian future or not? Well, you may have also noticed I have a wild imagination:)
Well said Paul!
While we are all stubborn about change in one or more areas, it always amazes me to think of the opportunities lost in the auto consumer world if you don’t at least look outside your comfort zone. The Miata , with all of it’s 160 horsepower, is one of the purest road cars out there. I wish I could fit in one comfortably. Toyota makes some damn good trucks. The Corvette is world competitive. A Volvo is (gasp) a style leader in a segment. I could go on….
i always thought that the 300 was an embarrassing car on a great platform.
I find the 300 to look its best in SRT guise, it’s brash but not completely in-your-face and the body works well hunkered down over large wheels. More similar to AMG (muscular) than M (random appendages). Frankly it’s a performance bargain.
One small nit – the 300 was available with adaptive cruise control prior to the 2015 facelift – my 2014 had it (US market).
I think all of the V8 LX cars will end up as classics, but youre right, the 300 in SRT trim is poised to be a classic due to its rarity…right there with any V8 Magnum for the same reasons. The Challenger and Charger are incredibly common, especially in the Portland area. Still very desireable cars but there will likely be many of these around for a LONG time.
They won’t have the legs to last that long – these new cars will have to have a very dedicated owner to keep them going – cars shows in 20 years will these sure, but they won’t be many or be the headliners
I just returned from a trip to London and Paris, and I saw several LX’s, all 300’s and they were all diesels except on, and in London they were being used as livery cars. I saw one SRT-8 on the road in Paris, and two more driving along. I have no idea where one would park a car of this size in Paris!
The appeal of these cars is undeniable. We are in the very slow search for a new car, and want to downsize to a degree. A large sedan is in the field of consideration, and, while I almost can’t believe it’s still on the radar, an LX has been calling to us. Since this will be a primary vehicle for my wife, her nod is toward the Charger.
An AWD V-6 is really the logical choice for us. But, the temptation to go with a V-8 for the reasons noted is also undeniable.
But. Must. Not. Do. That.
“it’s a visceral thing, really. A turbocharged V6 can be absolutely thrilling and match a V8 in horsepower and torque while often bettering it in fuel economy, but nothing can replace that sonorous, throbbing, burbling, just-damned-wonderful growl of a V8.”
You sir have never driven a Malaise Era car with a V8 have you? There is nothing growling or burbling about a 1980’s Oldsmobile 307 V8 engine or the other shitty V8’s that Detroit was pushing out. The only growling then was from the owner as they try to trade it in for a Toyota or Honda and finding out the value was squat.
The days of the V8 are coming to an end. With technology, old school forced induction (super chargers and turbo chargers) you don’t need V8 engines anymore. V6 engines are getting more and more powerful.
Case in point, in 2009 my folks went out car shopping and bought a brand new 2009 Taurus. The 2009 Taurus has a 3.5l V6 engine that has 263 HP on tap. By contrast a 2009 Lincoln Town Car has a 4.6l V8 that puts out 239HP. So the V6 taurus has 24 HP more then the slightly bigger Town Car?? Wow
Take the 2011 Mustang. The ecoboost 4 cylinder turbo gets 310HP, the V6 version gets 300HP. Take the 2016 Taurus SHO which puts out 365HP from a turbo charged V6. These cars are getting muscle car era like horsepower while getting great gas mileage
Ok, well, you’re not exactly disputing my point here. I’m saying V8 engines will still hold an allure to enthusiasts, especially as they become increasingly rare. And I said right there in the bit you quoted that turbo V6s are often the equal of V8s in all but economy.
Case in point, a Lincoln MKS EcoBoost has a 3.5 turbo V6 with 365 hp and 350 ft-lbs of torque. 0-60 is accomplished in anywhere between 5.2 and 5.8 seconds, depending on which road test you read. Gas mileage is 17/25 (20) MPG. The MKS has a curb weight of 4305 lbs and the transmission is a 6-speed auto.
Compare that with a 2011-14 Chrysler 300 C 5.7 V8 AWD. Horsepower was roughly the same (363 hp) but with a superior 394 ft-lbs. Transmission was a 5-speed auto, curb weight was slightly heavier at 4513 lbs. But 0-60 is accomplished in around 6 seconds according to most reports, while gas mileage is worse at 15/23 (18) MPG.
Both have bountiful low-end torque, both sound good, the only difference is the 300 has a richer burble. But in the end, it’s slower and drinks more fuel.
I never said V8s are the pinnacle of engineering excellence, and no I’ve never suffered through a Malaise Era domestic V8. Malaise Era domestic 6s and 4s were nothing to write home about either…
I think the 300 shines best with the Pentastar, honestly. It’s more in the neighborhood of the Northstar, power wise, than the Hemi but that is alright. Who ever buys an American luxoboat to be a barn burner? The SRT is interesting, but I think Chrysler needed to tier it’s LX instead of msking the all 300s. To use old names, the base should be a Newport. The S and SRT should be a 300 and the c’s should be New Yorkers and 5th Aves.
Sure, I wish it was a v8 just to be able to say it’s a v8 but other than that, performance wise it’s pretty much equal to comparable older big sedan v8s.
That would be a waste of marketing dollars and would just create confusion. Not to mention, more money would presumably have to spent to visually differentiate the models.
No, the current system makes a lot more sense.
It’s not like they are actually going to do it, I just like the idea of tiers.
I’m still surprised the SRT Chrysler is being sold, but given what little I know about the markets that it’s being sold in, I should probably not be surprised.
I’ll be honest, I was always very puzzled by the existence of the SRT-8. After all, it’s not like there wasn’t any precedent for a big performance oriented version of a simple four door sedan, previous iterations of that idea have been around since before I was even thought about. But, I always got confused by what Chrysler was trying to do with the 300 SRT-8. If it was meant to be a luxury sports sedan competitor, I don’t think it fits that role well considering the 300 seems more along the lines of a “near-luxury” car rather than a heavy hitter looking to take on the big boys. (Say what you will about the CTS-V, at least Cadillac understands in trying to aim for the same price bracket as the M5) If it was meant to be something else, I’m struggling to think of what it might offer. Maybe I’m just too stupid or thick to really “get” what this car was designed for, if anyone can explain the purpose, I would appreciate it. But, even the most out there and ridiculous cars have some method behind the madness.
Although, even though this car will become a future classic, it’s not a future classic I will admire. I’m not a fan of the second gen 300, at all, and I know that’s very much against the popular opinion. I get that the original 300 wasn’t for everybody, but I at least found some sort of retro charm in it. I liked the 300 because it was very old school to me, and not just because of the set up, but because there was something about the styling that seemed very classic in that 60s Detroit heyday sort of way. The newer one gets rid of that for a more new wave look, and it leave me feeling cold, as the chunky body and wide proportions don’t really work all that well with the more modern touches added. It looks like a fat version of a car I would see an Avis salesrep driving around in, and that’s not necessarily damning with faint praise.
As a fan of the 300 and of performance, I always thought the SRT version would be the best way to enjoy it. Shame it’s not offered here anymore (like several other commenters, I thought it was just a low take rate). Though the 2011 and 2015 refreshes of the Charger were quantum leaps in style over the 2006 version, which I always found somewhat awkward. So it could be a solid contender too.
Current production V8 RWD sedans other than the Chrysler:
Bentley Mulsanne, Jaguar XJ, Porsche Panamera, Mercedes S-class, BMW 7 series, Maserati Quattroporte VI, Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis, Infiniti Q70, Lexus LS, Holden Commodore…
Cheer up, fellas. Plenty around still – though the days of the Chrysler and the Holden may be numbered…
Yeah, but notice a trend of those sort of cars. They are all high end luxury cars that cost over 50K brand new and fully loaded. I think we should revise the text and say that V8 RWD sedans aren’t going away, it’s that V8 RWD sedans that are Affordable are starting to go the way of the dodo.
Exactly. This is the obituary of the affordable V8 RWD sedan (1932-2017).
From next year on, Australia and the US will look upon V8 sedans, be they RWD or otherwise, as the rest of the world have done for decades: something built in small quantities for the elite. Pretty much how V12s always were, in a way.
And while I understand and sympathize with folks who feel distraught by this (see my avatar…), I feel it’s for the best. The affordable V8 was a dinosaur in this age of hybrids and high-tech, low mpg Diesels. Or it belongs in a 4WD truck that can potentially haul heavy loads while having the aerodynamics of a brick.
There is still the Charger.
Reading the comments about V-6 FWD performance sedans is sobering now. No more Taurus SHO or Fusion Sport, no more Maxima, no V-6 Altima, no V-6 Accord, all either discontinued or replaced by a variation of the now ubiquitous 2.0L Turbo 4. Camry is likely to follow, Toyota is already discontinuing V-6s in models.
And now, the blessed 300 is on the chopping block. Flawed and outdated as it is, it’s tempting, isn’t it? I had the same feelings about a new Accord coupe with 3 pedals a few years back…
These cars all had two things in common: They drew ire from many of us at one time or another, but eventually, we’ll all miss them. (Many already do.)
A coworker has a first gen 300 SRT but straight pipes, hot cam, and a supercharger. Leaving a car show it gets a lot of double takes (Is that a Chrysler?) and really stands out among the usual Mopar row of Challengers and Chargers.
A coworker has a first gen 300 SRT but straight pipes, hot cam, and a supercharger. Leaving a car show it gets a lot of double takes (Is that a Chrysler?) and really stands out among the usual Mopar row of Challengers and Chargers.
I have my current preferences and I’ve had a lot of big V8 cars in the past. Those cars were plentiful and cheap back in those days. Though I’ll always love those Caddies and Lincolns from the past, I certainly don’t want to drive one today. Evolution does occur, and there are many cars that are much better than even in the recent past. One of my favorite cars was my ’90 Honda Civic SI, a great all round, practical performer, that got great mileage. I’d say it was more practical than my 280Z which was a 2+2. Back in the ’90’s I daily drove a ’66 Riviera, I knew that it was big and thirsty, but I could afford to drive it “for the fun of it.”
I’ve had FWD and RWD cars and for most purposes, and for most drivers, there isn’t much difference. I like V8s and their burly personality, that’s why I have two Mustangs. But I had a V6 model also and it’s a fine driver.
I rode big Harleys and they were fun, but much smaller, higher tech machines, eventually eclipsing any performance advantage that they enjoyed.
I’m even open to EVs once they build something that looks “right” to me. I try to keep an open mind and I’ll keep on enjoying driving anything with wheels until I can’t.