You Know You Want To: Chrysler 300C SRT-8

With engine capacities continuing their interminable slide towards just three figures, it comes as a genuine surprise to see a fairly new car with a whacking great V8 powering it. A nice surprise, I hasten to add.

Thankfully original rims part of the deal
Thankfully original rims part of the deal
The SRT (Street and Racing Technology) versions of the previous-gen Chrysler 300C featured a Hemi V8 of 6,059 cubic centimetres. In American parlance, that's 370 cubic inches. In any language, it's pretty huge. Created by increasing the bore and compression ratio of the 5.7-litre V8, Chrysler endowed its flagship with 425hp, and even more attitude.

Sadly, the SRT-8 never quite lived up to the promise. Despite that huge motor, it lacked the requisite mix of firepower and handling to match rivals such as the E61 BMW M5. 2 If your need was for a budget super saloon, Vauxhall VXR8 was a better bet.

This five-year-old Touring is a rather different prospect, though. Naturally, depreciation has brought it even further into the realms of affordability but, as an estate, absolute dynamic proficiency isn't paramount. The focus switches to practicality and usable performance.

Proper US V8 under the bonnet - we like
Proper US V8 under the bonnet - we like
Here is where the 300C excels. Just look at the size of the thing. That low roof probably compromises outright capacity a little, but without it you wouldn't get that distinctive appearance. Anyway, you still get 630 litres of boot space with the seats up and more than 1,600 with them down. If you require any more volume, get a van.

Moreover, all that swept capacity provides huge torque to shove the 300C Touring's considerable mass down the road. In fact, there is 420lb ft of it, more than you get in a brand new VXR8 6.2 (405lb ft). Plenty, in other words.

This particular car may wear a set of questionable Pimp My Ride rims but, thankfully, the vendor has kept the originals (still hardly modest at 20 inches but slightly less bling) and if the all-caps text is a little exhausting to read he's clearly enthusiastic and keen to share that passion. A passion that appears to be something of a specialism for all things American, no doubt helped by his proximity to lots of big US airbases.

Proper US interior too; we don't like so much
Proper US interior too; we don't like so much
Oh, and if that V8 estate isn't practical enough, how about a Mercedes E55 AMG seven-seater? Yes, it's a lot more used, but it does have space for six passengers - and a supercharged V8. And it's yours for ... wait ... ninegrand?



Chrysler 300C SRT-8 Touring (2007)
Why you would: Big power, big fun, big space, fairly tiny price
Why you wouldn't: Can you afford the petrol?



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