BIG. BOLD AND BRASH: Chrysler’s previous 300C had little appeal for South African buyers who desire wheels of a very different kind. A second look, perhaps...? Image: Newspress
To keep the sumptuously appointed 300C politically correct – and before e-mails come pouring in from irate drivers from the length and breadth of South Africa – this limousine is not "just another gas-guzzling Yankee muscle car and wrong for this day and age…"because the V8 engine shuts down four -cylinders whenever it can to cut fuel consumption by as much as 20%.
Depending on your driving style, of course!
Interestingly, while driving the 300C along the Garden Route, there was never an indication of when it actually does 'de-cylinder' because the rev counter doesn’t suddenly drop, there’s no misfire coming from either cylinder bank… all a bit weird, really.
A Chrysler SA spokesperson told me: "The re-emergence of the large sedan as an aspirational player in the executive car market has allowed Chrysler to make inroads into the our executive market segment with this 300C – arguably the most affordable large executive sedan in recent memory to reach our shores."
374kW HEMI V8
Huge to the point of gargantuan and a throw-back to the good, old-fashioned, way of producing cars in the good-old U.S. of A.
Chrysler reckons it is giving its modern-day customers a car they would really like to buy: enter the mighty 300C range of sedans.
Under the extremely long bonnet of the latest and most powerful yet "letter car"*, the Chrysler 300C SRT8, lurks a 347kW, 6.4 Hemi V8 that’s more than capable of launching this two-ton car from 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds.
Under your right foot is also 631Nm of torque – enough to pull tractors out of fields!
Top speed is largely academic with any V8. Suffice to say the car’s performance in a straight line is going to scare the pants of just about any sports car on the road today!
Nevertheless, the 300C is positioned as a real man’s luxury sedan – a real alternative to existing offerings in the market. In less than three years it has garnered nearly 90 prestigious accolades, including the North American Car of the Year.
Among the luxurious creature comforts one receives with the car are eight-way power seats for the front occupants – heatable, of course – should the weather turn nasty, dual-zone automatic temperature control, a tilt and telescopic steering column and leather upholstery from front to back.
The car also has 19" alloy rims shod with tyres that reminded me of a garden roller. I’m still not sure whether to call the boot a trunk or not but it’s simply huge and most likely capable of swallowing at least six sets of golf clubs. Or a few bodies...
• Prices may have spiralled upwards since launch in 2013, setting you back now R777 990 for the fully-imported, Austrian-built V8 Hemi-powered version reviewed above and surely the pick of the bunch – there’s a V6 offering but not nearly as much fun, one that will set you back a not entirely unreasonable R601 990.
*Sixty years ago Chrysler introduced the first of its "letter cars", the 1955 C300, a model that proved an instant success for the American automaker. For the next 10 years – through to 1965 – the company continued to produce stunning new derivatives – each available, naturally, with the iconic V8 Hemi engine – winning all there was to win on American racetracks in the capable hands of drivers such as Buck Baker and Speedy Thompson, under the watchful eye of team manager Carl Kiekhaefer.
Read more about the 2015 Chrysler 300C!