2005 Chrysler 300c New Car Review
You only get one chance
to make a first impression. At least that's what they tell me. But as an automotive
journalist who travels the international auto show circuit, I also understand
the two equally compelling arguments; there are exceptions to every rule and rules
are meant to be broken.
So it was
that I found myself at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Ontario,
Canada last February, one of only two internationally recognized auto shows in
North America, (Detroit being the first) sitting inside the 2005 Chrysler 300C
again for the very first time.
in the day a large group of journalists from around the world had gathered at
the DaimlerChrylser stage as the first 2005 Chrysler 300 and 2005 Dodge Magnum
vehicles rolled off the line at the newly renovated Brampton Assembly Plant.
of hours spent training employees and a billion dollar investment by DaimlerChrysler
had gone into this moment. A live satellite feed proudly displayed the gathering
of hundreds of assembly line workers, whose enthusiastic cheers could be felt
through the screen as their labor of love took center stage.
Detroit, there had been precious little opportunity to spend time evaluating the
new 2005 Chrysler 300C. A crush of media from all points made
it difficult to spend quality time in the car.
in Toronto, where crowds tend to be smaller and the pace more relaxed, I was better
able to evaluate the 300C first hand and determine my personal list of likes and
dislikes. Here are some of my comments from that earlier time.
- Sitting behind
the wheel of the Chrysler 300C shows it to be a full-size, luxuriously appointed,
beautifully crafted automobile. Interior space is ample, with plenty of headroom
for my tall frame and excellent leg and shoulder room for all occupants.
Adjusting the front seat position to my liking, the back seat still provides plenty
of room. The 300C offers both front seat passengers power adjustments, along with
speed-sensitive power door locks. In the rear seat, three passengers will have
no problem relaxing in complete comfort.
Several additional interior features stand out. Automatic express up-down power
windows and dual-zone automatic temperature controls make achieving the right
interior climate a breeze.
The all-new Chrysler 300C is a study in contrasting styles. Inside it demonstrates
a calm, elegant demeanor with just a touch of the "nasty" showing through.
Outside, a high beltline, thin window design give the 300C a side profile unlike
anything else on the road today.
Since that time, I've had the chance to drive the Chrysler
300C and can now report my impressions of the car.
me start by saying, one of my favorite vehicles for the past few years has been
the Chrysler 300M. Not only was it a great looking sedan, it was fun to drive
and elegant, traits that don't always align in a sporty type vehicle.
The Chrysler 300 series and specifically the 300C, expand on all the good traits of the 300M and improving on them in every way.
For all of its cruiser good looks, the 300C is high performance sports sedan at the core.
One of the first clues to this dual personality lies in the fact that the 300C is a rear-wheel drive sedan. Built on a new DaimlerChrysler inspired platform, the front engine-rear drive sedan shouts performance with each press of the accelerator. It is comfortable as a boulevard cruiser, but equally as poised when "easy street" turns into a tight hairpin.
A potent 5.7-liter, multi-displacement (MDS) V8 delivers a whopping 340 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 390 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. MDS allows the V8 to operate on 4-cylinders when the demand for power is minimal. This provides a significant 20% improvement in fuel efficiency.
To keep the amount of available horsepower in context with the competition, this is as much power as the stunningly sophisticated, but far more costly new Audi S4. The 300C offers us a true testament to the passion with which Chrysler has attacked the full-size sport sedan market.
It seems the Daimler side of the family is really starting to have a positive impact on the Chrysler brand as a whole.
Sticking with its in your face, all-purpose American attitude, the new 300C is available with all-wheel drive (AWD). A smooth shifting, 5-speed automatic transmission with Chrysler's AutoStick makes concession for manual gear changes. Power 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS bring the 4,046 lb. bruiser to a rapid halt. Eighteen-inch chrome clad aluminum wheels are shod with P225/60R18 BSW touring tires to further improve performance and curb appeal. Towing capacity is excellent at 2,000 lbs, while a 19-gallon fuel tank adds meaning to the words "Road Trip!"
Speaking of road trip, what would driving be without the opportunity to enjoy music to the fullest? For this reason, Chrysler includes a 6-speaker Boston Acoustics AM/FM/CD player as standard equipment. And for those audiophiles looking to take it up a notch, consider ordering the optional 380-Watt Digital Amplifier AM/FM Stereo Radio w/In-Dash 6-Disc CD/MP3 Player and a full seven Boston Acoustics Speakers and Subwoofer.
Leather seats and tortoise shell accents on both the steering wheel and shift knob add to the opulent feeling. Brushed nickel finish surrounds each of the four gauges and the central HVAC and stereo stack, along with the center console gearshift area.
As is the case with any DaimlerChrysler vehicle I have tested in recent years, storage space abound. Cupholders and compartments are more than capable of handling most items, and for those times when only a trunk will do, the Chrysler 300C provides 15.6 cubic feet of storage.
How will the Chrysler 300C stack up with the competition over time? I would say excellentl if for no other reason than my own personal experience over the past few months.
The more I see the new 300C on the road, and more so as I have the opportunity to drive one; it leaves me wanting more still. To coin another famous phrase from a wise salesperson at the start of the 20th century, "Give them what they need, but always leave them wanting more." In the case of the 300C, more seat time would be a very good thing indeed.
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