Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Chrysler hit the nail directly on the head when launching their reinvented 2005 “300” to the world. Not to be outdone by the original 1955 model, the massively, brash grille, wide body, user-friendly controls and stylish wheel packages of this American standard set the market afire — especially within the urban community — and found itself in comparisons to Baby Bentleys, featured in countless music videos, customized by throngs of owners and auto shops and the talk of many hip-hop and pop lyrics. It’s as if design innovator Ralph Gilles had a mirror on his office wall and a wizard foretelling the future of the Domestic brand from Detroit!
While administering earnest thought into the technological and design direction of the latest 2015 Chrysler 300, and still maintaining the sanctity of the trailblazing template, the product planning team ascertained that all elements of Detroit’s finest would meet the expectations of their current customer base while attracting newer conquests. Especially since the American manufacturer has witnessed a sales increase of 48% over the last four years. Of course there is no need to fix what’s not broken, however, as novel technologies, quality processes and design techniques come to fruition there is nothing wrong with evolving and improving upon excellence. For example, the newfangled Redline 3 Coat Pearl paint on the venerable 300S is simultaneously sexy, opulent and menacing. Add in the Hyper Black grille with Black chrome trim, 20” Hyper Black rims, dominant side sills, a distinctive rear spoiler, a performance-tuned suspension and a Gloss Black Clear Coat roof option, and you have one mean fighting machine. Think of the Lion’s Calvin Johnson downhill, full-throttle on a go-cart representing size, speed, strength and class for Detroit. It’s a win win scenario for all. Moreover, Chrysler is offering buyers a slew of choices, packages and combinations beginning with four trims signifying their unique merits including the Chrysler 300 Limited (base price $31,395 + $995 destination), 300S (base price $34,895 + $995 destination), 300C (base price $37,895 + $995 destination) and 300C Platinum (base price $42,395 + $995 destination).
To understand the gallant and riveting uniqueness of the new 300 I ventured to Austin, TX where the musically, soulful town’s inimitability parallels that of the suave sedan. It’s larger, more fuel-efficient and has luxurious interiors full of wonderful gadgetry from Uconnect and atmospheres stimulated by defining American metropolises. “Our new 2015 Chrysler 300 builds on its 60-year legacy of delivering world-class performance, elegance, sophistication, technology and craftsmanship – a combination that can only be found in our big, bold and proudly American rear-wheel-drive sedan,” said Al Gardner, President and CEO – Chrysler Brand. “Beyond its head-turning iconic proportions and even more commanding Chrysler front-end and grille, our new 300 is designed to reward hard-working individuals by delivering class-exclusive technologies, premium appointments and levels of quality of sedans costing thousands more.”
My first 300 drive experience on the country Texan roads came by way of a Phantom Black $46,890 ($42,395 base price) 300C Platinum appointed with the 5.7-liter V8 HEMI engine, 20” polished aluminum spins, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, leather trim, a heated, hand-stitched and leather-wrapped steering wheel with Magnesium paddle shifters and dual rear exhaust tips. When I sat behind the firm wheel and extolled the latest amenities all I could envision was the craftsmanship of German cabins. Remove the winged Chrysler insignia and you too would have walked away fooled as if magician David Copperfield was close by. The 8.4” Uconnect touchscreen with supplementary apps and features dominate the refreshed centerstack, an innovative rotary e-shifter creates more space and sophistication, big knobs and LCD icons are user friendly, two USB ports add utility and a new 7” instrument cluster signals the driver to various display alerts such as warning messages, vehicle speed and navigational direction. A level of intimacy and discretion was characterized by Chrysler’s election to pair the 300’s interior with contrast hues inspired by American cities such as Black / Ambassador Blue to represent Detroit or the Indigo / Linen found in my ride. To be exact the Indigo / Linen is indicative of La Jolla, California’s ocean vistas alongside sandy stretches. Quilted inserts are embedded within the Nappa leather door panels and exclusive Foligno leather from the Italian virtuoso Poltrona Frau enfolds the instrument panel and boarders of the center console. Opulence in a Chrysler seems counterintuitive, yet it works beautifully.
The V8’s acceleration is stellar and overall the full-size sedan handles well. Its HEMI features four-cylinder mode Fuel Saver Technology and bows out at 363-horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque. In comparison the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine receives 292-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is increased to 300-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque in the 300S. Both engines are mated to a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. Keep in mind the $2,500 AWD option is only available on V6 variants due to low take rates on prior year models; a pity because an AWD V8 is one of my favorite combinations since I’m based on the East Coast with its temperamental weather changes. I can envision winter tires on my Chrysler 300 HEMI to ascertain it becomes a four-season vehicle and not a part-time sedan when Jack Frost comes into town.
As stated, Uconnect has been amended and is the nucleus of your vehicle, controlling everything from 3-D navigation, Satellite audio, Wi-Fi, voice texting and roadside assistance to Bluetooth audio streaming. It’s one of the top three infotainment systems behind BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI in our book. Safety engineering and intelligent performance packages have been instilled into the Chrysler 300 through standard EPS, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, 9-1-1 call/Assist Call and Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus which operates independently from cruise control. A 10-speaker BeatsAudio 552-watt system provides the acoustics for your 300 Limited or 300S but I will be the first to say that I’m not a fan of Beats. I prefer my tunes from the likes of audio innovators Harman, Bang & Olufsen, Bowers and Wilkins or BOSE. Thankfully the 300C and 300C Platinum have the availability of the Harman Kardon 19-speaker, 900-watt, 12-channel, sound system. There is also the little Alpine 6-speaker system.
Chrysler has inherited the formula for success. No longer will they rest on their laurels while competitors blast forward with pizzazz, Aluminum hoods, Blackened inflections, character colors, reputations that lead to repeat purchases and — of course everyone’s favorite — LED lights. They have not only joined the pack but in specific areas they are leading it!