260 lb.-ft. @ 4,800RPM
THE PROS & CONS
What’s Best: Full-size sedan room and comfort, modernizing the original domestic style.
What’s Worst: Having to choose between a V8 and AWD. Entry starting price also up $3,600 compared to 2014, but with admittedly more content.
What’s Interesting: The almost seamless powertrain tested here – 5.7-litre Hemi V8 with Four-Cylinder Mode Fuel Saver Technology mated to the Torque-Flite eight-speed automatic transmission.
I was settling in at the coffee shop when my test car winked at me.
The headlights flashed a little “hello” as I sat down, just pocket pressure on the key fob, but it made me chuckle.
It also gave me pause to sit there and study the automotive face on the other side of the window as I sipped my coffee.
The 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum sat resplendent in Jazz Blue Pearl. Not a new colour, but the car itself has been updated inside and out with enhanced styling cues, improved materials and new technologies for 2015.
The bolder “face of Chrysler” looking back at me was still familiar, but a redesigned front fascia features a taller, more prominent grille (33 per cent larger) with the “floating” winged Chrysler badge mounted on its finer mesh surface. Below the bigger grille, a chrome Mobius strip outlines a new lower grille and also surrounds new LED fog lamps that serve as a counterpoint to the jewel-like headlight array with its LED daytime running lamp (DRL) accents.
COMPARE: 2015 Chrysler 300 Review
The only flaw in the picture was the licence plate, awkward as a paste-on moustache, overlapping the grille so that it wouldn’t block the adaptive cruise sensor or parking sensors.
But the 300C Platinum still managed to pull off a unique blend of muscularity and simplified elegance, a visage more Bentley-esque than ever.
The side profile is unmistakably 300 with the high beltline, strong shoulder lines and classically chromed window surrounds, a solid presence accented this year with seven new wheel designs in 17- to 20-inch wheel sizes.
I had done a slow walk-around earlier and noted the aggressive rear stance, the re-styled rear fascia with chrome trim accent, the new black lower valance that emphasizes car width while downplaying height, and new trapezoidal exhaust ports winking in shining chrome.
New sculpted and halo illuminated LED taillamps also mark the rear. Squint your eyes a little, use your imagination and the peaked styling cues atop those taillights seem to hint at the tail fins of generations long past.
But you can only sit there and look at a car for so long.
Open the driver’s door and you slip into a renewed interior that is certainly more comfortable than the hard-chaired confines of the coffee shop.
The 300C Platinum, tested here, sits perched at the top of the Chrysler 300 food chain.
And it shows, with a two-tone Indigo/Linen interior blending dark blue leather with the kind of cream colours your mother warned about. Heated/ventilated plush power seats feature quilted and perforated Nappa leather, matched by quilted door inserts.
Ultra high-end Foligno leather from Italy wraps the instrument panel and console sides, the contours finished with contrasting French accent stitching.
A new heated steering wheel with larger control buttons and die-cast shift paddles complements the interior colours with matching two-tone leather wrapping and a unique chrome accent ring. Metallic dashboard highlights are offset by open pore wood trim pieces.
And, I know it’s not important, but I just liked the way the heated/cooled front cupholders lit up in blue for your cold drink, red for your take-out coffee.
I could go on and on about the interior of the 300C Platinum, recently awarded a spot on Ward’s 10 Best Interiors, with a judge quoted as saying “I could live in this car”.
Well, who couldn’t?
The 300C Platinum cabin offers excellent passenger room, especially in back, 462 litres of cargo space and the kind of long haul comfort you only find in premium products. And those comforts have been enhanced for 2015 with modern instrumentation that includes new blue-illuminated gauges bracketing a standard seven-inch colour driver info display (DID), the 8.4-inch UConnect Access system, a new and simplified rotary dial transmission shifter mounted on the console, a new “Sport” button that adjusts steering, engine and transmission calibration, and more than 80 available dynamic, safety and security features – Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Keeping System, to name just a few.
The 2015 Chrysler 300 comes in four trim levels – 300 Touring ($38,195), 300S ($40,895), 300C ($41,895) and 300C Platinum ($43,895).
There are two engine choices.
The standard 3.6-litre Pentastar DOHC V6 makes 292 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque (or 300 hp and 264 lb/ft of torque in the slightly tweaked and sporty 300S version). Fuel economy is rated at 12.4/7.7L/100km (city/hwy).
I did not test the V6 version but based on results from its similarly equipped Charger sibling, I would expect satisfactory power and a real world fuel economy average of about 11.4L/100km (comb).
The optional 5.7-litre Hemi V8 with Four-Cylinder Mode Fuel Saver Technology ($2,500) makes a more muscular 363 hp and 394 lb/ft of torque. This engine roars forth with more adrenalized hubris for the performance-oriented driver, setting 0-100km/h times in under six seconds while the fuel-saving four-cylinder shut-off mode offers real highway savings.
Fuel economy is rated at 14.8/9.3L/100km (city/hwy). My average worked out to 13.7L/100km (comb).
The standard Torque-Flite eight-speed automatic that was previously only available with the V6 has now been extended to the V8 engine as well. All-wheel-drive ($2,200) is currently only available with the V6 motor.
The 300 SRT model was dropped for 2015, with the Chrysler emphasis more on luxury and Dodge taking over the performance mantle.
It’s hard to compare the 2015 Chrysler 300 with competitors like the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon and Chev Impala because it blends its dependable Mercedes platform beginnings with two potent powertrain choices and a modern evolution of technologies wrapped up in a uniquely American large car style. Its greatest competitor, in fact, might be its Dodge Charger sibling.
But, it’s nice to know that in a market so busy with current crossover and SUV fads, both of these Brampton-built sedans offer a made-in-Canada alternative for car customers who are looking for a full-size sedan solution to their driving needs.
And with the 2015 300C Platinum, that solution comes with everything you could wish for, done in a premium style.
Chrysler 300C Platinum 2015 at a glance
BODY STYLE: Full-size, four-door, five-passenger sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: rear- or all-wheel drive.
ENGINE: As tested, 5.7-litre V8 (363 hp, 394 lb/ft), with Torque-Flite eight-speed automatic.
FUEL ECONOMY: 14.8/9.3L/100km (city/hwy); as tested 13.7L/100km (comb).
CARGO CAPACITY: 462 litres
TOW RATING: 454 kg (1,000 lb).
PRICE: 300C Platinum MSRP $43,595. As tested $49,430 includes 5.7-litre HEMI V8 ($2,500), harman/kardon audio ($1,295), Uconnect Nav ($650), Light Group ($695), Safety Tec 1 pkg ($595), etc. Shipping fee of $1,695 not included.
Second-hand: 2008-12 Chrysler 300