The Chrysler 300 is a rear-wheel-drive, front-engine, full-sized luxury car manufactured and marketed by Chrysler as a four door sedan and station wagon its first generation (model years 2005-2010) and solely as a four-door sedan in its second and current generation (model years 2011-present).
First generation (2005–2010)
The Chrysler 300 was designed as a modern interpretation of the Chrysler C-300 (and the letter series Chryslers that followed), featuring a large grille, long hood and low roofline that was prominent on those vehicles. The styling retained many elements of the 1998 Chrysler Chronos concept car, such as chrome interior accents and tortoiseshell finishings on the steering wheel and shifter knob.
The Chrysler 300 is based on the rear-wheel drive Chrysler LX platform with components derived from the W211 Mercedes-Benz E-Class of 2003 to 2009. Shared components include the rear suspension design, front seat frames, wiring harnesses, steering column, the 5-speed automatic transmission's design, and a derivative of the 4Matic all-wheel drive system.
The basic 300 (or 300C in some countries) comes with standard 17-inch wheels, wheel covers, four-wheel disc brakes, single disc MP3 player, auxiliary input jack, power driver seat and a four-speed automatic transmission. It uses a 2,736 cc (2.736 L; 167.0 cu in) EER V6 making 190 hp (140 kW). In Canada, it comes standard with the Touring model's 3,518 cc (3.5 L; 214.7 cu in) V6 engine. The vehicle comes with standard rear wheel drive and available all wheel drive. The basic 300 model was renamed to LX for 2008 and remains as the code-name for the platform.
The Touring model uses a 3,518 cc (3.5 L; 214.7 cu in) V6, producing 250 hp (190 kW) and 250 lb·ft (340 N·m) of torque, either a 4 or 5spd transmission depending on the year and drive configuration, and comes with 17-inch aluminium wheels, AM/FM radio with CD player and auxiliary audio jack, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), remote keyless entry, leather trimmed seats, and SIRIUS satellite radio. This model was renamed Touring Plus for the 2009 and 2010 model years.
The Limited model included the Touring model's 3.5 L V6 engine, generating 250 hp (190 kW) and 250 lb·ft (340 N·m) and either a 4 or 5 speed transmission depending on the year and drive configuration. Additional features included 18-inch chrome-clad aluminium wheels, anti-roll bars.
The top-of-the-line 300C version uses a 5.7 L (345 cu in) Hemi V8. Using the Multidisplacement System (MDS), this engine can run on four cylinders when less power is needed in order to reduce total fuel consumption. The USEPA-rated fuel consumption of the 300C is: 15 miles per US gallon (16 L/100 km; 18 mpg‑imp) city, and 23 miles per US gallon (10 L/100 km; 28 mpg‑imp) highway. When all eight cylinders are needed, the 300C can make 340 hp (250 kW) and 390 lb·ft (530 N·m) torque. It uses a five-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, Chrysler's MyGIG Infotainment System in 2008 and SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Backseat Television in 2008. The HEMI engine includes a pushrod induction tube, located on the side of the engine-block. This tube makes the 300C more fuel efficient and quicker, because of the air being "pulled and pushed" into the engine's induction area. The engine uses the HEMI, or double rocker configuration, with a cam-in-block, overhead valve (OHV) pushrod design. There are two spark plugs per cylinder to promote efficient fuel/air mixture burn and thereby reduce emissions. In 2009 - 2010 power output was increased to 360HP.
The 300C was sold in Europe, Australia and Japan as both a four-door notchback sedan and a five-door station wagon. The five-door station wagon was sold as the 300C Touring (not to be confused with the North American notchback sedan's "Touring" trim level), which shared much of its sheet metal aft of the C-pillar and wheel designs with the Dodge Magnum. The base Chrysler 300 was not sold in Europe, instead all cars came with the 300C body style/interior and a choice of either V6 diesel or V8 gasoline powerplants. The economical Mercedes-based V6 diesel was popular in Europe, where gasoline prices are high. All 300C Touring models, along with European 300C sedans and right-hand drive models were assembled by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria beginning in June 2005. Steyr insisted on upgrading suspension components to suit European tastes. The five-door station wagon bodystyle was discontinued after the first generation.
In Europe and Australia, the 300C was available with a Mercedes-Benz 3.0 L diesel V6 engine (internal code OM642) rated 218 PS (160 kW; 215 hp)@3800rpm and 376 lb·ft (510 N·m)@1600rpm. Fuel economy for the 300C diesel is rated at 26.2 mpg‑US (9.0 L/100 km; 31.5 mpg‑imp) City, 42.8 mpg‑US (5.50 L/100 km; 51.4 mpg‑imp) Highway and 34.9 mpg‑US (6.74 L/100 km; 41.9 mpg‑imp) on the combined cycle. Acceleration from 0-60 mph happens in 7.9 seconds while the top speed remains the same as the gasoline V6 (140 mph (230 km/h)).
2008 UK models include 300C SRT-Design model in saloon or Touring body, which included SRT 20-inch alloy wheels and wheel arch spats, chrome mesh grille, MyGIG satellite navigation, SRT-8 steering wheel, SRT-8 leather sports seats and carbon fibre interior details.
ASC Helios 300
ASC created a convertible version of the Chrysler 300C, dubbed the ASC Helios 300, and unveiled it at the North American International Auto Show in early 2005. Despite rumours, Chrysler confirmed that the vehicle would not be produced.
Executive Series 300
Heritage Edition 300C
The Chrysler 300C Heritage Edition debuted in 2006 and was a performance oriented trim that used the 5.7 Hemi and had styling ques from the Chrysler 300 "letter series" of the 1950s and the 1960s.
The 300C was the 2005 Motor Trend Car of the Year and was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 2005 and 2006. It also won the North American Car of the Year and Canadian Car of the Year Best New Luxury Car awards. During its debut year, it was promoted as being one of the most awarded new cars ever. The 300C was also included in the finalists for 2005 World Car of the Year but was eliminated in first round.
Reception and legacy
In the USA, the 300C enjoyed a wave of popularity in the mid-2000s, aided by celebrity owners (including future-US President Barack Obama,) and appearances in music videos. In 2004, rapper Snoop Dogg famously called then-Chrysler CEO, Dieter Zetsche, asking for his own 300C; he later appeared in a commercial for the car alongside Lee Iacocca. The 300C was ranked #12 in a Complex.com article, "The 25 Most Iconic Hip-Hop Cars" due to its popularity in many hip-hop music videos following its introduction. Chrysler 300 designer Ralph Gilles reflected on the vehicle's success in 2008, saying that the "300 turned out to be a bit of an icon for Chrysler".
In the UK, the BBC Top Gear team described the 300C as "something different with a bit of kitsch gangster cool". They praised the spacious and well equipped interior and the low price while criticizing the quality of materials, ride, steering and low engine torque. The first generation model was popular with British buyers who regarded it as the "poor man's Bentley". (Indeed, some owners swapped the Chrysler badges for Bentley ones). The post-2011 second generation proved less popular, primarily because of its less attractive appearance to British eyes.
On Hip hop artist Drake's album The Views; song Keep The Family Close he references The Chrysler 300 with the lyrics "Always saw you for what you could've been / Ever since you met me / Like when Chrysler made that one car that looked just like the Bentley"
Second generation (2011–present)
A mildly redesigned 300 was introduced in 2011 as a four-door notchback sedan, the five-door station wagon version of the 300 having been retired. Exterior changes included revised sheet metal, thinner roof pillars, a more raked windshield, bi-xenon HID projector headlights, LED daytime running strips within the headlights, new taillights with LEDs and a horizontally slotted front grille with an updated version of the Chrysler winged brand emblem. Options included a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and 20-inch polished-aluminium wheels. Interior changes included a revised instrument panel with localized "soft-touch" materials, 8.4 inch Uconnect Touch, new steering wheel and centre console, and standard leather seating on all trim levels. Both seat-mounted and curtain side airbags were standard.
The predecessors' 2.7- and 3.5-litre engines were replaced with Chrysler's new 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine producing 292 horsepower (218 kW) and 260 lb·ft (350 N·m) of torque. The 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine remained available with 363 horsepower. A 3.0-litre VM Motori V6 turbodiesel is also available in Europe, and Australia. Beginning with model year 2012 all V6 models were equipped with the 8-speed 8HP45 automatic transmission, licensed from ZF Friedrichshafen .
The 2011 model was offered in Touring, Limited, 300C, and 300C AWD trim levels. Touring and Limited trims included the Pentastar V6, while the 300C line offered a standard 5.7 HEMI.
A new 300C Executive Series luxury trim level was introduced alongside a new 300S trim at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. The Executive/Luxury Series was also sold in Europe, rebranded as the Lancia Thema from 2011-2014. The sport themed 300S featured black treatment for grille and headlamps, 20-inch polished-face aluminium wheels with black painted pockets, 10-speaker Beats by Dr. Dre sound system, and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
An SRT version was unveiled at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, powered by a 6.4-litre 392 HEMI V8 engine. The 6.4 392 Hemi engine is also used in other Chrysler Group SRT vehicles. With 470 hp (350 kW), the new 300 SRT can go from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in the low 4 second range.
In addition to the increase in power, the SRT receives specific exterior trim including a lower front fascia, large exhaust tips, body color instead of chrome trim and large 20-inch aluminium wheels. The car also gets a lowered, sportier suspension setup and a large Brembo brake package.
The 300 SRT (or SRT8) was discontinued for the 2015 model year in the United States, but is still sold in Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East. Contrary to past statements by Chrysler, the 300 SRT is still sold in left-hand drive abroad.
- In early 2016, Chrysler announced a new 300S Alloy Edition. Features included dark bronze 20" wheels (19" on AWD) and 300S badge, titanium exhaust tips and wing badge, and gloss-black window, headlight and taillight accents.
- The 300 Motown Edition model sales began in the spring of 2013. The Motown Edition is a tribute to the Motown genre of music. Additions to the Chrysler 300C features, include special chrome wheels, a Beats by Dr. Dre ten-speaker sound system, "Motown Edition" badges on the front fenders, as well as 100 Motown tunes preloaded on a USB drive. Berry Gordy, Jr., the creator of the Motown genre, appears in a 2012 TV ad for the Chrysler 300 Motown Edition, promoting his musical, and saying "This is Motown. And this is what we do". The song playing in the commercial is "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
- 300S Glacier Edition, available in the fall of 2012 as a 2013 model year vehicle. Based on the Chrysler 300S, the Glacier Edition adds signature details not found on other Chrysler 300 models.
- Mopar '12, available as a 2012 model year vehicle. This Special Edition Chrysler 300 was designed by Mopar Performance to mark Mopar's 75th anniversary. Featuring a 3:91 gear ratio, sport tuned suspension, and unique badging, only 500 Mopar Edition 300's were made.
- John Varvatos Edition available in 2013 and 2014 in "Luxury" or "Limited" trim. Each version featured unique exterior and interior colors and materials.
|Model||Engine||Displacement||Power @ rpm||Torque @ rpm||Years|
|Touring||3.6 V6 Pentastar||3,604 cc (219.9 cu in)||296 PS (218 kW; 292 hp) @ 6350 rpm||350 N·m (260 lb·ft) @ 4800 rpm||2011–|
|300S||3.6 V6 Pentastar||3,604 cc (219.9 cu in)||304 PS (224 kW; 300 hp)||350 N·m (260 lb·ft) @ 4800 rpm||2011–|
|300C||5.7 V8 HEMI||5,654 cc (345.0 cu in)||368 PS (271 kW; 363 hp) @ 5150 rpm||527 N·m (389 lb·ft) @ 4250 rpm||2011–|
|300 SRT-8||6.4L 392 Hemi V8 engine||6,430 cc (392 cu in)||477 PS (351 kW; 470 hp)||637 N·m (470 lb·ft)||2012–|
|Lancia - (Chrysler UK)|
|Petrol||3.6 V6 Pentastar||3,604 cc (219.9 cu in)||286 PS (210 kW; 282 hp) @ 6350 rpm||340 N·m (250 lb·ft) @ 4650 rpm||2011–2014|
|Diesel||3.0 V6 VM Motori A630||2,987 cc (182.3 cu in)||190 PS (140 kW; 190 hp) @ 4000 rpm||440 N·m (320 lb·ft) @ 1600-2800 rpm||2011–2014|
|239 PS (176 kW; 236 hp) @ 4000 rpm||550 N·m (410 lb·ft) @ 1800-2800 rpm|
- Source for Lancia
As part of the 2011 Chrysler 300 advertising campaign, three TV commercials were produced. "Homecoming" featured Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh driving through his rainy hometown of Portland, Oregon, in his new 2011 Chrysler 300, retracing his humble beginnings. "Attitude" featured John Varvatos seeking inspiration at a record store in Brooklyn and record under his arm and into his Chrysler 300. "Good Things" featured Dr. Dre driving through the streets of Los Angeles in a Beats by Dre equipped 2012 Chrysler 300.
In late 2014 a facelift version of the 300 was introduced. Changes include:
- Full speed-range Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop
- Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Active Braking
- Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist
- Uconnect Systems: Bluetooth Streaming Audio, Uconnect Voice Command and Bluetooth (with Uconnect Access). The 8.4AN System adds, navigation, featuring full-color 3-D graphics and HD Radio
- 7-inch customizable Driver Information Display (DID) electronic instrument cluster
- Standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with Rotary E-shift
- Restyled front and rear fascia
- New black and silver mesh chrome grille
The Lancia version was safety tested by Euro NCAP in autumn 2011 and got the following results:
|Euro NCAP test results|
|Lancia Thema (2011)|
- In 2000, Chrysler introduced the 300 HEMI C, a 2+2 convertible bearing the new 5.7 litre HEMI engine with 353 horsepower (263 kW) and 353 lb·ft (479 N·m) torque. It had rear wheel drive and a four speed automatic transmission. It was capable of 0-60 mph in under 6 seconds.
- In 1991, Chrysler introduced a Monteverdi High Speed inspired concept 300, employing the Dodge Viper engine. It was inspired by a 1970s Swiss-built sedan powered by Chrysler.