7

10

Model

SRT8 Core

Price

$56,000

The Numbers

SRT8 Core, 6417cc, HEMI V8, RWD, 347kW, 631Nm, 13.0L/100km, 303g/km CO2, 0–100km/h in 4.5secs, 1946kg

The Topgear Verdict

Launch control! On a sub-$70k car. That's bargain-bin bucks for a proper straight-line demon.

2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

This, friends, is the SRT8 Core, which means it has less toys in the cabin but goes like the absolute clappers, at least in a straight line. (And also costs ten grand less than the full-fruit version, which would almost cover your fuel bill for the first couple of months.)

There’s a ludicrous 6.4-litre V8 under that football field of bonnet – it’s so insistent that I was caught unawares by how briskly it’ll move off as soon as you put it in gear; as soon as you let off the brake, before you even touch the throttle, it lunges forward, looking for red meat and green lights.

Stab enthusiastically at the gas and you get pressed into your seat, but this thing also has launch control, which is like bringing a gun to an anything fight – short of running into a genuine supercar, there not much on the road that can keep up with you in a straight line. It really is like packing heat: you keep looking for an excuse to blast something.

And it’s hard not to let power like that go to your head. Like always putting yourself in last metres of a merging lane at red lights, just for an excuse to slingshot past the competition.

And I can’t deny that it makes me feel a little bit like Tony Soprano. Not just because the styling still has more than a hint of mobster about it – it’s just a loud, even threatening, presence on the road.

Cruising around Kings Cross, where mobster cars feel right at home, pedestrians walk out in front of cars without even looking. They even walk down the middle of the road, giving cars the stink eye – their moral high ground is basically "If you drive on the road, I’ll be forced to walk on the footpath."

And some cars just don’t have the muscle, the sheer presence, to really encourage – okay, to scare – these dawdling goons off the road and back onto the footpath where the good Lord put them.

I’m in the Core, waiting at the lights and ready to launch – y’know, launch up to the speed limit – when just as the light goes green, some dweeb across the intersection steps off the gutter to cross. But when the snarling soundwave of that sabre-tooth-sized V8 reaches his ears – with a trace of howling wheelspin, the price of funnelling 347kW through the rear wheels – the ancient lizard parts of the Dweeb’s brain snap directly into fight-or-flight mode, and he straight up runs for the safety of the footpath. Not that I was trying to clip the bum, officer, but someone needed to give that gavone a message that this is our turf, you got it, stugats?

Actually, maybe I need something a bit less gangster, before I end up with a rap sheet.

Reviewed by: Tim Keen

Driven: November 20, 2013