It was just two years ago that Pontiac died and, along with it, the one chance we saw for a muscle sedan rebirth. The much-praised G8 (really a Holden) had a Corvette drivetrain and 415 hp in the GXP version, nearly beat out the BMW M5, and cost only $37,610!
Now Chrysler has stepped up to the plate to enter this market for M5 wannabes with no cash—or people who just like the so-called gangsta look and want a great-performing car. We’ll bet the company sells a bunch of its new 300 SRT8 sedans.
The beast looks mean and modern at the same time. The interior, which came in for some criticism, is revamped and adds luxury touches. A new Adaptive Damping Suspension should improve handling. And the 5-speed automatic has been upgraded with paddle shifters.
From what we read, it’s a throwback to the older muscle cars but very much updated in terms of its new 6.4-liter Hemi V8, with 465 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. Per Chrysler, you’ll get:
0-60 mph (96 km/h) sprint time in the high 4-second range; quarter mile in high 12 second range; 0-100-0 mph (0-160km/h-0) in less than 16 seconds, top speed of 175 mph (281 km/h) and stopping power from 60-0 mph in 120 feet.
These are amazing figures, really, and buyers will get a free day of training at the Richard Petty racing school. You’re also going to get 25 percent better fuel economy over last year’s car, which translates to 23.75 mpg.
Read the press release to see how the company is positioning its 300 series cars in the marketplace. The one questionable thing it is doing is creating a new Grand Cherokee SRT8 with similar performance, but still no 8-speed tranny, which this car really needs. Plus, I just don’t see how it can go up against the big-boy German SUVs, like the Mercedes ML63 AMG, cost differences notwithstanding.
But the 300 SRT8 sedan is another matter, and we bet there will be a line of buyers salivating when it goes on sale in the fall.
Is this new car really an M5 competitor, or does it occupy a different market niche?