Chrysler 300C - First Drive

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Out on the road, the new 300C is smooth, quick and quiet

Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Power: 236 bhp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 540 Nm at between 1,600 and 2,800 rpm
Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 39.8 mpg
CO2 emissions: 185 g/km
Top speed: 144 mph
Acceleration (0-62 mph): 7.4 seconds
Price: £35,995 (Limited), £39,995 (Executive)
* 300C Limited. Higher figures apply for Executive models and cars fitted with optional larger wheels

At first sight, the new 300C looks quite like the last one – and there's a good reason for that. Chrysler's research shows that lots of buyers went for the old car because of its imposing appearance, which recalls the swaggering style of the extravagantly designed 300 models the company made when Detroit was at its most confident in the Fifties and Sixties.

But the similarity in appearance between the new 300C and its immediate predecessor conceals far-reaching changes that have produced a drastically improved car, changes that also reflect a radical shift in ownership and approach for Chrysler. Back in 2005, the company was controlled by Germany's Daimler and the last 300C leant heavily on Mercedes technology, but since then Chrysler has been through the wringer and ended up under the wing of Fiat. One alteration is a switch from a Mercedes V6 diesel engine to one using Fiat Multijet 2 technology; another is the replacement of the previously slightly crude interior with something much more sophisticated - and there's a story to that as well. Because while the 300C is being sold as a Chrysler in North America and the UK, Continental customers will know it as the Lancia Thema; that's the outcome of a grand plan to mesh Chrysler's and Fiat's brands and development in the most efficient way that has already seen the smaller Lancia Ypsilon and Delta come to the UK badged as Chryslers.

At first sight, combining Chrysler and Lancia seems like an odd idea, but so far it appears to be working fairly well. The outcome, in the case of the 300C, is a car that looks American on the outside but somewhat Italian on the inside, a slightly unlikely but actually highly appealing combination that makes this model feel a lot more sophisticated than the old one.

Out on the road, the new 300C is smooth, quick and quiet. The switch in diesel engine supplier has meant no loss of shove or refinement, and while the five-speed automatic gearbox gives away a ratio or two to those of some competitors, it works well enough. Ride comfort is pretty good too, even on the huge optional twenty-inch wheels.

Chrysler has greatly simplified the 300C line-up with the introduction of the new car. For the time being, there's just one engine option, that V6 with a capacity of three litres, and two (generous) trim levels Limited and Executive. The Limited starts at £35,995 and includes such high value items as cruise control, DAB radio, bi-xenon headlamps, leather upholstery and a reversing camera. The Executive, at £39,995 adds those twenty-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, a large glass sunroof, a leather-wrapped dashboard and a host of other luxury features. The prices of the new car represent quite a step up from those of the old one; that's probably a fair reflection of the improvements it embodies in sophistication and equipment but also gives this 300C less of an edge, if still a significant one, against the established German competitors.

With its large engine and high spec levels, the 300C is a niche, rather than mainstream choice, and there's no sign of Chrysler introducing a smaller four-cylinder diesel to match the big-selling low-CO2 models in the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class ranges, which might not suit the 300C's suave character anyway. But like the last one, the new 300C should find plenty of buyers who want to stand out from the crowd.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Nursery Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Nursery Assistants RequiredNursery Assis...

    Supply Teachers needed in Bolton!

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

    English Teacher

    £120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments