New Chrysler 300 2020: V8 rear-wheel-drive sedan keeping the brand alive in Australia

With Chrysler offering just the solitary 300 large sedan in Australia, playing in a quickly shrinking segment, would it be a safe assumption that the brand will soon disappear from local soil?

Not according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia boss Kevin Flynn, who told CarsGuide that the American brand will continue to offer its niche rear-drive sedan as long as there is still an appetite for it.

“Obviously the sedan segment is not growing, and the number of rear-wheel-drive sedans is now tiny,” he said.

“I think we’re the best package, if you said you want to buy a real muscle, four-door sedan, there’s only one car to buy.

“We’ll carry on making that available and enjoying it, as long as we keep getting the orders … and it carries on.”

Exactly how long the appetite remains is unclear, with Chrysler registering just 159 sales after seven months of trading in 2020, a sharp 17.6 per cent decline over the same period last year.

Though offered in three flavours, starting at $59,950 before on-road costs for the 210kW/340Nm 3.6-litre V6 Luxury grade and moving up to $65,950 for the V8-powered SRT Core, Mr Flynn confirmed that the top-spec SRT would be the brand’s focus going forward.

“The main car we’ll order is the SRT version, they come at the top end, we’ve added spec and some more customer value,” he said.

As such, the Luxury and SRT Core will be special order vehicles only going forward with no changes to pricing or specification for 2020.

The Chrysler 300 SRT however, jumps up $2500 to $77,450, but now includes the $4750 Luxury Pack as standard, which includes a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, premium leather interior, and luxury front and rear floor mats.

Powering the SRT is a 350kW/637Nm 6.4-litre Hemi V8, which sends drive to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission for a zero-to-100km/h dash in the mid-four-second range.

Equipment includes 20-inch wheels, adaptive dampers, 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, active exhaust, 8.4-inch multimedia system, heated and cooled front and rear seats, automatic high beams, and Brembo brakes.

As well as being the sole car offered by Chrysler in Australia, the 300 is also the single car classified in the sub-$100,000 upper large passenger car class by VFACTs after the discontinuation of the locally made Holden Caprice and Statesman.

Though the Ford Mustang GT also serves up rear-drive, V8 thrills for less than $100,000, the next cheapest bent eight sedans would be the Lexus GS F priced at $155,217 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S at $165,835.

“I think we’re probably on the back end of the era of that type of vehicle, but as long as there is demand, we’ll bring them in,” Mr Flynn said.