$50-100K: 4th - Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

No turbochargers here. No all-wheel-drive. No red carpet, no free champagne and absolutely no attempt to be anything but a goddam, look-at-that-Martha muscle car.


Behold the numbers: 6.4 litres; 347kW;631Nm. Oh, and 1938kg. Ahem.

Now, bald numbers don’t always tell the whole story in cases like this, but when it comes to the 300 Core, maybe they don’t require as much interpretation as they do in other cases.

See, you can really break our results down into two categories: Going straight, and going 'round bends.

In the first category, the 300C is shatteringly good. It creamed the standing 400m in 13.3 seconds (bearing in mind that kerb weight and rear-drive) on its way to a terminal speed of 177.4km/h.

That’s well up the pointy end of this lot and included getting to 100km/h in 5.2. The mid-range straight-line stuff is spectacular, too, with 80-120km/h despatched in a class-leading 2.75 seconds with daylight second.

And then we come to second category. Erm, not so sharp. The 300C’s lap-time was 1.46:3 which was second slowest.

Comparing straights with corners yet again, the Chrysler’s V-max down the straight was a second-best 177.2km/h while its speed through Turn-7 was just 50.6km/h; stone last.

It’s not just weight transfer and a relative lack of grip, though. Braking is hardly a long-suit, either and not only was the 100-0km/h distance on the wrong side of 40m, the stoppers got pretty AWOL after about two laps.

The 300C’s five-speed tranny does it no favours around Winton and, in fact, it emerged as a two-gear car (second and third only). Oh for the eight-speed auto in some Jeep models…

But don’t fret, because all is not lost. See, the 300C Core has one more trick up its sleeve that helped save the day. And that trick is that it’s an absolute hoot to pedal.

Okay, so it never feels anything other than heavy, but the front end is pointy enough to hide some of that. But to drift it is to love it.

Okay, there’s the ultimate question of what’s going to happen if you continue to poke it with a stick and it can feel a bit light through the front end, but use it as the big, boofy muscle car it is, and you’ll walk away with a big grin.

Big enough to make it fourth outright in class.

$50-100K placing – 4th
Overall placing – 15th
Judges’ ranking – 14th

0-100km/h – 5.20sec (4th)
0-400m – 13.30sec @ 177.40km/h (4th)
Lap Time – 1:46.30sec (13th)
Price – $56,000 (16th)

Engine 6417cc V8, OHV, 16v
Power 347kW @ 6100rpm
Torque 631Nm @ 4150rpm
Weight 1983kg
Gearbox 5-speed auto
Suspension struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, anti-roll bar (r)
Brakes 360mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers (f); 350mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers (r)
Wheels 20 x 9.0-inch (f/r)
Tyres 245/45 R20 Goodyear Eagle F1 RS-A2 (f/r)

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