The Chrysler 300 name has been around since medieval times —well, the 1950s then — reappearing periodically on different Chryslers ever since. The latest 300 hit the streets as a full-sized luxury saloon in 2004, after impressing the previous year’s New York Auto Show as a concept car. The concept was for a sporty rear-wheel drive performance car built on the LX platform that derived from the discontinued Mercedes E-Class.
Styling was distinctive, with a prominent chrome grille and square headlamp units, chromed alloy wheels, curved windscreen with a steep rake, high waistline, low cabin with the look of a stretched coupe and short rear end. There were assorted variations in different markets around the world, with the 300 built in three different countries and featuring several alternative engines.
Ever keen to be crystal clear, Chrysler tagged the base model as the 300 on home turf and the 300C in some overseas markets, while the real 300C was the top-of-the-range high-performance job fitted with a state-of-the-art 5.7 litre HEMI V8 engine, though for wimps there was a 3.6 litre V6 and a 3 litre V6 diesel. The 300C Touring estate car was introduced in 2006 with the same engine choices.
The 300C has a five-speed automatic gearbox and the HEMI V8 is a particularly intelligent engine capable of running on only four cylinders to conserve fuel when cruising at the speed limit.
As the model years unfolded the well-finished interior acquired delights like Chrysler’s MyGIG Infotainment System, a satellite radio and a television to keep back-seat drivers quiet. If all that sounds a bit, well, soft it should be noted that the 300C was no slouch when it was firing on all cylinders, with rather hot performance . . . and it has sold like those proverbial hot cakes.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
USA (but built in Canada, China and Austria)
3.5 l (212 cid) V6; 5.7 l (345 cid) V8; 3.0 l (184 cid) V6 Diesel
With 5.7 l engine — top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.2 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Although it’s officially top dog in the Chrysler 300 line, the ‘ordinary’ 300C has to share the limelight with the ultra-quick 300C SRT-8 special edition armed with the grunty 6.1 l V8.