- Styling has aged well
- Improved interior
- V-8 engine rumble and power
- HEMI is thirsty
- Stiff ride
- Anti-lock brakes are optional
Like American gangsters, the 2008 Chrysler 300 exudes a kind of cool that is coveted by all, but attained by few.
To bring you this review, TheCarConnection.com's editors read the latest reviews on the new 2008 Chrysler 300. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove several Chrysler 300 models, including the HEMI-powered 300C and ultra-high-performance 300 SRT8 edition. These experiences enable this team to offer you a definitive opinion on this distinctly American sedan. TheCarConnection.com review also compares the 2008 Chrysler 300 to similar vehicles to give you a better understanding of how this sedan fits in the market.
Looking at the 2008 Chrysler 300, it's easy to say that this car is one of the best things to come out of the troubled Mercedes-Benz/Chrysler relationship. Introduced in 2005, the Chrysler 300 reintroduced Americans to a domestically built, full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedan. The car was an immediate hit.
Some editors from TheCarConnection.com wondered aloud at the car's debut about how long the hunkered-down styling of the Chrysler 300 would remain popular. The high beltline/low roof look has actually aged well, and the car continues to turn heads--something that can't be said of its traditional domestic full-size sedan competitors.
The 2008 Chrysler 300 hits the streets with several major improvements for the year. Starting with the exterior, you'll find new front and rear fascias, a new grille, and taillamps. These in no way impair the 300's retro-modern style.
Inside, the 300 gets a new set of instruments and a revised dash, along with new door trim panels and a reorganized center console. New soft-touch materials, new upholstery, and a relocated cruise control stalk also make the cut for 2008.
The standard engine on the rear-drive 300 is a 2.7-liter V-6 engine providing 178 horsepower. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard, but curiously, anti-lock brakes are not (though they should be). A 3.5-liter, 250-horsepower V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission comes with rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive Touring models and the Limited package. The 300C comes with the 5.7-liter, 340-horsepower HEMI V-8, five-speed automatic, and either rear- or all-wheel drive. The romp-'em-stomp-'em SRT8 version of the 300C continues for '08, offering a 425-horsepower 6.1-liter HEMI V-8, sport suspension, 20-inch rims, and other upgrades.
On the road, the 2008 Chrysler 300 delivers a good driving experience from its rear-wheel-drive chassis. For Chrysler, 2008 models differ considerably in ride comfort. Base, Touring, and Limited 300 editions offer a softer ride. The 300C and the 300 SRT8 target the performance enthusiasts with high-horsepower HEMI engines and stiffer suspensions. Stepping up to the 300 SRT8 nets drivers musclecar performance in the form of sub-14-second quarter-mile times and a top speed of over 150 mph.
As you'd expect, traction control and side and curtain airbags are optional. Fitted with the optional passive safety devices, the 300 performed well in government crash tests. Less plebeian options include a Bluetooth connection that features iPod connectivity; a six-disc changer; a MyGIG audio entertainment system; a Boston Acoustics speaker package; Sirius Backseat TV; remote start; and adaptive cruise control.
All of this gear works well inside the 2008 Chrysler 300. The interior update looks and functions well, and the quality remains high. You'll note upscale touches everywhere, from the chrome accents to the soft-opening glove box. It does take a while to get used to the narrow greenhouse, but once acclimated, drivers don't mind their view to the outside.
If you are considering the 2008 Chrysler 300C, the list of competitors changes dramatically. With its HEMI V-8, tighter suspension, and premium interior, the 300C is a legitimate alternative to Cadillac's CTS and STS. The Chrysler's driving dynamics and quality are also comparable to the BMW 5-Series and Audi A6. When one remembers that the 300 was developed when Chrysler was owned by Mercedes-Benz, the 300C's competitiveness is less of a surprise and more of a reasonable conclusion.