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Chrysler 300 vs Ford Mustang


US-built V8 performers look the goods. Joshua Dowling runs a gangster four-door against a pony-car coupe.

value

Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

$65,000

This is the cheaper SRT8. Chrysler took the leather seats, sunroof and chrome wheels from its flagship 300 SRT8 to create a "Core" edition to appeal to Commodore and Falcon buyers. It isn't cheap by local standards but engine is more powerful than Mustang. Servicing costs are prohibitive, at $3030 over three years and even steeper after that.

Ford Mustang V8

$57,490

A four-cylinder Mustang is $45,990 plus on-roads but the V8 that accounts for nine out of 10 orders starts at $57,490. Add $2500 for the auto. Ford also just raised the price by up to $2500 — it's holding 6000 orders and has an 18-month wait. It has leather trim against cloth in the SRT8. Capped servicing for three years costs less than half the Chrysler's bill at $1335.

design

Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

With its gangster looks, the sedan still seems more like a car to be chased by police than driven by them. The low roof and thick roof pillars restrict vision somewhat but it is more accommodating for rear passengers. The sports seats are superb, the interior looks upmarket but our test car had a few squeaks and groans.

Ford Mustang V8

The Mustang turns more heads than a Ferrari. If you skip the wait and buy the four-cylinder, it is next to impossible to distinguish from the V8 (5.0 badge on front fenders and GT badge on the boot). The interior is functional but doesn't look upmarket when parked next to the Chrysler.

technology

Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

Engine

The 6.4-litre Hemi (350kW/637Nm) is greater than the sum of its parts. It's easily quicker than the Mustang, pips the Commodore SS in the 0-100km/h dash and gives the Falcon XR Sprint twins a run for their money. Sounds great but, dare I say it, the exhaust note is too loud at idle.

Ford Mustang V8

Engine

The 5.0-litre V8 (306kW/530Nm) sounds great but the exhaust could be a little too quiet for hardcore enthusiasts. Those who've not driven a V8 in a while will love it but the reality is the Mustang V8 is slower than the latest Commodore SS and the Falcon Sprint editions.

safety

Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

It has seven airbags (one more than the Mustang) but comes with a sub-par four-star ANCAP crash rating that may cruel it for police duty. The four-piston Brembo brakes are good but not as strong as the Mustang's.

Ford Mustang V8

Six airbags but no ANCAP crash rating — the Mustang is a niche model and probably won't be independently tested locally. The sole crashworthiness comparison comes from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which gave the Mustang five stars and the 300C four.

driving

Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

The Core is the closest imported vehicle to the homegrown performance models from Holden and Ford. But it lacks the finesse of the local heroes, which have been honed on Australian roads for decades. The Chrysler is more plush over bumps but not as sharp in corners. The engine delivers plenty of thrills, though.

Ford Mustang V8

Despite big wheels with low-profile tyres, the Mustang does an admirable job of soaking up bumps and thumps. The grip from the Pirelli tyres is astounding and massive six-piston front brakes and four-piston rears complete the package. The six-speed auto gearbox overheated during police testing, so we won't see the Mustang patrolling the roads any time soon.

Verdict

Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

Ford Mustang V8

In a perfect world, we'd have the Chrysler engine in a car with the Mustang's suspension, steering, tyres and brakes. As an overall package, the Ford nudges ahead.