Executive flagship is launched
The previous Chrysler 300C became something of an iconic car with its bad boy low rider look, but the MK2 model, while retaining some styling cues, opts for a less extreme styling treatment.
This big, affordable rear-wheel drive car has to be able to carve out a niche somewhere. And is especially desirable in plush flagship 'Executive' form.
Power in both 300C variants comes courtesy of a 3.0-litre diesel engine that's good for 236bhp. With a hefty 540Nm of torque on tap, it's never going to feel under-gunned when performing an overtaking manoeuvre, even if it is hauling just over two tonnes of weight. The steering is an electrically-assisted setup as is the norm with most cars looking to pare back their carbon emissions these days, while gear changing duties are marshalled by an eight-speed automatic transmission which is a vast improvement over the clunky old five-speeder on older 300C models.
For all of Chrysler's denials, there was little getting away from the fact that the previous 300C shared a lot of its components with an antediluvian Mercedes E-Class. This time round, the underpinnings are a whole lot fresher and as a result of that, the ride quality is better and refinement has improved immeasurably. A lot of resource has been poured into improving acoustic insulation and the 300C scores well in reducing engine, wind, tyre and suspension noise. With so many premium German cars choosing to adopt a sporty ride quality, there's space for the 300C to capitalise with buyers looking for something extremely unruffled, almost in a Lexus tradition but with the big plus of a diesel engine.
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In its basic proportioning, this 300C has changed a little from its predecessor. It's no longer quite so slabby and imposing, and the bonnet that once looked about the dimensions of a ping pong table now seems more manageably sized. The stubby boot is a clever way of balancing the reduction in size of the front end, although the blockhouse superstructure still has echoes of the old car. If you're looking for voluptuous curves, you've come to the wrong place, but the detailing is a little softer than before. The interior is radically improved on the Dixons midi system standard of silver plastics of the old car. There's some stitched leather, a shapely centre stack, some very cool cowled clocks, massive – if rather flat – front seats and a tidy multifunction steering wheel that definitely has some hints of Volvo about it.
With a cleaner and more economical engine, the Chrysler 300C would be a ready recommendation. As it stands, it's something that will only really be purchased by private buyers who have fallen for the looks. It's undoubtedly a handsome thing and its stylists have done a very deft job in re-imagining the 300C theme for more modern times. The blend of sharp lines and the odd gentle bulge and curve works really well from front to back and the interior is leagues better than before. Couple this with the excellent dividends paid from efforts to improve refinement and you get a very handsome car that's delightfully composed.
Is that enough? For a modest core of private buyers, yes it is and when the generous equipment levels of the flagship 'Executive' variant are factored into the equation, the 300C more than does enough to justify its existence.