What is the Chrysler 300C?
The Chrysler 300C is a stars ‘n’ stripes take on the executive saloon, with loud and proud styling that stands out among the usual crew of German-born motorway cruisers. This second-generation model was introduced to Britain in 2012, and maintains the distinctive, gangster silhouette that got people talking about the 300C in the first place. That said, the new grille and headlamps look pretty generic.
This version of the big Chrysler saloon was developed under the guiding hand of Fiat, which owns 53.5% of Chrysler, unlike the previous 300C, which was developed with the help of Mercedes. The most noticeable improvements are to the interior and the ride comfort and road holding. The bad news is there has been an increase in price, some critics viewing its £35,995 as an optimistic punt for a Yank. It is still more affordable than competitor cars such as the BMW 530d or Mercedes E350 CDi, but for many consumers the price difference is not enough to lure them into Chrysler showrooms.
Only one engine is available in the UK — a large-capacity V6 turbo diesel, so this will never be a car that sells in large numbers. Company car drivers of exec express saloons mostly opt for the latest-generation single and twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engines. They are typically more frugal, and thus boast cleaner emissions and incur a lower tax burden. Even compared with six-cylinder engines from competitor cars, the 300C’s V6 is inefficient.
As for the driving experience, driven in isolation the engine seems powerful and punchy, with plenty of performance from low down in the rev range and a wide spread of torque that suits the five-speed automatic transmission. However, compare it with a BMW 530d or Mercedes E350 CDi and it’s noticeably less responsive, drinks more fuel and pumps out more emissions, while the transmission feels slower to respond to the driver’s demands. The ride is comfortable, but the roadholding and steering aren’t as satisfying as those German rivals.
Any owners of the previous model of 300C will be pleased to learn that the cabin of the new version is a vast improvement. The quality of the fixtures and fittings, and the design and detailing, is of a markedly higher standard. As standard, Chrysler fits a large touch-screen infotainment control unit, with satellite navigation; other features such as dual zone climate control and cruise control are all standard. Not much is left out.
The front seats are comfortable, but the rear seats lack headroom — a familiar bugbear caused by the 300C’s low roofline. If you love the car’s stand-out styling, you should be able to forgive it such shortfalls. The boot is also smaller than ideal, but at least the rear seat splits and folds so longer loads can be accommodated.
The one to buy
Chrysler 300C Limited
- £35,995 (correct at first publication)
- 2987cc, V6 turbo diesel
- 236bhp @ 4000rpm
- 375 lb ft @ 1600rpm
- five-speed automatic
- 0-62mph in 7.4sec
- Top Speed:
- Road Tax Band:
- L 5066m, W 1902mm, H 1488mm