Chrysler 300 Core is a remarkably affordable American high-performance sedan

Chrysler 300 Core is a remarkably affordable American high-performance sedan

The reasoning behind the Chrysler 300 SRT Core is as simple as the car itself. The thinking behind it goes back to the core of buyer preferences – value for money in a high powered machine.

A neat $10,000 has been stripped from the price of the standard 300 SRT, dropping it to an affordable $56,000. As it has kept the core values of the car exactly as before, the new model is tagged Chrysler 300 SRT Core.

That $56,000 recommended price puts the big Chrysler right down with the hot Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores. Tellingly the SRT Core is under the price of the lowest-cost HSV models.

This special 300 model has been developed specifically for the Australian market as the guys in the States are well aware of our enthusiasm downunder. Indeed, the Americans are now to be offered the Aussie-specced car on their home market.

Price trimming of the Chrysler SRT Core has been achieved by giving it cloth trim instead of leather; there’s no heating of the rear seats, though the fronts still get warmed (but not cooled); the drink holders are no longer connected to the air conditioning system so remain at the ambient temperature; and there’s no floor mat or cargo net in the boot.

A basic audio system is used, with the number of speakers reduced from nineteen to six – meaning you will have to spend more time listening to the exhaust note of the big Chrysler V8. Sounds good to us!

Standard, not adaptive, cruise control is used; you miss out on the adaptive suspension damping system; there isn’t a blind spot monitor (though surely anyone who drives an SRT knows how to set door mirrors?). The rear cross-path detection system is a handy feature but sadly it’s been stripped out.

Styling, ah, styling! That’s what the Chrysler 300C is all about. Though the importer doesn’t like it to be called the ‘Gangsta’ car I’ve got some bad new for them – everyone who chatted to us about the new Core product used exactly that term…

The Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core has 20-inch alloy wheels in a twin-five-spoke design. There are ‘Hemi 6.4L’ badges in red and chrome on the front guards and a red ‘Core’ badge on the bootlid.

Core is offered in eight paint colours: Gloss Black, Ivory tri-coat pearl, Billet Silver metallic, Jazz Blue pearl, Granite crystal metallic pearl, Deep Cherry Red crystal pearl, Phantom Black tri-coat pearl, and Bright White.

The Core’s cabin has black seat trim with white stitching and ‘SRT’ is embroidered into material. There are piano black bezels and matte carbon accents on the instrument panel and centre console.

All the important powertrain parts remain as in the standard Chrysler SRT8. The 6.4-litre Hemi V8 engine produces 465 horsepower (347 kW in Australian terms) and a great 631 Nm of torque. The active exhaust system remains as does the excellent launch control system that really gets the big beast moving with just the right amount of wheelspin. Iit’s only to be used in the correct locations of course.

The really interesting thing is that the 300C SRT8 Core is lighter than its full-house big brother so presumably has better performance in a straight line. You would need timing gear to test this, and it’s likely to only show hundreds of a second improvements. Still, hundredths are important in high-performance cars…

This American muscle machine sounds great, though a little more volume would be appreciated at low to moderate throttle openings. It’s a bit sad when AMG Mercs and Bentley Continental Speeds provide bigger sounds than a Chrysler Hemi.

A five-speed automatic transmission is used instead of the more modern eight-speed unit now on the rest of the 300 range. But if you’ve got 631 Newton metres of torque at your disposal you really don’t need that much more assistance from a bunch of extra ratios. Awesome stopping power is provided by the big Brembo disc brakes.

Throttle response is all-but instantaneous and the automatic reacts quickly to the driver’s demands.

Trundling up and down the M1 motorway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane at 115 km/h we saw fuel consumption average a hard-to-believe eight litres per hundred kilometres. That’s partly due to the COD (Cylinder On Demand) feature that cuts four cylinders under light load. That’s right, our Chrysler 300 SRT Core was a four-cylinder car!

Consumption leapt in urban driving, being in the mid teens most of the time. In the country and having a go it was getting towards the twenties.

Road grip is high, but this is a big heavy car so you don’t get the same cornering enjoyment as you do from the best of the small hot hatches. Ride comfort isn’t too bad, but rough roads certainly let you know the low-profile tyres aren’t able to cushion the car all that well.

An excellent concept in affordable performance motoring, the big Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core is a permanent addition to the Chrysler 300 range. Incidentally, that range has just been expanded to include yet another model, the 300S. We cover in a separate story.


300 Limited 3.6-litre petrol four-door sedan: $43,000 (automatic)
300 Limited CRD 3.0-litre diesel four-door sedan: $48,000 (automatic)
300C 3.6-litre petrol four-door sedan: $46,500 (automatic)
300C CRD 3.0-litre diesel four-door sedan: $51,500 (automatic)
300S 3.6-litre petrol four-door sedan: $47,500 (automatic)
300C Luxury 3.6-litre petrol four-door sedan: $51,000 (automatic)
300C Luxury CRD 3.0-litre diesel four-door sedan: $56,000 (automatic)
300 SRT8 Core 6.4-litre four-door sedan: $56,000 (automatic)
300 SRT8 6.4-litre four-door sedan: $66,000 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Chrysler dealer for driveaway prices.

ABS Brakes: Standard
Automatic Transmission: Standard
Cruise Control: Standard
Dual Front Airbags: Standard
Front Side Airbags: Standard
Electronic Stability Program: Standard
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard
Reversing Camera: Not offered
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: Standard
Bluetooth: Standard
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard

SPECIFICATIONS (Chrysler 300 SRT Core 6.4-litre four-door sedan)

Engine Capacity: 6.417 litres
Configuration: V8
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.9:1
Bore/Stroke: 103.9 mm x 94.6 mm
Maximum Power: 347 kW @ 6100 rpm
Maximum Torque: 631 Nm @ 4150 rpm

Driven Wheels: Rear
Manual Transmission: Not offered
Automatic Transmission: Five-speed
Final Drive Ratio: Not supplied

Length: 5089 mm
Wheelbase: 3052 mm
Width: 1905 mm
Height: 1478 mm
Turning Circle: 11.5 metres
Kerb Mass: 1983-2012 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 72 litres
Towing Ability: Not recommended for towing

Front Suspension: High performance lowered
Rear Suspension: High performance lowered
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Ventilated disc

Fuel Type: Petrol 98RON
Fuel Consumption – Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 13.0 L/100km

Greenhouse Rating: 3.5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 7.5/10

Three years/100,000 km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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