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Chrysler 300C 5.7 Hemi

Broadcast dates : 12th February 2006
18th February 2006

Apart from maybe a Hummer, nothing has more street presence right now than the Chrysler 300C.

Beeeg baaad grille, classic egg-crate design from the 1950s rendered suitably into the modern idiom, grumpy-looking headlight eyebrows.

But there’s something loveable about the 300, from the extended wheel arches filled by chrome spoke 18-inch alloys, and that cute rump that reminds you of a Rottweiler with its tail suitably trimmed.

Aah, the Hemi. Old ducktails from the ‘50s go into rhapsodies about the V8 to end all V8s.

The Hemi V8 was the first American car with a hemispherical combustion chamber. The Chrysler 300 from 1955 set speed records and mopped up Nascar races like they were so much dirty dishwater.

Virgil Exner Carl….Kiekhaefer, these guys created the legend that now lives on. Performance was king, cosmetics were secondary.

For Americans, interior finishes have always been iffy by Euro standards. Comfort is what American cars are about, hence slightly soft springing to cope with those thousands of miles of interstate highways. Different folks, different strokes.
But let’s not forget that this car is built on the Mercedes-Benz E Class platform. So by American standards, it’s streets ahead in terms of ride, poise and handling, even though Chrysler engineers added their own trademark tweaks.

Cars Stateside have to be able to deal with shocking potholes that make Randburg’s William Nicol interchange seem like a billiard-board surface,

As for performance, with the Hemi V8 version you are a looking at grunt of a major order.

How does 250 kiloWatts and 525 Newton metres of torque grab you, as well a 0-100 in under 7 seconds.

Overall it has a nice mix of Vegas glitz and fifties classicism, such as the finely wrought round dials, the beautifully shaped seats and nice detailing on the shift surrounds.

Here is a car that undercuts its Euro opposition by as much as fifty per cent when measured against the likes of the S-Class Merc and Audi A8.

And the really neat part about this modern-tech Hemi is that it can switch off four of the eight cylinders when in cruise mode to save some much needed fossil fuel.

The transmission, which goes without saying feeds va-va-voom through to the rear wheels, is the Chrysler Groups first autobox in five-speed configuration.

Chrysler 300C 5,7 Hemi
  • Engine: V8 petrol, 5 654 cc
  • Power: 250 kW @ 5 000 rpm
  • Torque: 525 Nm @ 4 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 6,96 seconds
  • Top speed: 250 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 12,22 litres/100 km (Car Magazine figures)
  • Price: R430 000
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