- Fancy old-school-meets-new-age styling.
- Large luxury interior.
- Sports-car chasing acceleration.
- Fuel-saving engine technology.
- Excellent value for money.
- Styling a bit much for some people.
- All-round visibility can be an issue.
- Brakes wear out quickly with aggressive driving.
- Fuel-saving technology doesn't save that much fuel.
- Automanual is more automatic than manual.
Press Coverage :
The all-new 2005 Chrysler 300Cís striking new proportions combine classic American design and power with proven DaimlerChrysler technology. Marking the brandís return to a rear-drive, V-8 powered automobile for the first time in more than a decade, the Chrysler 300C pays homage, albeit in a very contemporary way, to the first letter-series Chrysler 300s, which combined performance and prestige like no other vehicle of its time.
With an entirely new shape based on the companyís all-new rear-drive architecture, the new 2005 Chrysler 300 features classic proportions. Chrysler 300ís interior continues this noble, proud theme of the exterior, with a more upright windshield and seating position for a spacious feel. The seating position has been raised two-and-a-half inches compared to the Chrysler 300M to enhance the command-of-the-road feel and aid in easy ingress and egress. Distinctive materials and textures add a handcrafted touch and upscale feeling to the interior.
The Chrysler 300C marks the return of the HEMIģ engine to the Chrysler brand after 50 years. The legendary engine design that powered Chryslerís letter series cars in the 1950s has been re-engineered and reborn as a modern, high-performance, fuel-efficient and durable powerplant known as the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. With 340 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, the Chrysler 300C can go from zero to 60 mph in under 6 seconds.
Technologies such as Electronic Stability Program (ESP), All-speed Traction Control and anti-lock brake systems (ABS) have reached new levels of advancement to control rear-wheel-drive cars in ways that are transparent to the driver.
ABS keeps the vehicle straight, while retaining steering capability when braking on slippery surfaces by preventing wheel lock-up. All-speed Traction Control enhances mobility and prevents wheel slip when accelerating on slippery surfaces. It also provides a measure of directional stability controlóan advancement beyond prior traction control systems.
ESP enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability in turns, including uneven surface conditions and patchy snow, ice or gravel. If thereís a discernible difference between what the driver indicates through the steering and the vehicleís path, ESP applies selective braking and throttle control to put the car back onto the driverís intended path. The system is calibrated for better control of the vehicle under a variety of conditions and operates in a manner that is not intrusive under normal driving.
The 2005 Chrysler 300C is the first modern volume production vehicle in North America to feature cylinder deactivation. MDS seamlessly turns off the fuel consumption in four cylinders of the 5.7-liter HEMI engine when V-8 power is not needed, improving fuel economy up to 20 percent.
The Chrysler 300 is the first high-volume vehicle completely designed and engineered under the Chrysler Development System. The comprehensive, coordinated, product creation process improves quality and speed-to-market, while reducing costs and encouraging innovation in new products. These improvements in quality are demonstrated in the seven-year/70,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.
To start, we eked a hair-under-six-second time from 0 to 60 mph, impressive considering Chrysler pitted its 340-horse Hemi V8 against a 4046-pound curb weight. In actuality, the car feels faster, due in part to a fairly compliant suspension that allows for more dive and squat than we might otherwise like; launches literally "launch" you. That same compliance, however, gives the 300C a comfortable ride that feels as American as any car the past few years.
The carís 390 lb-ft of torque means you feel it pulling all the way down the drag strip. Passing speeds are especially impressive, with a 20-to-40-mph time of 1.9 seconds and a 40-to-60 in 3.0.
Our drag strip runs did reveal our first annoyance. Like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class on which itís based (or any Mercedes), in manual mode the transmission automatically upshifts at 5500 rpm (200 shy of redline), rendering the AutoStick irrelevant.
Besides all the nose-diving, the 300C feels only mediocre in braking. It also doesnít take more than a couple of high-speed stops in a row for the front brakes to smoke. But the 300C eats up only 121 feet coming to a stop from 60 mph, making it competitive for a car its size.
The 300 just wears its flanks yanked up like oversize trousers. Slinging an arm over the windowsill is a problem. Flattening a Ferrari in the blind spot caused by the high sills and thick C-pillar is a bigger problem.
Otherwise, good thinking abounds in the entire 300C lineup. The compact rear suspension mostly stays out of the trunk, a flat-floored, 16-cubic-foot closet. Its aluminum lid mounts with compound hinges to swing clear of foreheads. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold flat, opening up even more cargo space. We've sampled new Kias and Mitsubishis that don't do that.
When used for sitting, both the front and rear seats coddle the keister with a simple but effective bolster pattern and somewhat firmer foam than the usual domestic custard. The driver gets a dead pedal, and the live pedals can swing on an electric adjuster that is a $175 option. A Mercedes-brand tilting-and-telescoping steering column seals the deal for most body types.
The 300C's up-lux treatment includes nickel-plated plastic trim, a leather-wrapped wheel, and chrome gauge rings. The vents are delicate louvers that fold flush with one finger. The single flexible skin swathing the upper dash appears clean and squeak-resistant, although the dashboard's deep-cut grain is out of place. It doesn't say "opulent" as much as "off-road." The center bin is deep, the lid is so long that, when opened, it traps your right hand behind it. Regardless of what it's doing, the left hand has to help.
Nickels were saved on the plain two-tone door panels and rotary-knob climate control, which does have one noteworthy novelty: A "low auto" setting limits the fan speed and thus the noise of fan whoosh; "high auto" restores full bluster for more rapid temperature swings.
If a digital climate-control display and French-stitched-leather door inserts are the castoffs that pay for the 300C's excellent underbody, we won't complain. Chrysler's last rear-drive sedan was the 1989 Dodge Diplomat/Plymouth Gran Fury. Those are small shoes to fill, even without engineering inspiration from Mercedes.
Car and Driver
1999-2004 Chrysler 300M
3,500 cc / 250-255 hp / 255-258 lb-ft / 3581-3650 lbs / 0-60 mph 7.6 sec.