2011-2014 Chrysler 300C cars (and Lancia Thema) with Luxury Series
For 2014, SafetyTec was made optional on the base 300, instead of requiring 300C; SafetyTec included adaptive cruise, forward collision warning, blind spot/rear cross path detection, turn signals in the mirrors, front and rear park assist, and rain-sensitive wipers. SafetyTech no longer required the Light Group.
Each of the cars in that lineup had the V6 with the eight-speed automatics; V8 engines were optional on 300S and up, while 300S carried a 300 hp V6 (the standard V6 was 292 hp). All had leather seats. Starting late in 2013 and carrying into 2014, the 300S V8 did not require the Luxury Group, and a black-painted roof was optional on S and SRT cars.
The 2012 Chrysler 300 launched an optional eight-speed automatic with the V6; the eight-speed became standard in 2013. The 2012 300 SRT8 packed 465 horsepower; and 2012 also brought the Beat-equipped 300 S and high-end Chrysler 300C Luxury Series (née Executive).
The Chrysler 300C’s distinctive headlights sat next to LED daytime running lamps, which together formed a “C” shape. For better aerodynamics and visibility, the windshield was raked back 3 inches, while rolled-framed doors with thinner pillars improved outward visibility by 15%. A new dual-pane panoramic sunroof let in more daylight; the 300 also had chrome daylight openings, chrome front and rear fascia accents, and optional 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels. The Lancia Thema version was extremely similar, but had a slightly different grille and interior.
The base engine on Chrysler 300 was a V6 pushing out 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, with better highway mileage than the 2010 V6 and gas mileage rated at 21 city, 31 highway (on AWD models, due to extra demand on the driveline, weight, aerodynamics, and higher-resistance tires, that drops to 18/27). The 300S model had a 300 horsepower version of the V6 engine and a “sport mode.”
The eight-speed automatic dropped V6 0-60 times to 6.6 seconds, while raising gas mileage by around 3-4 mpg. The five-speed automatic, still used on Hemi cars, maintains the same gear ratios, with revised axle ratios. The 5.7 liter Hemi went up slightly to 363 horsepower, but gas mileage increased; 0-60 times were quoted at under 6 seconds.
Europeans also got a 188 hp or 236 hp (their choice) VM diesel, with better gas mileage, more power, quieter operation, and reportedly better durability than the Mercedes diesel used in 2010.
Standard on the 300C for Canada were ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, wood/leather-wrapped, heated, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, driver memory: seat, steering wheel, radio and mirrors, power backlight sunshade, SmartBeam HID headlamps with auto-leveling, heated/cooled cup holders, Uconnect Touch 8.4 Media Center with 8.4-inch screen, auto-dimming exterior mirror with auto adjust in reverse, and driver and passenger lower LED lighting.
There were four models (and an SRT8 for the 2012 model year): Touring (with V6), Limited (with V6, leather, heated front seats, fog lamps, backup camera, 18-inch chrome wheels, bright door handles, and more), 300C (standard V8), and 300C AWD.
|V6 (AWD)||V6-8spd||Hemi||SRT8||Diesel 1||Diesel 2|
|Horsepower||292 @ 6,350||363 @ 5,200||470||188 @ 4,000||236 @ 4,000|
|Torque||260 @ 4,800||394 @ 4,200||470||324 @ 1,600||406 @ 1,800|
|EPA gas mileage||18/27||21/31||16/25 (RWD)||14/23|
|0-60 time (US)||6.6||< 6 sec||~ 5|
|0-60 mph (Euro)||7.3||9.2||7.4|
For 2013, buyers could get a Chrysler 300C with a V6 (for the first time in history), and the 300S V6 had a boost to 300 horsepower. AWD was available on the 300. The Light Group (mainly HID headlamps) was separate from SafetyTec, which added rain-sensitive wipers. A black painted roof was optional on SRT8 and S.
For 2013, every model, including the base 300 (but not including fleet units), had standard leather; Limited was dropped, and Luxury was added. The Beats sound system was optional on all trims, standard on 300S. A new Chrysler 300 Glacier combined AWD with various appearance features, and the 300 horsepower setup from the 300S. New colors included Granite Crystal, Billet Silver, Jazz Blue and Phantom Black Tri-Coat.
The 300C now had heated/cooled cupholders and a gas cap built into the fuel filler door.
The deck lid had a lip spoiler, with the new Chrysler wing badge centered below. Rear taillamps had harmonious LED illumination, while signature “light pipes” illuminate. Straddling the vertical lamps, Chrysler 300’s rear fascia integrated a chrome appliqué that seamlessly connected the taillamp elements. Fascia-mounted 3.5-inch oval dual exhaust tips were standard.
Interior upgrades on the Chrysler 300 included soft touch materials, optional heated and ventilated Nappa (a full-grain, unsplit leather) seats, and real wood appliques on the instrument panel, doors, center console and steering wheel, as well as a new sapphire blue LED-illuminated ambient interior lighting. (Nappa leather is a full-grain, unsplit leather which normally has a specific tanning process that increases softness without sacrificing durability.)
Standard on the base 300 were side-curtain and seat-mounted side-thorax air bags, knee bag, rear head restraints, stability control, hill start assist, rain brake support, ready alert braking, touch-control audio screen with aux jack and USB input, wheel-mounted audio control, dual-zone automatic climate control with humidity sensor, front and rear climate control outlets, air filter, acoustic windshield and front door glass, black elm trim, 12-way driver seat, cruise, express up/down windows, auto-dim rear-view mirror, leather wrapped tilt/telescope steering wheel, floor mats, vehicle information center, LED interior lights, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels with P215/65 tires, automatic headlights, LED tail-lamps, dual chromed exhaust tips, power release gas door (with cap-free system), 17-inch compact spare, and chromed badge. That all came for $27,995 including destination (US).
For 2013, leather became standard on every 300, along with a moderate price boost.
In 2011-12, buyers could pay another $4,000 for the Limited, which added leather, heated front seats, voice control with cell phone capability, rear backup camera, alarm, Alpine six-speaker, 276-watt audio, LED illuminated rear cupholders, 18 inch chrome clad wheels with P225/60 tires (19-inch on AWD for Canada), chromed exterior mirrors and door handles, power folding and heated mirrors, and front fog lights.
The Chrysler 300C started at $38,995 in 2011, with numerous standard features and an upgraded interior. The 300C with AWD used a segment-exclusive active transfer case that raises gas mileage, and a tighter tire-to-fender fitment, 4 mm lowered overall ride height, 19 inch wheels with P235/55 tires, and badging; it started at $41,145 with destination. (The AWD system uses a clutch, and in cold weather automatically starts out in all wheel drive until it detects the absence of wheel slip.)
Buyers of Limited, 300C, and 300C AWD could get the SafetyTec group, with adaptive forward lighting, high intensity discharge headlamps (high and low beams) with automatic levelling, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear cross path detection, front and rear park assist, LED illuminated rear fog lamps, and mirrors with turn signals and approach lamp. The Limited also added garage door opener, rain sensing wipers, and SmartBeam headlamps. The Chrysler 300C Executive added real wood (with a low-gloss finish) and high-end leather. (For 2013, the lighting group was split from SafetyTec.)
The 300C SRT8 was also available with the 2012 model year, boasting a 391 cid Hemi engine and five-speed automatic.
300C SRT sales
oh2o reported that the percentage of 300C SRT8 sales have declined dramatically since its launch. These numbers are by model year. He wrote, “The 2006 model year 300C SRT8 still holds the all-time record for most SRT8s built in a single model year — around 10,200. The 2014 Jeep could be close to that number (maybe even a little higher), but the 2014 Jeep model year ran 18 months.”
The Lancia Thema, Europe’s version of the Chrysler 300, started at around $44,200 in Germany (plus 19% VAT) for the Gold version, with 3 liter diesel pushing out 188 horsepower or 236 hp through a five-speed automatic (see table above); the more powerful engine is available only in Platinum and Executive trim, with Platinum starting at around $51,000 before tax. An alternative, at the same price, to the higher end diesel is the V6 gasoline engine, coupled only with the eight-speed ZF automatic.
Lancia provided horsepower and kW figures. Converting from kW to horsepower yielded 188 and 236 horsepower for the diesels, but Lancia’s figures for horsepower were 190 and 239. Prices listed for Lancia are estimates based on Sept. 16, 2011 exchange rates and German prices as of the same date.
Quality and testing
Beginning with the 2011 model year, Chrysler increased testing miles by 50%; the 300 series sedans were tested for more than 7 million miles in the company’s scientific labs, at the proving grounds, and on public roads in environmental extremes.
Testing included regimented durability testing at Chrysler's extensive proving grounds where speed, road surface and times were closely controlled and monitored; public road testing with consistent routes and variable traffic and road conditions; and randomized testing where Chrysler employees evaluate pilot vehicles during every day driving conditions at home and work. The goal was to find and fix any potential issue before the customer does.
The Chrysler 300 had a new roof laser braze process, allowing a seamless transition from the roof to the door opening; the system was already used by Fiat, and cost nearly $12 million to install. The laser braze process uses an intense laser beam to melt a piece of silicon wire, applied by four robots, between the aperture and roof panel. This fully automated technology will give the new 300 the sculptural appearance of many luxury vehicles, while improving quality and cutting the cost of the process.
Another major change in the manufacturing process occured on the trim line, where employees analyzed all the parts used and segregated them into unique kits, delivered as such to the operator; this allowed operators to have more time for their work (instead of getting parts) and cut the chances of using the wrong part. The expected result is a 20% improvement in overall first-time build quality. The long term plan is to dramatically cut the number of forklifts, instead delivering materials by train-like tuggers, in smaller containers, improving efficiency and safety while preventing errors.
Suspension and braking
Switching to electro-hydraulic power steering increased efficiency; in addition, the 300 had new wheel hubs with low-resistance, high roll-back brake calipers with spreader springs, low-resistance tires and extensive use of LEDs for illumination.
Redesigned front- and multi-link rear-suspension geometries improved handling, while new suspension hardware delivered higher refinement. At the heart of Chrysler 300’s new suspension were isolated, lightweight front- and rear-suspension cradles that deliver an ultra-rigid assembly needed for precision and performance.
New monotube front-shock absorbers, springs, and a repositioned lower-front shock-to-suspension-link bushing improve control, ride, and comfort; these components increased durability, while reducing harshness. New front-suspension hydrobushings reduced ride harshness and prolong smooth braking characteristics.
At the rear, the 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan’s five-link rear-suspension design continued, with new roll-steer geometry, allowing independent control of camber and toe suspension movement. New monotube shock-absorbers and springs improve ride, handling, and dynamics; premium urethane jounce bumpers and suspension links with rubber shock absorber bushings help quiet the cabin. New upper and lower spring-seat isolators provided additional dampening for increased passenger comfort over bumps.
The 2011 Chrysler 300C AWD had a 0.5 inch (13 mm) tighter tire-to-fender fitment, a 0.15 inch (4 mm) lowered overall ride height and larger 19-inch wheels with wider P235/55R19 all-season performance tires. Chrysler 300C AWD had improved handling with new upper- and lower-control arms and shock-absorber bushings, as well as redesigned half shafts that had sealed high-precision bearing units for added durability.
The 2011 Chrysler 300’s road-holding was better, with new front- and rear-camber geometries. Set at -1.0 degrees in the front and -1.75 degrees in the rear, cornering is better, with its tires leaning inboard at the top relative to the body. New larger diameter front- and rear-stabilizer bars keep the chassis nimble during cornering and reduce body lean.
There were three suspension tunings on 300 and 300C. Comfort-tuned cars were the standard 300 Touring, Limited, and 300C, with 17 or 18 inch wheels. The Touring tuned AWD model was standard on AWD with 19-inch wheels. Touring-tuned suspensions were available on 300 Limited and 300C with 20 inch wheels.
Electro-hydraulic power steering (EHPS) applied variable steering effort to different driving conditions, analyzing steering angle, vehicle speed, engine rpm and chassis control systems 13 times per second. When the Chrysler 300 is stationary or moving at low speeds, the hydraulic pump increases power assistance; it reduces steering assistance at highway speeds, delivering a fuel savings of up to 1.5% by consuming less energy than a belt-driven pump. The touring-tuned suspension had 25% quicker steering, with 20% heavier on-center feel.
Braking systems had been improved both electronically and mechanically. The brake linings were revised, the brake booster replaced, and pedal travel and force adjusted. Performance linings on 300C (RWD) increased fade resistance and improved pedal feel. Parasitic-friction-reducing calipers with spreader springs were more efficient.
Meanwhile, in the electronic realm, hydraulic-boost compensation automatically sensed any failure in the vacuum, brake booster, or brake lines, and would run the ABS pump full time so brakes would perform as normal until the system is serviced. “Ready Alert Braking” was a segment-exclusive technology that sensed when the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator and applies a slight amount of brake pressure (not enough to slow the vehicle) to make sure brake pads and discs are correctly lined up in anticipation of a panic stop. Finally, Rain Brake Support applied brake pressure (not enough to slow the vehicle) to remove water film from brake pads when the windshield wipers were used.
Rumors: Were our sources accurate?
This section has been moved: see JackRatchett’s eerily accurate rendering and other predictions we made, right and wrong.