2017 Chrysler 300 SRT

The "Widebody Hellcat 300" is Just a Foreign Market SRT 300 with Big Tires

Spy shots showing what appears to be a newer Chrysler 300 SRT wearing the drag radial tires from the new Dodge Demon have ignited an inferno of rumors about a widebody Hellcat Chrysler 300 – but I think that this is just a current foreign-market SRT 300 with some lightweight wheels and drag radial tires.

The Chrysler 300 SRT has been gone from the US lineup for a few years now, but in several markets where the Dodge Charger is not offered and where the luxurious 300 is available, the 392 Hemi-powered Chrysler is the most powerful Mopar machine on sale today. The car above is the current SRT 300 offered in other markets and in addition to the 392 cubic inch Hemi that Americans cannot get in the 300, the sporty sedan has a more aggressive exterior design.

Last night, a collection of spy shots surfaced showing what was reported to be a Hellcat-powered Chrysler 300 with a widebody kit, but in reality, I don’t believe that it is anything more than the foreign SRT 300 with the lightweight wheels and drag radial tires from the newest Dodge Challenger package.

The “Widebody” Chrysler SRT 300
A variety of outlets have posted spy shots of what appears to be the newest Chrysler 300 SRT model, similar to the one sold in Australia, Japan, the Middle East, Zimbabwe and a handful of other markets, but due to the fact that it has drag radial tires, these outlets believe that it is a widebody 300 test car with Hellcat power.

I do not agree.

The red Chrysler 300 above is the current SRT 300 from those foreign markets, which we can see already has a flared design around the wheel openings, along with a front fascia which is far more aggressive than the 300C sold here in the USA. It also has a huge central grille and LED fog lights in the lower fascia vents, along with Brembo 4-piston front brakes and a low profile rear spoiler.

The reported Hellcat 300 spy shots (which we do not have permission to use, but you can check them out at AutoGuide) show a Chrysler 300 SRT test car which appears to have the exact same front fascia and the same wheel flares as the car shown above. It also has the same 4-piston front brakes, the same low profile rear spoiler and the same exhaust tips nestled neatly into the lower rear fascia. Some people might argue that the flares on the black test car are more prominent than the flares on the car shown above, but in looking over scores of pictures of both – this appears to be the same fender/quarter panel design as the current production model shown above.

The only unique feature of this black Chrysler 300 SRT is the set of 18 inch wheels wrapped in 315-wide drag radial tires. These are the wheels and tires from the new Dodge Challenger Demon and because of that, lots of people assumed that this was a widebody Hellcat 300 – but it appears to be the foreign market SRT 300 in every way other than the wheels and tires. In fact, if we swapped the wheels and tires in the red car above onto the black car that everyone is swooning over, it would look exactly like the Aussie SRT 300.

Hellcat Power? Probably Not
So the spy photographer caught a foreign market Chrysler 300 SRT wearing the wheels and tires from the drag race-ready Dodge Challenger and during that time, a witness allegedly heard what sounded like a Hellcat Hemi. The Hellcat has a distinct sound which an automotive photographer should be able to recognize, but I am still a little skeptical.

The biggest concern of the Dodge engineers when developing the Challenger and Charger in Hellcat form was engine cooling. The supercharged 6.2L Hemi generates lots of heat, and this is why the Hellcat Challenger and the Hellcat Charger have a hood with a front-facing air inlet to bring in as much cool air as possible along with two large vents to let the hot air out. On the other hand, this Chrysler 300 SRT test car with drag radial tires has the standard SRT 300 hood without any air inlets or heat extractors. It also has the same exhaust tips as the SRT 300, while the other Hellcat cars tend to have larger, more prominent exhaust tips than what is shown.

There is a chance that FCA is testing a Chrysler 300 SRT Hellcat model without the same cooling concerns and without the big tips that we see on the Charger, but it doesn’t seem very likely. Perhaps they are trying to see if they can get by without the hood scoop or vents, but with the cooling concerns – it seems highly unlikely that there is a Hellcat Hemi under the hood.

While it is completely possible that FCA is working on a higher performance Chrysler 300 SRT for those foreign markets where that package is still offered, the spy shots floating around the internet don’t prove anything more than the fact that the newest Dodge Challenger race wheels will fit on the 300 SRT from Japan and Australia.

Share this content.


Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.

Comments

When I saw the picture, I knew immediately it wasn't a "300 Hellcat". #1 FCA has specifically dropped SRT from Jeep and Chrysler. The new trackhawk offers the Hellcat engine, but is devoid of SRT badging. First, its a mistake. #2 Because Dodge lacks right-hand-drive cars, the 300 SRT and Jeep SRT are the only SRT products RHD foreign markets will have access to. #3 The 300 is supposed to get bigger, possibly placed ont he Pacifica's platform from what I've heard. #4 The 300 would NEVER have production tires like we were shown. the 300 SRT and 300 AWD V8 were dropped altogether because: a) the take rate dropped below 16% (I was one of the very few I'd seen on the road in fact) b) the v6 with AWD is so good, that the V8 isn't needed. The 300 fills Uber and limo services, but because it's so small compared to newer cars like the Impala, Genesis and XTS/ CT6, it's quickly being replaced in popularity despite its elegant looks. The 300 SRT and Hellcat should be continued in foreign markets and should be available for order in America. PERSONALLY, I doubt I'd ever buy another 300 because I've outgrown it. The JEEP SRT/Trackhawk is a far superior product thanks to AWD.