2009 Chrysler 300C SRT8

Talk about the best of times and the worst of times. Chrysler is in Chapter 11, GM just joined them, and yet, the cars are better than they ever have been. Case in point: this 300C SRT8. Less than ten years ago, a shopper looking for a V-8, rear-wheel-drive American sedan was limited to Ford's ancient full-size lineup. Now we have a 425-hp, E-class-based monster from Chrysler, and most of us regard it with relative disinterest.

"Yawn, the interior is a little plasticky," or "I like Pontiac's rear-wheel-drive, 400-plus-hp sedan better."

In fact, the 300C SRT8 is still a very fun, fast car. Like the Charger SRT8 we sampled last fall, it really benefits from a firmer suspension setup compared with the "regular" Hemi cars. There have been improvements inside as well, with more soft-touch materials similar to what's in our Four Seasons Ram. The price--$50,000 and change--seems steep, but with the auto market, and Chrysler in particular, being where they are these days, you almost have to factor in a considerable discount (a quick glance at Chrysler's Web site reveals that local dealers are offering $3500 on this car before any negotiation).

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

New Car Research

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