As the large Chrysler 300 sedan, with its signature large square grille, nears the end of an 18-year production run, the brand unveiled a special edition last Tuesday night in Detroit. That model, the Chrysler 300C, comes with a 485-horsepower V8, but it could have had a lot more power than a supercharged engine.
The only problem: all supercharged V8s from Chrysler’s parent company Stellantis are already being used in other cars.
Still, the Chysler 300C sold out by mid-morning Wednesday. All 2,000 cars for the United States and 200 for Canada were quickly reserved.
This special edition will be the most powerful 300 on offer by a wide margin. The next most powerful version you can buy is the 300S, with its 363 horsepower 5.7-liter V8. But Stellantis produces much more powerful versions of the same engine, and they could have been used in the 300 as well, spokesman David Elshoff said. But there just weren’t enough of those monstrous V8s to drive around—not with Chrysler, like much of the auto world, transitioning to electric power in the next few years.
Chrysler has announced that it will be Stellantis’ first US brand to sell exclusively electric vehicles, something it plans to achieve by 2028. Dodge, another Stellantis brand, has not announced when it will become an all-electric brand. Tim Kuniskis, head of the Dodge brand, insists he doesn’t have a specific year in mind.
Supercharged versions of the famous Hemi V8 producing 717 and even 797 horsepower are offered in the Dodge Charger, a car that, although different from the outside, is almost identical to the Chrysler 300 from a structural and technical point of view. Those engines would certainly have fit in the roomy engine bay of the blocky 300.
The engines for both cars are produced at the same plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. The Dodge Charger is marketed as a “four-door muscle car”—a more practical version of the closely related Dodge Challenger coupe—while the Chrysler 300, with its Bentley-esque exterior, is marketed as something more like a luxury sedan.
The same 5.7-liter used in the Chrysler 300S is also used in the Dodge Charger R/T. The larger, more powerful 6.2-litre engine used in the limited edition 300C is used in the sportier Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack, which is not a limited edition model. The same engines are also present in the Dodge Challenger models and in the Dodge Durango SUV.
But the Dodge Charger and the closely related Challenger are offered with those much more powerful supercharged engines. Dodge has also announced that it will offer the 710-horsepower Dodge Durango Hellcat SUV, which uses a supercharged Hemi engine. Those models use all the supercharged engines the Mexican factory can make, Elshoff said. Stellantis doesn’t provide specific breakdowns of how many of each model are sold with supercharged engines, but by the end of 2023, Stellantis will have sold more than 80,000 so-called Hellcat Hemi engines, he said. The Hellcat engine was first introduced in 2015.
But these Hemi V8-powered cars, with or without superchargers, will go out of production after the 2023 model year. (The Durango Hellcat SUV may stay in production longer.) Dodge offers its own line of special edition cars for them to run. Dodge recently unveiled a concept version of a planned all-electric muscle car.