2009 Chrysler 300C SRT8

The 300C is not as eye-catching as it was when it debuted, but its distinctive design is still attractive and modern. The bright-red Brembos look a bit strange on such a big car (it doesn't help that they clash with the brick red exterior paint of this particular 300C) but I was glad to have them once I got this 4000-pound-plus beast really rocketing down the road. Under hard acceleration, the butt drops, the rear tires dig in, and it transforms from a boulevardier into a jet-powered locomotive. Holy smokes! The acceleration is so smooth and unrelenting that I chickened out long before it subsided. And it has such an amazing soundtrack that I found myself putting the pedal to the floor as often as I could just to hear its deep-throated growl.

I've recommended the 300 to a number of people over the past several years, but every time I drive one, I'm still surprised by how much I like it. I guess because of its size and brand, I expect it to be more of an old-school, American sedan with a floaty ride, mushy brakes, and lifeless steering. But the 300, especially in SRT8 drag, is the antithesis of that stereotype, with accurate steering and superb balance and stability. Add the Hemi, and the big Chrysler will feed your need for speed and then some.

Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor

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