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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Smart all-wheel-drive system
SRT8 takes performance a big step further
Both RWD and AWD 300Cs are responsive at any speed
The 2009 Chrysler 300 lineup ranges from the docile V-6 variants to the snarling, V-8-powered beast that is the 2009 Chrysler 300 SRT8 edition.
According to Edmunds, the 2009 Chrysler 300 is available with four different engines, which include a "2.7-liter V6 that produces 178 hp and 190 pound-feet of torque," while a "3.5-liter V6 good for 250 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque" comes on the Touring and Limited trims.
Opting for either the Chrysler 300C or SRT8 brings two extra cylinders and a significant power boost. ConsumerGuide reports that the "300C uses a 5.7-liter version of Chrysler's "Hemi V8 with 359 hp, an increase of 19 hp over last year," while the "SRT8 uses a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 with 425 hp."
Driving impressions vary according to engine output, with Cars.com claiming that the "3.5-liter V-6 delivers adequate power for mountainous terrain, but no true surplus," while "performance is almost as appealing with the 2.7-liter V-6." On the 2009 Chrysler 300C, Kelley Blue Book raves about the "impressive blend of power and grace" afforded by the V-8, while ConsumerGuide reports that the "brawny SRT8 leaps off the line and has a surplus of power at any speed." SRT8 versions have been timed at about 5.5 seconds to 60 mph; 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.
TheCarConnection.com has disappointing news for those who enjoy selecting their own gears: The 2009 Chrysler 300 is only available with an automatic transmission. According to ConsumerGuide, the 2009 Chrysler 300 "LX and rear-drive Touring and Limited have a four-speed automatic transmission [and] all others use a five-speed automatic." While an automatic isn't disappointing by default, the fact that a four-speed is standard on the lower trims and there's no six-speed for the SRT8 is a bit of a downer. ConsumerGuide notes "both transmissions suffer some lag before downshifting, but the five-speed's manual shift gate helps." In terms of drive wheels, Edmunds states that the "Chrysler 300 LX is only available with rear-wheel drive," while "all-wheel drive is optional" for the Touring, Limited, and 300C trims.
Like the big domestic sedans of old, the 2009 Chrysler 300 is one thirsty vehicle. ConsumerGuide rates the V-8s below the class average for fuel economy, noting that a "test SRT8 averaged 15.5 [mpg]" and "300s with the 3.5 V-6 averaged 19.5 mpg in rear-drive form." According to the official EPA estimates, the 5.7-liter engine gets only 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway when matched with AWD.
On-road performance of the 2009 Chrysler 300 is impressive, matching a composed ride with some serious handling merits on the top-end models. ConsumerGuide contends that the 2009 Chrysler 300's "ride is generally smooth" and even "impressively smooth" on the SRT8, "despite 20-inch tires and performance suspension tuning." Cars.com says to "expect a confident feel through winding roads" and notes that "performance in snow and ice is amazing because of the Electronic Stability Program." Kelley Blue Book claims that "the suspension doesn't readily evoke that of a European sport sedan, but tight and true steering keeps you feeling in control of what is admittedly a large vehicle."
Harnessing all of the Chrysler 300's considerable momentum at high speeds are brakes that ConsumerGuide says "offer solid stopping power but suffer from occasional mushiness."
The 2009 Chrysler 300 handles well for such a big car, and you can fully enjoy the powerful engines.