Pontiac G8 GT. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Justin Pritchard
Sport coupes are too small. Power utes are too big and thirsty. A minivan is out of the question, and so is the gas bill of a great big pickup. So, my fellow performance buff, if you’re after a go-fast machine with room for that special someone, some offspring, some gear and shopping and a high-powered wallop, what you’re after is a Serious Sedan.
Serious Sedans have four doors and are fast, which is awesome. Further, they communicate the fact that you’re a big deal, that you know what’s up, and that you’re a top-notch shot-caller that doesn’t take any junk from anyone. Hell, you could probably roll up to Burger King in your Serious Sedan, order a Big Mac, and still get one. Nobody messes with a serious dude rocking big power in a Serious Sedan like a Boss.
Turns out, the used car market is full of worthy options – including many that won’t require severing of your favorite appendage to fund. Here’s a look at a cross-section of some of the most affordable Serious Sedans on the road when space, high-performance, huge respect factor and relatively low purchase prices are priorities.
Are you extremely reasonable and don’t like having any fun? Stop reading now. If you’re after a four-door statement to the world that you mean serious business, read on.
2005 to 2010 Chrysler 300 SRT8
The Draw: This is the sort of luxury car that’s not so prissy and delicate that you couldn’t occasionally rock some AC/DC while eating fries from a greasy box on the dash. Plus, this SRT-powered variant of the ever-popular Chrysler 300 packed 6.1 litres of wholesome, all-American V8, good for 425 horsepower and exhaust sound effects that call automatic gunfire to mind. Big, fast and classy as all living heck, this model was the ‘sleeper’ of the SRT lineup – and only packed slight, discreet styling upgrades to match its upgraded punch.
Look for rear-wheel drive, a five-speed automatic, Brembo brakes, upgraded tires and wheels, and feature content including navigation, Bluetooth, xenon lights and more.
At track day, expect plenty of sauce for covering straights, and surprising-for-its-size handling grip, stability and durability from the braking system. And unlike all those STI guys, you can still drive home in style after laying down the smack in the lap of Detroit luxury.
Owners also like the generously sized trunk, roomy and comfy cabin, and relatively easygoing day-to-day driving experience. Look for a built-in performance and acceleration timer, but avoid using it when any member of your local constabulary may be nearby.
Chrysler 300 SRT8. Click image to enlarge
The Test Drive: A scan of the 300 SRT8’s computer system is advised to unveil any potentially hidden electrical headaches, and to ensure none of its engine sensors are getting fussy. Confirm proper operation of all high-tech features, ensure there’s plenty of meat left on the tires and brake pads, and have a mechanic inspect the driveshaft for signs of slop or worn joints. A few owners have reported driveshaft-related issues, possibly after discovering an unwelcome vibration while driving and inspecting the shaft to find a high degree of ‘play’. Other issues, including transmission fluid leaks and premature front strut wear, will be easy to spot on a pre-purchase inspection and shouldn’t be any cause for alarm if you’re somewhat mechanically inclined. This is a reliable-looking machine that packs a monster performance punch.
Useful: You’re about to drop some hard-earned cash on a new Serious Sedan – why not budget a few extra bucks for a tune-up and fluid change for extra confidence? If you’re unclear on the service life of the model in question, plan to have your favorite mechanic change the spark plugs, wires, brake fluid, transmission and differential fluid, engine oil and coolant. Your new Serious Sedan will thank you with longer, more trouble-free driving.