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The Chrysler 300 and 300C

Chrysler 300C taxi

We now have revised information on brakes, traction control, and the 2.7 liter engine (enhanced with a dual-length intake manifold system and electronic throttle control) - see the main LX page.

See an interview with LX leader Burke Brown.

2009 changes: new VCT Hemi with 359 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque; all wheel drive models have a new system that brings rear-wheel-drive style gas mileage, by only connecting the front axle when it's needed, spinning it up to speed on demand. The 300C Heritage uses the Dodge Charger Daytona suspension tuning for a better feel. Navigation system, stereo, satellite TV have all been updated. The SRT8 got a new grille and ABS, while ordinary models have an optional higher-grade interior. The Dub model was made briefly and then dropped.

For 2008, the Chrysler 300 was given similar interior refinements as the Charger, with new instrument panel, center console, and door trim panels; soft-touch surfaces on armrests and trim; a new taillamp design and deck lid; an iPod interface with UConnect; MyGIG hard-drive radios; remote start; Sirius back-seat TV; Boston Acoustic eight-speaker 5.1 Matrix Surround Sound amplifier with subwoofer (optional, as were MyGIG, Sirius, and UConnect!); new wheels on some models; and new packages and colors (interior colors added were dark and light gray, and dark beige.) The 300C got LED lighting in the front cupholders and both front and rear map pockets, optional adaptive cruise control, and an indication of whether the engine was running on four or eight cylinders.

Acceleration

Engine Power Torque 0-60
(seconds)
EPA RWD
Mileage
EPA
AWD Mileage
5.7 V8 340 @ 5,000 rpm 390 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 6.3 * 17/25 17/23
3.5 V6 250 @ 6,400 rpm 250 lb-ft @ 3,800 rpm 8.5 17/27** 18/24
2.7 V6 190 @ 6,400 rpm 190 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 10.5 21/28  
3.0 V6 Diesel 215 @ 4,000 376 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm   n/a  

* Popular Mechanics did 0-60 in 6.12 seconds.
** 89 octane recommended.

The diesel version, using a Bosch powerplant also used by Mercedes, would get far better mileage while achieving 3.5-liter acceleration (or better), but despite release in Europe, it is not available in the US.

300C trim

Pricing and such, as of 2006

The base retail price for the new Chrysler 300 was $23,595, including destination, making it roughly the same price as the current Concorde, but with more features and higher projected reliability, not to mention a V8 option. The base model features the 190 horsepower 2.7-liter V-6 engine, with a four-speed automatic transmission.

The Chrysler 300 Touring is the second model in the 300 line-up adding luxury content to its stylish package. This package includes the high output 250 horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine, 17-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, four-wheel disc antilock brakes, all-speed traction control, electronic stability control, emergency brake assist, chrome accents inside and out, and leather seating for $27,395, including destination.

chrysler 300c at night

The Chrysler 300 Limited adds premium content to the Touring Edition that is both elegant and affordable. For $29,890 including destination, the Chrysler 300 Limited features as standard 17-inch chrome clad aluminum wheels, electrochromic mirror, automatic headlamps, heated seats, power passenger seat, express-up and down front windows, dual-zone automatic temperature control and reconfigurable information center.

2008 chrysler 300c wood trim

The Chrysler 300C started at $32,995, with the 345 horsepower HEMI V-8 engine and an electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick®. All Chrysler 300Cs had dual exhaust tips, large performance disc brakes, unique chome exterior appearance, patented tortoise shell interior highlights, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, rain sensing wipers and Boston Acoustics six-speaker 288-watt digital amplifier sound system. Self sealing tires, adjustable pedals, seven-speaker 380 watt digital amplifier, GPS navigation radio and high-intensity headlamps with washers were also available, as is an interior wood trim package — available separately or with other luxury items.

All Chrysler 300 models include an 17-inch wheels, eight-way power driver's seat, manual tilt/telescoping steering column, a premium cloth interior and body color mirrors, door handles and moldings. Also available are self-sealing tires, power adjustable pedals, four-wheel disc antilock brakes, all-speed traction control, electronic stability control, emergency brake assist and the first OEM application of Boston Acoustics premium sound system.

All Chrysler 300 vehicles come with the Chrysler Premium Care Plan which entitles owners to a no-charge loaner vehicle any time scheduled maintenance or non-body shop repair is required during the initial three-years or 36,000 miles. This, combined with 24-hour towing assistance, ensures that a Chrysler customer will not be left stranded.

1962 chrysler 300

Cylinder deactivation

The 2005 Chrysler 300C was the first modern production vehicle in North America to feature cylinder deactivation when it went on sale in the spring of 2004. The Multi Displacement System (MDS) seamlessly turns off the fuel consumption in four cylinders of the 5.7-liter HEMI engine when V-8 power is not needed. This provides a world class combination of performance and fuel economy. More details are on our Hemi page.

Chrysler 300 dimensions - compared with Concorde and 300M

2005
Chrysler 300
2004
Chrysler 300M
2000
Chrysler Concorde
Wheelbase 120" 113" (?) 113"
Length 197" 197.8" 209"
Width 74" 74.4" 74.5"
Height 58.4" 56" 56"
Track 63" 62" 62"
Weight 3,700 - 4,000 lb 3,581 lb 3,476-3,556 lb
Ground clearance 5.6" ? 5.1" 5.1"
Weight distribution 53/47 (V6) 64/36 (?) 64/36
Drag coefficient .33 .313 .312
Interior volume 106.6 cubic feet (122.2 EPA) 105 cubic feet
(121.9 EPA)
107.6 cubic feet
(126.3 EPA)
Cargo volume 15.6 cubic feet (442 L) 16.8 cubic feet (476L) 18.7 cubic feet (530L)
Built in... Brampton, Ontario
Front head room 38.7 (983) 38.3 (974) - std.
37.1 (942) - w/moonroof
38.3 (974) - std.
37.1 (942) - w/moonroof
Front leg room 41.8 (1061) 42.2 (1071) 42.1 (1070)
Front shoulder room 59.4 (1510) 58.8 (1493) 59.1 (1500)
Front hip room 55.9 (1420) 57.4 (1458) 56.4 (1431)
Seat travel 10.6 driver, 8.7 passenger 8.7 (220) 8.7 (220)
Rear head room 38.0 (965) 37.7 (958) 37.2 (945)
Rear leg room 40.2 (1020) 39.1 (993) 41.6 (1056)
Rear knee clearance 4.8 (122) not available 5.9 (151)
Rear shoulder room 57.7 (1466) 58.7 (1490) 58.3 (1482)
Rear hip room 55.9 (1421) 59.1 (1500) 56.8 (1442)

Notes on the Chrysler 300M

The 300C is the same length as the 300M, but has less interior space. The V8 engine should overcome the objections of some reviewers and customers regarding the 300M, while satisfying those who remember that the original 300s generally had Hemis and rear drive. (We still suspect that, had high performance front drive technology and 250 net-horsepower V6s been available then, the 300 would have come with that configuration!). The five-speed automatic, while trumped by GM's upcoming six-speed, should provide more power to the wheels than the current four-speed, and the torque curves on the engines make six or seven speeds somewhat unnecessary except for bragging rights. An active suspension may provide handling better than the 300M without compromising ride, while gas mileage may well be better. On the darker side, this does not come for free. The interior of the 300M seems warmer and more luxurious, particularly with the two-tone beige option, and the price is certainly different: the base 300 is expected to retail for around $24,000, with the 300C Hemi topping out at $40,000 with options.

Marketing notes

The 300C is meant to help bring Chrysler into the premium market. This does not, as one may think, mean Cadillac, Lincoln, and Lexus; specific brands mentioned are Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Volvo, Acura, Saab, and Buick - brands which people pay extra for, but which have affordable vehicles. Chrysler is not meant to be going into the luxury market, according to Steve Bartoli (head of marketing and car planning), where it would compete with Mercedes - even though the LX looks like it will be better than the E-class.

Specific competition for the 300 is assumed to range from the Toyota Avalon to an Acura.

Drivetrain and suspension

See our primary LX page

Styling

The Chrysler 300C returns to the long hood, prominent grille, and low roofline of classic years. Eric Ridenour, Executive Vice President of Product Development, said, "While the Chrysler 300C pays homage to the very first Chrysler C-300 and other letter series cars that followed, it does so in a thoroughly modern way." Some say it resembles a composite Valiant as much as the C-300.

Chrysler 300C front view car

Valiants

1957 Chrysler 300C cars

Chromed details, such as the body side moldings, door handles and window surrounds, add a touch of elegance. There are more detail elements in the taillights, exhaust, and headlights.

Rear of Chrysler 300CThe rear end resembles the Chrysler New Yorker version of the LH car, as well as the 1970 Plymouth Valiant, 1990s Dodge Dynasty, and other classics. Unlike the Europe-leaning 300M, there are no amber turn signals.

Large tires on 18-inch wheels suggest ample reserves of power, with the rear wheels wider than the front ones as in other high performance sedans to underscore the rear-drive layout. The large 10-spoke rims leave plenty of room for serious brake hardware, while chromed dual exhaust pipes announce the long-awaited return to V-8 power.

Interior

The Chrysler 300C's interior has a handcrafted feel and uses distinctive materials and textures throughout. Tortoise shell, for example, is used on the steering wheel rim, shifter knob, and inside door pulls, while door handles and other accents are chrome, inspired by the 1998 Chrysler Chronos show car. In an unusual move, the tortoise shell actually made it into the production vehicle.

Evolving the design seen on the current Chrysler 300M, a four-gauge instrument cluster with chrome rims and a precision appearance are used in the 300C. The center of the instrument panel contains an analog clock, navigation system and heated seat switches. The 160 mph speedometer is probably overkill, though the car can reportedly exceed 150 mph. If you're doing over 140, you're probably not using the speedometer much.

Designer Ralph Gilles said that he had as much liberty as he needed in styling the 300C, asserting that it was as different from the Magnum as it needed to be. He noted that the most important part of the vehicle is the face, which is very different. The rear is, in person, somewhat reminiscent of past Chryslers, most recently the New Yorker (LH version), but before that the Dodge Dynasty and even circa-1970 A-bodies. Like most current Chrysler and Dodge designs, the 300C looks much better in person than in photos.

Below: 2008 300C, top, and 2006 300C, bottom. Starting in 2008 silver rings were printed on the gauge faces.

indiglo lights

chrysler 300c instrument panel

Mr. Gilles, in an informal conversation, noted that the basic vehicle platform imposed a number of styling restrictions, but that he felt it was very successful and distinctive. He noted that with a more "functional" look - that is, relatively squarish, though he opposed use of that word - the styling can be very challenging. "Imperfection is not an option," in his words. Every aspect of the exterior and interior was carefully thought out to work together as a whole and achieve a look of sporty luxury - the combination that made the original 300 series so successful.

The interior spaciousness is highlighted by a two-tone treatment, which work together to give the Chrysler 300C a sporty, yet opulent feel inside. The rear seats are split 60/40, and fold down for added versatility.

The spaciousness of the Chrysler 300C is enhanced by the more upright windshield pillars and overall profile of the new exterior design, resulting in a seating position that is two-and-a-half inches higher than the current 300M. This design enhances a command-of-the-road feel and aids easy ingress/egress. It may help to attract some potential SUV buyers, as well - and we suspect that's who the basic design proportions are geared to.

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