All-wheel drive is optional on the 300C. Was it fair to the 300 letter-car heritage? The slab-sided car of old will not be missed, but the softer front-end treatment will take some getting used to. The profile of the all-new Chrysler 300 features the distinctive proportions of its predecessor with added design refinement for a more tailored appearance. Not just quieter than key competitors like the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon and Buick LaCrosse, the new 300 is among the quietest cars you can buy at any price. The improved torque output - including an additional 80 lb.
No other major automotive manufacturer offers the combination of these two independent technologies. At a media preview, I drove V-6 and V-8 versions. The drivetrain doesn't pack the immediate punch I've come to expect from a Hemi, but power gets exhilarating once the revs build. Hinting that this Chrysler sedan was born with attitude and street-cred — unique body-color fascia accents and mirrors, and black-accented headlamp bezels with matching sculpted horizontal grille blades in black chrome replace bright chrome to give the 2012 Chrysler 300S a low-key street presence. Given that visibility is still pretty poor all around and the adaptive cruise can be disabled hurray! The Hemi V8 option falls five ponies short of the Taurus' twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, but it does boast 44 additional pound feet of torque. Generally, though, the modern 300C and the original 300C were far apart in too many ways to count. So, too, does the 300, and that's something I couldn't say of its predecessor.
At the center is a huge 8. The same five-speed automatic pulls duty behind both engines, but an eight-speed will begin to spread across the lineup later this year. For better aerodynamics and visibility than the 2010 300s, the 2011-14 windshield was raked back 3 inches, while rolled-framed doors with thinner pillars improved outward visibility by 15%. For added detail, a new instrument cluster features two large gauge faces with Sapphire Blue illumination and chrome ring accents. On the skidpad, the 300C was held to 0. The roof still hunkers low, and the belt line still rides high. More than simply a step in the right direction for the automaker, the 300 presents a compelling choice for anyone shopping full-size cars or entry-level luxury models.
Well, the original 300 was named after the gross horsepower of the engine; and the 292-hp net V6 certainly generated at least 300 hp, gross. Sans kids, the optional Alpine stereo can be turned up to ear-splitting levels without provoking any rattles. Too much speed in the corner will eventually push the front wheels wide, but it's more fun to hang the back end out with a bit of appropriately applied throttle. When you step out of the driver's seat, you can't help but grin a bit. It's not quite as well-mannered as the Hyundai Genesis, but you'll drive more confidently with this setup.
The suspension soaks up bumps well, isolating the cabin most of the time. New monotube shock-absorbers and springs, with premium urethane jounce bumpers and suspension links with rubber shock absorber bushings, reduced noise and improved ride, handling, and dynamics. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides maximum low-end torque while optimizing high-end power. It's also the only rear-wheel drive car in the group, and has more attitude than all three put together. 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 tradeoff comes in a firmer ride — it picks up more rhythm over bumpy pavement — and higher steering effort around parking lots, but I didn't find either aspect objectionable.
We evaluated an all-wheel-drive Dodge Charger last May that had the same system, and on wet roads it allowed the rear tires to spin far too long before routing power to the front ones. Another major change occured on the trim line, where employees analyzed all the parts used and segregated them into unique kits; this allowed operators to spend less time getting parts, and cut the chances of using the wrong part. Its stern is now cleaner, too, with exhaust finishers integrated into the valance and a chrome bar connecting the taillights—although the latter look overwrought with the shiny stuff laid inside the lenses. We've dinged the five-speed automatic plenty for being hopelessly out of date, but in tribute to its heritage, the old slushbox still ably plays the part of a luxury sedan transmission with smooth, quick shifts. When running in four-cylinder fuel saver mode, the engine delivers up to 20 percent improved fuel efficiency.
Saddled with another 158 pounds, its 3. That's hardly a revolutionary idea. There were 2 men at the desk next to us chowing away on pizza. As fitted to our test car, the Touring suspension—a requirement with the 20-inch wheels—offers taut body control. The 300 Limited and 300C swap the 300's standard 17-inch alloy wheels for 18s. Starting late in 2013 and carrying into 2014, the 300S V8 did not require the Luxury Group. A legendary and luxurious performance car was born.
While the giant grille is still there and still available in -aping mesh, the real change is in the slick new headlights. Step up to the optional 5. Would have bought it if I had a better experience. Road-holding improved as a result of these changes; The new front camber -1. New front-suspension hydrobushings reduced harshness and improved brake feel.