Chrysler dumps the old jelly mould for sharp new styling inside and out
The love story with Americana begins behind the wheel of the 300C, writes Martin Brennan
THE Chrysler 300C is back in Ireland after an absence of two years with a more tailored look. Now in Fiat hands, the model is all new inside and out. The exterior styling is definitely more European and gone is the jelly-mould look that made the old model look dated even when it arrived.
Sharper edges, particularly at the rear, will win praise on both sides of the Atlantic. The interior quality has moved up a good few notches also and Chrysler's boast that it can now give the best of German-made premium models a run for their money in this department is not far short of the mark. There is nothing cheap about the new Canadian-built 300C. The North American market gets a choice of five grilles and in the top version, the design for the interior comes from Italy thanks to the Fiat influence.
Fiat has put serious thought and money into taking on BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and Jaguar. "The world fell out of love with Americana but we want to re-ignite the passion by making cars that people are proud of," Chrysler marketing people boasted at the UK/Irish launch in Cambridge. But they admit they will have a big job asking motorists to abandon German brands with guaranteed residual values for a car that costs €57,995 (€62,495 for the top spec model).
So what do you get for the money? Under the bonnet is a three-litre V6 turbo diesel engine, which puts out 236 bhp @ 4000 rpm and has a hefty 500 Nm of torque at 1600 rpm. Even with the heavy weight of the 300C, it performs well with a 0-100km sprint taking 7.4 seconds and has a top speed of 235km/h. A big surprise is Chrysler's claim of a very reasonable 7.1l/100km but a second weak point is C02 emissions of 185/km which bring a tax burden of €677 in Band E. This is caused in part by the five-speed automatic transmission but a new eight-speed automatic transmission is on the way which should make a significant difference.
As one would expect with a car that is aimed at the American market, it oozes comfort features but the suspension is stiff enough to give a well-mannered performance even on corners.
The love story with Americana begins behind the wheel. Sitting in the spacious front seats, driver and passenger can choose heating or cooling through the leather upholstery, cup holders can also be hot or cold and even the steering can be heated for cold morning starts.
The touch screen infotainment system has a 36 GB hard drive, Bluetooth connectivity and sat/nav. Also on board are auto dimming lights, folding mirrors, dual zone climate control, keyless entry and go, seat memory settings, cruise control and an electrically operated boot lid so you don't get your hands dirty.