Chrysler 300CBy Simon Donohue
March 03, 2008
SO you want to drive like a Fun Lovin’ Criminal but would prefer to only burn fossil fuels like a namby-pamby member of Coldplay.
The answer to your prayers is the sheep in wolf’s clothing which is the new SRT Design version of Chrysler’s superb mobster-mobile the 300C.
It boasts the brutal bling styling of the hottest Hemi V8-powered SRT-8 300C behemoth, but, whisper it, is powered by a three-litre diesel engine.
Fortunately, that Mercedes Benz-built engine is no slouch, propelling the mammoth SRT Design like an oversized slingshot when the pedal is depressed.
Nor is it particularly economic, returning in the region of 35mpg.
But the sheer power of that 215bhp diesel unit makes for an exhilarating ride, while the firm and planted-on-the-road in a way which you really wouldn’t expect of such a big American cruiser.
Not only only does it handle well and feel well put together, but the SRT Design also has far more presence and originality than competitors like the Mercedes E-class and BMW 5-series.
Chrysler has sold 6,000 300Cs in the UK since it was launched in October 2005 and claims that owners will benefit from the respectable residuals which mean two-year-old 300Cs are retaining in the region of 67 per cent of their original value.
And that’s little wonder given that the gargantuan saloon drives every bit as impressively as it looks.
A decision to drop the 3.5litre V6 and 5.7 V8 HEMI petrol engines from the range means that the only petrol engine available in the line-up for 2008 will now be the 6.1 litre V8 Hemi SRT-8.
Chrysler says its decision to drop the petrol offerings in favour of the three-litre diesel has been driven by customer demand for diesel cars, which isn’t surprising given the lower emmisions and tax burden and increased miles per gallon.
The SRT-8 Touring has also been dropped from line-up for 2008.
Other features on the SRT Design derivative include a choice of the same four colours available of the SRT-8, sporty seats, 20in alloys and the “Bentley-style” mesh chrome grille.
Meanhile, all of the cars in the 300C range for 2008 come with an automatic transmission and have been treated to a few minor “facelifted” details, including a new boot lid with an integral stop light and a roof mounted radio antennae.
Prices start at £27,495 for the 3.0 V6 CRD saloon; £32,495 for the 3.0 V6 CRD SRT Design; and increase to £40,995 for the 300C with a 6.1 litre V8 HEMI SRT-8. Touring versions of the CRD and SRT Design are available for £28,495 and £33,245 respectively.
The 2008 model range will be available from next month.