If anyone still harbors doubts about the survival of Chrysler Group, the 2011 300 from the Detroit carmaker should put those fears to rest. Even the most skeptical among you will be in admiration of this redesigned flagship sedan.
At our disposal was the renowned 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine pumping out 363 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 394 pounds-feet of torque at 4200 rpm. But most folks should be content with the 3.6-liter (up from previous 3.5) flex-fuel engine, which develops 292 horsepower at 6350 rpm and boasts 18 city/27 highway mpg.
The 4,500-pound HEMI car earned us 20 mpg average in city/highway driving, which can be partially attributed to a Multi-Displacement system that shuts off half of the eight cylinders for fuel savings. Zero to 60 mph is possible under 6 seconds for the heavy footers behind the robust steering wheel. Though the 300 is mated to just a 5-speed automatic transmission, look for an all-new 8-speed gearbox before yearend for quieter and smoother shifts.
As you step inside, forget the previous version's bland cabin. The restyled sedan sports a sophisticated, lavish and expensive-appearing interior. A sight to behold are two speedometer and tachometer gauges with blue illumination and chromed ring accents.
Available as a rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the 300 comes in four trims, starting from $27,170 for base, $31,170 mid-level and $40,320 for the V-8.
Boasting all the bells and whistles found in a luxury car, the stylish and solidly built 300 offers an enjoyable and energetic ride. It proves that the Chrysler renaissance, with Italian automaker Fiat at the helm, is for real.
CHRYSLER 300C (AWD)
Tires: P245/45R20 all season
Wheelbase: 120.2 inches
Length: 198.6 inches
Weight: 4,513 pounds
Fuel capacity: 19.1 gallons