If you want a modern-day muscle car dripping in street cred, with 350kW - or close enough, for about $60k, drive-away, then the Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core is on your short list. It's unbeatable value - especially if you don't care (or know) what a carbon footprint is...
ABOVE: Listen to John Cadogan talk about the Chrysler 300 SRT8 with broadcasting legend Clive Robertson on Sydney radio 2UE 954
CHRYSLER 300 SRT8
You can feel it from here. The Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core is hotter than two rats humping in a rayon sock. In the jungle. In Hell. Osama bin Laden couldn't take this heat. You feel it too - admit it.
It's a brilliant execution of a modern-day muscle car. The 300's got the hot rod style roof chop, superlative driveline performance. Just shy of 350kW.
It's a muscle car - brain bending engine outputs on a more or less beer budget - and just enough grip to get you into trouble. Muscle cars are like that - and this is the latest in a long line of that grand tradition.
It's beyond adequate - in every respect. You could do a drug deal in this car, and then valet it at a five-star hotel. That's not a recommendation. Everyone knows those valets can't be trusted.
VIDEO PRODUCTION CHALLENGE
This review is also a video production challenge from the audience: Can you shoot a full video review of a car using one of these babies for the vision - an action camera? This is a Drift Ghost S - like a GoPro, only better. Under $500. I thought: Let's find out, for budding car reviewers on a limited budget everywhere - Just how pro can you go using one of these babies?
All the location shots (ie everything in this video review not in the studio) was shot on the Drift Ghost-S. I also used a slider, a boom pole and a fluid head tripod to get some of the slicker moves. And the audio was recorded separately into a $99 Zoom H1 using an optional $29 Drift accessory lapel microphone. I synchronised the audio with the scratch audio from the Drift in post and muted the scratch track before exporting the final cut. All up, it's a pretty cheap way to get a review done. Certainly cheaper than buying a proper video camera and a DSLR plus four or five lenses.
For more information on the Drift Ghost-S visit the Camzilla Drift Ghost-S page - they're a quality, friendly operation that will give you solid advice and you can trust them, over the counter or online.
I'm pretty sure you can shoot a halfway decent car review with just an action camera. So, if you want to start reviewing cars, what are you waiting for? Drop the not-quite $500 big ones and have a crack.
IMAGE GALLERY - click to enlarge
This is the car Walter White drove when his transition to Heisenberg was complete. It's become the metaphor for breaking bad - the verb, and the noun. It just needs a bumper sticker: 'My other car is a meth lab'.
But your politically correct friends are not going to like it. It could be a relationship deal breaker. You'll be off Penny Wong's Christmas list, and the Friends of the earth will see you as an enemy. It's not stealthy - the 300'SRT8 Core is both big and bad - and you can see it from space. Greenpeace will have you on their radar.
This is not the sort of car you drive if you measure your carbon footprint. Or even if you use the words 'carbon' and 'footprint' in the same sentence. This is a device designed to convert as many hydrocarbons as you can tip into it, into kinetic energy and noise, as quickly as possible.
Just a few years back you would have had to spend a healthy six-figure sum to get yourself into a 300kW car. Here you get 347kW for a driveaway price around $60 grand. It's the muscle performance bargain of the decade - and it's not built by workers who know their jobs are dead and buried in the next couple of years. That's a plus.
Progress is rapid - and performance potential eclipses grip. It's like the old Paul Simon song: 50 Ways to Leave your Lover. Except these lyrics are about 50 Ways to Lose Your License. All of them fun.
In addition to those magic kilowatts, the 6.4-litre hemi V8 delivers 631Nm. To say it's strong in the mid-range is an understatement. You will fall in love with the power delivery, but the 300 is far from perfect. I mean, Chrysler was joined at the hip to Daimler...
...and doubtless that's part of why this car is so good. You can feel the injection of Mercedes-Benz DNA. But the cabin is actually far more cramped than you expect from such a big beast, and - yeah - the interior is in keeping with the 'rock star' styling outside, but it's not about to win any awards for ergonomic excellence.
The footwell is cramped, and the pedals are offset to the right. $60k and there's no reversing camera? You're kidding. Rear vision is lousy. And the foot-operated parking brake is beyond undignified. The ergonomic equivalent of plastic surgery gone wrong. Americans love them. Go figure. And the fuel filler release? Good luck finding that the first time. But the cap less filler itself is pretty clever - full marks for that.
Nice little touch of Merc-Benz with the analogue clock in the centre, though. But the thing I really like is: it's got an ECO indicator. And - occasionally - it even lights up. No. Really. It does. I love it when designers have a sense of humour.
Desirable cars come in two flavours generally: the ones with acceptable performance and outstanding grip, and those that bend the fabric of space and time, but don't subscribe to handling finesse - relatively speaking. If you enjoy driving a car that has it's middle finger held perpetually aloft to the politically correct, and which won't hesitate to bite you if you fail to pay attention mid-corner, in the wet, you'll love this car.
I can't believe they can cram all that into a driveaway price around $60k. The SRT8 Core is the muscle car bargain of the decade. If James Bond wakes up tomorrow, and decides he's American, this is the car he saves the world in.
The 300 SRT8 Core is not afraid to be what it is. You get 347kW for about $60k - that's about $172 a kilowatt. Amazing. Just shows you the cost-effectiveness of buying in bulk. This is what happens when you thrust a traditional muscle car into the 21st Century, and stick a velvet glove on the iron fist.