2015 Chrysler 300 First Look
In Time for Its 60th Birthday, the 300 Gets a Mojo-Makeover
The 2005 Chrysler 300's brash, bargain-Bentley facade and gun sight greenhouse made it an instant icon. My dad bought one with the Hemi the night they went on sale. That car's 2011 replacement refined the body surfacing in every way without altering its proportions, but to many eyes the new look lacked swagger. My dad agrees, and he has not been as happy with his second-gen 300. He hates the electronic shifter and hasn't totally forgiven me for talking him into the V-6 eight-speed. (I just couldn't let him buy that old five-speed that came with the Hemi.)
Well, Dad, here's the 300 you wish you'd held out for. At long last the 5.7-liter, 363-hp, 394-lb-ft Hemi gets the eight-speed automatic you really wanted, bumping EPA fuel economy 1 mpg city and combined to 16 and 19 mpg, with highway remaining at 25. Better yet, gear selection for that tranny is via Chrysler's new rotary dial and shift paddles. No more guesswork. It's once again safe to make a three-point turn on a traveled highway because you'll always know you're in the gear you intended. And check out that 30-percent bigger, bolder new grille! Angry enough for you?
Actually, there will be two grille designs clearing the left lane, each of which sports the Chrysler wings (moved down off the header panel). The entry Limited and 300C models get an argent texture with a narrower chrome surround (it's ringed in brushed nickel on the new 300C Platinum model that replaces the John Varvatos Limited Edition), whereas the sportier 300S gets a black texture surrounded by black chrome.
No sheetmetal is altered this year, but the soft bits are all updated. Revised headlamps -- still halogen or HID -- eliminate the amber side markers for a cleaner look. (The markers are banished to the front wheel arches.) The lower front fascia incorporates a "Mobius strip" element borrowed from the new 200 that encircles and ties the LED foglamps together. Around back, new taillamps boast 48 LEDs each, with the outer signature ring employing a light-diffusing element. The air diffuser area of the fascia is now colored black to visually lighten the rear end. There's also an entirely new lineup of wheels spanning 17-20-inch diameters, all of which are more aggressive-looking than the ones they replace. On 300S models, as of today, most of the chrome trim is done in black chrome, and now a black roof and hyperblack wheels are available. Order the Hemi with your S, and you also get bolder rocker sills and a big trunk-lip spoiler. (It does not materially alter downforce or drag.)
Interior upgrades along the lines of those drawing raves on the 200 include new color schemes and sew patterns inspired by various cities. There's black and linen (Sausalito, California), all black (Manhattan, New York), black and blue (Detroit, 300S models only), and indigo and linen (La Jolla, California, 300C Platinum only). That last one features an open-pore wood and Bentley-esque diamond-quilt stitching on the seats and door panels. There's an 8.4-inch center touchscreen and 7.0-inch cluster screen, available Wi-Fi hotspot, and two charge-only USB ports for the rear seat.
Drivetrain options are limited to the Pentastar V-6, good for 292 hp and 260 lb-ft or 300/264 on S models, and the 5.7-liter Hemi, each of which gets paired with the eight-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is available with the V-6 only. None of the bigger, hairier V-8s from the Mopar catalogue is available, and don't hold your breath for a late introduction. According to Chrysler marketing boss Andy Love, now that Dodge gets full ownership of the boy-racer business, the best we should hope for is an upgrade that adds a few ponies to the 5.7 in the 300S.
Other functional enhancements include the incorporation of all the latest camera/radar-enabled mod-cons such as lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise with start/stop capability, collision warning and mitigation, higher-resolution backup camera imaging with adaptive lines, etc. Chrysler's claimed list of safety and security features numbers 80 items.
Dad, you should be able to get one very early next year at pricing that should remain fairly consistent with the current model. Splurge on a Platinum one, maybe in get-outta-my-way red.
|2015 Chrysler 300|
|BASE PRICE||$32,500-$49,000 (est)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD/AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINES||3.6L/292-300-hp/260-264-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6; 5.7L/363-hp/394-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT||4000-4500 lb (mfr)|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||198.6 x 75.0 x 58.4-59.2 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.5-7.5 sec (MT est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||16-19 / 25-31 / 19-23 mpg (est)|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||177-211 / 109-135 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.84-1.02 lb/mile (est)|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Early 2015|