The Chrysler 300C is the sort of car a man rewards himself with after years of hard work. This rear-wheel drive is distinctive on the road, has won the kudos of respectable publications, and boasts loads of power.
But mostly it’s the distinctive part. Driving the Chrysler ‘Hemi C’ SRT Design 300 for a week made me feel like some wiseguy from Jersey who’s just been made. The sunroof could ventilate the Cohiba smoke. And with 17.2 cubic feet of space in the trunk, there’s plenty of room for the bodies of rival men’s magazine writers. (Instead it carried a 14-foot trampoline with room to spare.)
My woman said it made me look old – more Markham cul-de-sac than downtown condo. She thought the fire-engine red screams early midlife crisis. But rather than feeling crestfallen, I flattened the gas pedal. Up to 340 horses hurled their approval in a NASCAR-inspired 5.7 litre V8 engine. Yes, you’re in an American car!
Now be careful. All that power moves quietly with a very smooth ride that handles well in corners. You may not notice the speedometer and suddenly you’re cruising at 140 kph. It explains the Severe-Duty Engine Cooling working overtime. And the gas bill.
It’s well-appointed, bordering on over-the-top: soft leather covering the low-back bucket seats; the driver’s seat finds your shape in eight directions and remembers it. The mirrors know what you like too. And the dials on the dash provide a classic retro touch.
But in these days of sudden expensive gas spikes and dawning environmental awareness, the neighbours weren’t impressed by the remote start, warming the 300C before I got in. Or maybe it was the 7-speaker, 368-watt amp when I came home.
Base price $45,195; as driven $51,190.