2008 Chrysler 300C Hemi V8 review

With great power comes great responsibility, but Botchi Santos just wants to have fun. He discovers that this sedan is a willing accomplice
Jun 12, 2010

Top Gear Philippines Car Review - 2008 Chrysler 300C Hemi V8 

Ok, first things first: What exactly is a Hemi? And what's so special about it? Well, the word ‘Hemi' comes from the word ‘hemispherical'--which is the shape of the Dodge/Chrysler V8's combustion chamber. It's actually a reincarnation of the pushrod Hemi V8 of muscle-car yore from the American manufacturer's glory days of big engine displacements.

More modern pent-roof design combustion chambers have been known to create more power, torque and efficiency--but also being less prone to poor emissions and detonation. Thanks to modern 21st century engineering, the hemispherically shaped combustion chamber V8 and the pushrod-actuated overhead valve design live on, giving the 300C a truly American muscle-car feel.

However, combined with the previous-generation W210 E-Class platform on which the 300C is based, there isn't much gangstarappin' hooliganism apparent--only smooth, controlled aggression.

Initially, it seems like a weird combination, but ultimately, for the discerning buyer who wants something more unique and a real bargain in terms of panache and performance, it's hard to beat the 300C Hemi V8.

The only letdown with the 300C that we're reviewing is the exterior appearance. It looks exactly like a regular 3.5 V6 300C. If only it had the Bentley-style aluminum honeycomb-mesh front grille and bigger, badder 20-inch wheels, then the 300C Hemi V8 would really look like one real bad mutha fu... (sorry, no bad words in TG).

Now for those concerned with fuel economy, the 300C Hemi, or Hemi for short, has what's called the Multi-Displacement System. It will--during long idling periods and on low-throttle cruising--shut off half the cylinders, effectively making it a four-cylinder engine.

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All in, the fuel economy isn't that great but is still a most welcome 20 percent better than a typical V8. Not bad at all. The only giveaway is a slight rumble and vibration you feel at your tush as the MDS system turns on and off. At full chat, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 delivers a powerful 340hp and, more importantly, 528Nm of torque. Definitely one bad mutha...well, you get the point.

Inside, there's enough leather to justify having your own ranch, growing cows and selling premium hide. It isn't as exquisitely soft as that of a premium European marque, though still considerably softer than the typical Japanese executive/luxury sedan sold locally. Add to this the very roomy interior and you feel like you're inside a nice lounge. Sadly, the Boston Acoustics audio isn't so great, and the seats aren't so comfortable.

In short, what I'm saying is that the 300C Hemi is a good car. It's not bad, but if Chrysler could engineer more feel and fun into it, it would be much better--enough to really steal away sales from European luxury brands.

Or perhaps I'm missing the point. One can only be satisfied with a 300C Hemi as it barrels up the driveways of Embassy, Warehouse or Serendra--with its big wheels and grille--complete with a scantily clad model in the front seat.

Source: Top Gear Philippines, April 2008

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