‘Subtle’ isn’t a term you associate with the Chrysler 300C, but for less than you’ll pay for a rival V8 Holden Caprice or Statesman, you get pure American muscle.
In a market segment dominated by the Holden duo, Chrysler 300C is holding its own with a 23 per cent share (end of July). Even limousine drivers have swung to the Chrysler 300C – it provides a point of difference to the Caprice/Statesman, has a genuine luxury interior and is sharply priced – starting from $54,990 for the 3.8-litre V6 ($60,990 for the V8 model tested by Car Showroom).
Chrysler 300C Overview
Not the newest large size sedan, the Chrysler 300C is already a classic with only minor exterior changes for its in-your-face looks. And while the dramatic styling of the Chrysler 300C turned heads when it first appeared, time has not dimished its appeal and we still got plenty of stares during our week behind the wheel.
The growl of Chrysler’s 5.7-litre V8 at work also gets people’s attention.
And the rapid acceleration, plus the abundant interior luxury and strong smell of leather, confirmed the Chrysler 300C is more than just a curious American in the luxury sedan league.
Chrysler 300C Engine
The Chrysler 5.7-litre V8 doesn’t short-change in the performance or technology departments. Chrysler 300C pulls strongly all the way through to its 5800 rpm redline – accompanied by a hearty roar from the dual tailpipes.
Chrysler 300C delivers 250kW of power at 5000 rpm and peak torque of 525Nm at 4000 rpm. Combined cycle fuel consumption for the Chrysler 300C is 11.9l/100kms and the exhaust C02 emissions are rated at 283g/km.
As part of the most recent upgrades, the Chrysler 300C V8 gained ‘Fuel Saver Mode’ technology (Chrysler’s Multi-Displacement System) which cuts-out four cylinders on light acceleration and trailing throttle. A green ‘Eco’ light on the Chrysler 300C dashboard advises the driver when this is happening.
And it’s easy to drive the Chrysler 300C economically – we crossed Melbourne for over 40 kilometres and back on the Monash Freeway with the ‘Eco’ light shining brightly most of the way. In doing so, we easily kept up with other traffic
Chrysler 300C drives the rear wheels via five-speed automatic transmission with sequential manual mode.
For a car that weighs 1835kgs, the Chrysler 300C delivers impressive acceleration – zero to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds (not quite as fast as Holden’s 6.0-litre V8 Caprice).
Chrysler 300C Interior
In the last upgrades, the Chrysler 300C interior got some attention with LED lighting and some extra soft touch surfaces (arm rests and door panels). Chrysler also went upscale with the audio in the Chrysler 300C - to a Boston Acoustics/MyGIG eight-speaker 5.1 Matrix Surround Sound System with hands-free and a 368-watt digital amplifier.
Chrysler 300C delivers a sumptuous leather interior with the typically large American front seats (heated and eight-way power adjustment for driver and passenger). The Chrysler 300C boasts a beautiful, four-spoke tortoise shell/leather steering wheel which looks great but only adjusts for rake.
For the driver, Chrysler 300C provides four gauges (speedo, tacho, fuel and engine temperature) with very stylish graphics and nice chrome trim. To the left is a handsome chrome-trimmed clock and the center console (upgraded to a satin silver finish) houses the infotainment 6.5-inch touchscreen plus controls for the climate control air-conditioning.
The Chrysler 300C provides a 60/40 split-fold rear seat - nicely sculptured and supportive, but legroom isn’t huge.
Not surprisingly, given the rear styling of the Chrysler 300C, luggage space is abundant – 1602-litres with the rear seat folded or 772-litres with the seat in place.
Chrysler 300C Exterior & Styling
It’s the standout looks which are the talking point of the Chrysler 300C. The proportions – long bonnet, short tail, high waist and small glasshouse – provide a dramatic profile, reminiscent of classic American sedans from the 1950s and ‘60s.
The latest upgrades for the Chrysler 300C brought only minor changes – new taillights and a bootlid like the sporty Chrysler 300C SRT (including a high-mounted stoplight and integrated spoiler).
At the front, Chrysler 300C continues the dramatic look with its large chrome-trimmed grille, stylish dual headlights, low foglights and cleverly integrated bumpers with – you guessed it – more chrome.
Chrysler 300C runs 8-inch polished alloy wheels and our test car was fitted with 225/60 R18 Pirelli P7 tyres.
Chrysler 300C On the Road
At 5015mm overall length and 1880mm wide, the Chrysler 300C isn’t compact and it feels imposing on the road – particularly in tight CBD traffic. While rear three-quarter visibility is somewhat restricted by the small glasshouse in the Chrysler 300C, parking in our office car park was no problem – aided by front and rear parking sensors and an impressive 11.9-metre turning circle.
Both in the city and on the open road, noise levels in the Chrysler 300C were low and refinement levels generally very impressive. There was some suspension noise over tram/train track crossings but it wasn’t overly intrusive and the ride was compliant.
Tackling our high-speed mountain roads test loop, the Chrysler 300C impressed again with its refinement and excellent throttle response from the 5.7-litre V8 and nicely calibrated five-speed automatic transmission. In the twisty stuff, the Chrysler 300C delivered high grip levels and nice steering response however the ride was a tad too biased towards luxury – a bit softer than the Holden duo.
Chrysler 300C Challenges
Chrysler 300 runs twin arm front suspension and an independent rear end. Like most American cars, its ride is very compliant/comfortable but sporty drivers would prefer the set-up of the SRT8 model.
Chrysler 300C Verdict
All things considered, the Chrysler 300C delivers on its promise – it’s as American as NFL football and 4th of July, undoubtedly luxurious and provides an on-road presence that stands out from the crowd.
Chrysler 300C Competition
Chrysler 300C Likes:
You gotta love the looks; great V8; luxury interior
Chrysler 300C Dislikes:
Ride is a tad floaty; rear seat legroom