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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Many of you gave me excellent feedback on my initial post about wanting to get a 300C:
link ...

I was able to pickup a 300C from Advantage Car Rental this past Monday morning and I returned the car yesterday (Thu) morning. I drove it Monday and Tuesday, my wife drove it Wed, and I drove it back to the rental place Thu. Here is my honest feedback on what I found.

Now my feedback might seen somewhat negative at first, but please remember that I currently drive a 2002 M3 Coupe and that my other car is a BMW 525, so I am (for good or for worst) very biased as to what "I" feel a car should drive. I have now 3 years of auto cross experience with my M3 so I am very, very picky about how the steering, suspension, and brakes should feel like. Besides my current two BMW's I have owned an RX-7, Miata, Camaro Z58, and a BMW 535, and I have taken test drives on everything from Corvettes to a 2001 & 2002 BMW M5, 2001 & 2002 BMW 540 Sport, 2004 BMW 745i, and even a 2004 Ferarri Spider (which for ever will hunt me due to its incredible engine and sounds!), so I know I "do" have a bias towards true sports cars. I should also point that I travel very frequenty all over the USA for my job and I have driven pretty much all american cars available in the rental fleets, and all pretty much suck real-bad until I drove the 300C this week.

So I am not trying to replace my M3 with a car "just like it". My "reference" car, or the "bar" what I was using to compare the 300C was the BMW 540 Sport, with the BMW M5 as the uper end, high performance sports sedan. I was not going in expecting the 300C to meet this bar, but I was willing (and did) spend a couple hundred dollars in the rental of the 300C to find out.

With that said, here is how I rate what is really important to me as a performance car on a 1-10 scale for the 300C:
- overall: 6-7 (my M3 is about a 8, 2002 M5 a 10)
- engine (acceleration, versatility) : 7 (my M3 is about a 9, M5 a 10)
- brakes (linearity, control, and feel): 5-6 (M5 was an 8, my M3 an 8 with stock brakes but with my Stoptech package a 9, a 1995 BMW M3 Coupe had the best stock brakes of any car (except the Ferrari) that I have ever tried so it gets a 10)
- suspension (sport-wise): 5 (M3 is a 9, M5 an 8)
- suspension (confort-wise): 9-10 (M3 is a 5-6, M5 an 8)
- handling/turning (rapid and steady-state): 5-6 (M3 is a 9, M5 an 8)
- weight(nimble from the driver's point of view): 6 (my M3 a 9, the M5 an 8)
- value for the money: 8-9 (my M3 an 4, the M5 a 6, the 540Sport a 7)

Note that as part of being honest I have to admit that the M3 and the M5 are simply "terrible" in terms of value for the money, with the 540Sport being a little bit better, but still not even close to the 300C. For the money, the 300C wins hands down, but unfortunately that is just not enough for me.

So to me the 300C is a great car for the money and an "exceptional" bargain considering what you are getting for about $35K. The 300C is a large size sedan with a fantastic engine, which has one of the best suspensions available today for an american car, BUT, that it does not quite match "my" expectations as to what a performance sedan should feel like.

So here we come to "what do I do now?" Read on ...

One of my co-workers has a 2006 SRT8 and I have been keeping him up to date on my quest for a large performance sedan to replace my M3. After I shared with him my feedback (as shown above), he offered for me to do a quick test drive on his SRT8 since he did not wanted me to give up yet.

I test drove the SRT8 today, and I must say "Holly Cow - this thing was awesome!!!". The SRT8 simply meet all of my target expectations and even felt just like a 540Sport, almost as nice as the M5. Now, remember that the 540Sport is about $60-65K and the M5 (the V8 one) was about $80, so the SRT8 is definitely a serious bargain at $45-50K :)

So here is my dilema. The car that I loved was the SRT8, not the 300C. I want an SRT8 - really bad, but it is an additional $10-12K above my budget so I am looking at options.

I am considering getting an 300C knowing well that I would be modifying the suspension and wheels/tires (at a minimum) and perhaps the brakes to match as close as possible to what I felt today in the SRT8. Is it even possible? Does the SRT8 has a different steering system that is not available on the 300C? Would the money in upgrades bee so much that I might as well save and buy an SRT8 later on? Should I just look for an used SRT8 instead?

Will
 

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Well to get those same brakes on the car another poster once mentioned a high figure, I think around $3000. Anyways, 10-12k more for an SRT8? I thought it is more like $6k more for the SRT8? If you are counting dealer markup in that 10-12, don't. It's at the point where they all cave if you don't want to pay the markup, except maybe in SoCal from what I read.
 

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If you want the best of performance, price and

practicality, the 300C is the way to go.

It is NOT a sports car, but it can easily run with some of those you have mentioned and owned. The SRT8 on the other hand is all performance.

You will never get the C to perform like the 8 unless you do some major motor mods. In that case you will be spending as much and probably should wait to get an 8.

I love my C. With the mods I have and will be doing, it's performance is fine for me. But that's just my opinion. I have owned a few great muscle cars (340 six pak Dart and worked Dodge Demon that ran in the low 11's. This will never do that, but it's a street daily driver for me, and it is plenty of fun.

You will also not want to do a lot of the exterior mods on the 8 that would probably be done on the C.

Like said by other The C is for modding and some dragging, and the 8 is strictly for dragging. Again JMO!!

 

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wquiles said:
So here is my dilema. The car that I loved was the SRT8, not the 300C. I want an SRT8 - really bad, but it is an additional $10-12K above my budget so I am looking at options.

I am considering getting an 300C knowing well that I would be modifying the suspension and wheels/tires (at a minimum) and perhaps the brakes to match as close as possible to what I felt today in the SRT8. Is it even possible? Does the SRT8 has a different steering system that is not available on the 300C? Would the money in upgrades bee so much that I might as well save and buy an SRT8 later on? Should I just look for an used SRT8 instead?

Will
The SRT8 steering system has an upgraded pump, and is revalved, the 300c brakes would cost serious money to upgrade to SRT8 level of stopping performance.

It also is factory lowered, has upgraded shocks, larger swaybars, uprated suspension bushes, forged 20" wheel/grippier tire package. Cornering increased to .89 or .90G (dependant on which test you read)

There's a chunk of performance and dollar value in that. Then there's the engine/drvetrain improvements.

But make no mistake it's no M5 and it can be a brute.

If you (like me) still need that fix of performance to keep your life "more interesting" justify the SRT8.

Zilla
 

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goddardzilla said:
It also is factory lowered, has upgraded shocks, larger swaybars, uprated suspension bushes, forged 20" wheel/grippier tire package. Cornering increased to .89 or .90G (dependant on which test you read)
Numbers which are understated btw because they were done before the more-off position was added to the ESP so the system was pulling the cars in a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Based on the feedback so far, I could maybe improve some aspects of the 300C, but really can't make it feel/drive the same due to the steeting changes - which was the one thing I loved most about the SRT8. Even if I could, it sounds based on your feedback that it would/could be VERY expensive as well.

Oh well - I guess I will start saving more and/or looking for an used SRT8.

Thanks all,
Will
 

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Are you sure it was a "C"? I have yet to see a rental with the HEMI. Could be ... but I have not seen one. Most non-DC owners refer to any of the 3 models as a "C", so I would not be surprised to hear of a rental agency desk person calling any old 300 a "C". BUT, you seem to be a car person so I'd hope you looked for the badge. I have driven a 540, stick shift, and it went like stink, but I sure couldn't give it very much higher than the "C" would get. Thank you for the nice (?) comments on the 300. It ain't no BMW, but for a large sedan .... it is a pretty nice piece, EH?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
[QUOTE="C"for me]Are you sure it was a "C"? I have yet to see a rental with the HEMI. Could be ... but I have not seen one. Most non-DC owners refer to any of the 3 models as a "C", so I would not be surprised to hear of a rental agency desk person calling any old 300 a "C". BUT, you seem to be a car person so I'd hope you looked for the badge. I have driven a 540, stick shift, and it went like stink, but I sure couldn't give it very much higher than the "C" would get. [/QUOTE]


Yes, it was a "C". In fact, it took a while to find a rental company that had the "C" and then only one location here in DFW (at the airport) had them. It was not cheap either :(


[QUOTE="C"for me]Thank you for the nice (?) comments on the 300. It ain't no BMW, but for a large sedan .... it is a pretty nice piece, EH?[/QUOTE]

Yes, I meant every word I said. The 300C is simply phenomenal in its segment/class. Besides its cousins (Charger, Magnum), you can't find anything with this much value in this price range - nothing. If there was a "Sports Package" for the 300C that would give me the "feel" of the SRT8, this would be a no brainer ;)

Will
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What about the Charger R/T with the R&T Performance Package? I am starting to read that this package might actually drive prety nice. Anyone tried it?

Will
 

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wquiles said:
What about the Charger R/T with the R&T Performance Package? I am starting to read that this package might actually drive prety nice. Anyone tried it?

Will
I'm sure it's nice from the inside looking out........ problem is you occasionally have to look at the damn thing from the outside too!
 

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For me, the photos of the Charger left me cold. Then I saw one and it looks much better in real life. In fact I think it is very nice .... I wish they had upgraded the interior a bit though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
[QUOTE="C"for me]For me, the photos of the Charger left me cold. Then I saw one and it looks much better in real life. In fact I think it is very nice .... I wish they had upgraded the interior a bit though.[/QUOTE]


It is true guys - to me the 300C wins hands-down the style side of the equation. At a minimum, the Charger needs the rear spoiler to look "decent" :)

I finally talked to a local Dogde dealer and it looks like they have a Charger with the HEMI and the sports package/suspension. If I can I will try to test it on Saturday. I will report on what I find out ...

Will
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It took a while, but the dealer finally got a Charger R/T with the Road and Track performance package. Among many smaller things, this package has the re-worked steering and firmer suspension. I asked and was able to keep the car for about 1/2 hour (I drove it for about 25 miles or so), and must report that if felt GREAT!. The steering and suspension package trully makes the Charger feel about 8 to 9 tenths of what the 300C SRT8 felt like. I still like the styling on the 300C better, but given that this sports package is not available on the 300C, I am buying a Charger in the next couple of weeks or so (depends if I can find one with the options I want).

I wanted to thank the forum members for all of the good advice I received during my quest to get a large family car that is also fun to drive.

I will post pictures once I get my new ride. Talk you guys later ;)

Will
 

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marlinspike said:
I like the Charger from the outside a lot actually.
As do I!! Saw one on the road the other day. My neck is still sore. :silly:
 

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Guess, I'd like to see the same line-up of ratings for the impression of the SRT-8... if you can get there with mods on the 300C and save a few bucks and get the economy of the MSD when you're not "pushing it" - then why not?
 

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300c or SRT-8

GoofyTimL said:
Guess, I'd like to see the same line-up of ratings for the impression of the SRT-8... if you can get there with mods on the 300C and save a few bucks and get the economy of the MSD when you're not "pushing it" - then why not?
I'm not dissin the 300c or my brothers driving them, however, the SRT-8 is NOT just a 300c with a few "MODS". The sheet metal is the same, not much more. If you want or need the performance stop thinking and buy the car you REALLY want
 
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