Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
The fall of 2015 was pretty exciting since we attended over 20 car and bike events and traversed the East Coast in some of the freshest European street vehicles from AMGs to letter “M” BMWs. However, to prepare for the winter session Automotive Rhythms (AR) was looking for an American Pharaoh with nobility to join the long-term fleet of progressive light-luxury vehicles. So it was time to switch the game plan and recruit one of the most respected, large body touring sedans to hail from Detroit. Welcome to AR’s Moparized 2015 Velvet Red Pearl Chrysler 300C.
When it first hit the scene the Chrysler 300 became so popular and indicative to British luxury that fans and aficionados of American engineering aptly dubbed it The Baby Bentley. I always thought that was a stretch of the imagination, however, it did change people’s perception on domestic auto design. Today’s 300 has evolved into something even more special with bolder shoulders, cleaner trims, a Euro-themed interior and classy wheels. The AR edition began life with the stalwart 5.7-liter V8 HEMI engine ($3,000 option) with Fuel Saver Technology and an 8-speed automatic transmission pairing with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters to control the 363-horsepower and 392 lb-ft of torque. The HEMI is a monster in deed; it growls when the vehicle is ignited and hard acceleration pins you into the blackened, leather bucket seats. Albeit it stays thirsty and kept us at the pump far more than expected. Go with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 if efficiency is your first concern. Pricing starts at $38,070 but our 300C left the garage at $49,340 with the additional packages and options.
I’ve never really been a domestic auto lover outside of pickups and muscle cars – the RAM Rebel is tops on my list – but the 300 has created newfangled admiration for the brand while designer Ralph Gilles set the bar high and showed us that Detroit City does rock! Both a 300 and Charger provide equivalent levels of driving euphoria, elevated multi-media functionality and comfort features as a Lexus GS or Infiniti Q50 for example. At shows, aftermarket shops or casually waiting by the pump, positive comments and “thumbs up” gestures kept coming. Our 300C is endowed with a trunk spoiler, dual exhaust tips, extended panoramic sunroof, tall vertical tail lamps, a massively honeycombed, granite crystal grille, chrome mirrors and door handles and chrome highlights around or along the windows, grille, lower front fascia, Adaptive Bi-Xenon HID headlights and the rear bumper.
My gadget friendly girls call it The Internet Car because they are able to connect their iPads or stream mobile music apps through Uconnect 8.4. The touchscreen infotainment system is one of the best in the car business and replicates a mobile command center with all of its convenience features. From Yelp to Weather, to Pandora to Aha, the vehicle is very intuitive. The kids also enjoy the dual USB ports in the back since their devices are always running low on power. The doors unlock when the vehicle senses the key and the high beams self-illuminate (Automatic High Beam Headlamp Control) when pitch-darkness is detected. Additionally, heated seats and steering wheel heating are a necessity for cold morning beginnings.
Enhanced safety programs are added by way of the $1,695 SafetyTec 1 and the $1,695 SafetyTec 2 packages. Together they include, but are not limited to, Full Speed Fwd Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning Plus (LDWP), Advanced Brake Assist, Rain Sensitive Windshield Wipers, ParkSense Front / Rear Park Assist System and Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection. These safety technologies provided a better piece of mind on our annual holiday drive to NJ from Maryland. Especially LDWP, which aggressively brings the vehicle back into its lane if you drift without using the blinkers.
Audio is essential for any of my vehicles so I can tune in The Joint on XM/Sirius or rock my favorite playlists. So we upgraded to the $1,995 Harman Kardon 19-speaker system with GreenEdge. Though, 7 of the speakers are not visible and hidden under the rear deck’s felt lining. This takes away a percentage of quality and muffles the sound a bit. I had Chrysler engineers check the system and they did fix a wiring glitch. But it still doesn’t compare to some of HARMAN’s other units like the Revel Ultimate on the new Lincolns.
Yes, I saved the best for last and that’s the Mopar $2,495 Stage 1 Performance Package (adds another 20 horsepower and 23 lb-ft of torque), 20” black spins ($397 each) which we wrapped in a new pair of 245/45R20 Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S tires, Mopar Center Caps, Bright Pedal Kit ($95), Door Sill Entry Guards ($145), Rear Strut Tower Brace ($499), Front Strut Tower Brace ($372), Strut Tower Brace Caps ($187) and floor mats ($125) showcasing the blue Mopar emblem. The Yokohama tires felt firm during our first winter rain. This is due to a duo of serpentine and straight grooves designed for escorting H20 out of the tread, ultimately increasing wet road grip. The braces increase vehicle rigidity by 7% while Stage 1 integrates a premium fuel calibrated Powertrain Control Module (PCM) along with a Cat-Back Exhaust, Cold Air Intake and High Flow Oil Filter. The 300C’s growl is now gaudier! Mopar is the aftermarket division of Chrysler, Jeep, RAM and FIAT and manufactures warranty-backed appearance accessories and performance parts.
Shortly after the build was complete the Moparized 300C hit the Katies Cars and Coffee scene in Great Falls, VA where it drew a crowd. Then, we decided to step it up and host our own gathering at Irie Café in Glenarden Maryland which prepared an authentic Caribbean culinary experience fused with American soul for our patrons. The Auto Brunch is AR’s automotive and motorcycle meetup for enthusiasts seeking to showboat their amazing rides. The 300C was a hit once again.
As they say on Games of Thrones, “Winter is Coming” so take shelter since our beastly American sedan will be roaming the roads incessantly. Or come out and join us for a few months of cold-weather auto play. We’re just getting warmed up!