2011 Chrysler 300C & Review & Car and Driver

31 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Chrysler 300C & Review & Car and Driver
Chrysler 300C

2011 Chrysler 300C

The V8-powered 300 improves where the last car came up short.

September 2011

BY JON YANCA PHOTOGRAPHY BY PATRICK M. HOEY

When a car makes the kind of splash that the Chrysler 300 did when it debuted in 2004, its maker gets backed into a corner. Granted, any car company hopes its products will find sales success, but following up an instant icon like the first-gen 300 makes an already tough task#x2014;simply designing a car in the first place#x2014;that much more of a challenge. Improvements and refinements will of course be made, but where and to what extent?

Further complicating matters, Chrysler had to deal with that whole bankruptcy thing, and so the 2011 300 received more of a thorough face lift than the total overhaul for which it was due. But the engineers and designers spent the short amount of time and little money they were allotted wisely.

They comprehensively overhauled the interior, tidied up the exterior (including slight visibility improvements), tweaked the suspension for a smoother ride, and added sound insulation for a more hushed cabin. The 300 might not be as #x201C;all-new#x201D; as we#x2019;d like#x2014;or as much as it would have been under different circumstances#x2014;but it is once again a compelling full-size luxury car.

Successfully Redesigning an Icon

Chrysler 300C

Refined, polished, and more sophisticated are descriptors that come to mind after studying the 2011 300#x2019;s new sheetmetal. Its muscular fenders remain, as does the basic shape of its greenhouse, albeit with thinner A-pillars for improved visibility. The beltline crease is more pronounced and now finds itself running above, rather than through, the door handles.

The 300#x2019;s nose, cradling Chrysler#x2019;s new corporate grille and badge, was designed to appear smaller than before to make the new car look more streamlined. Shapelier lighting elements with LED running lamps and optional xenon bulbs bring the 300C up-to-date with current illumination trends.

Its stern is now cleaner, too, with exhaust finishers integrated into the valance and a chrome bar connecting the taillights#x2014;although the latter look overwrought with the shiny stuff laid inside the lenses. The 300C still looks commanding and is immediately recognizable, though, as if the old model had found a fine tailor to sharpen up its off-the-rack suit.

The most dramatic change happened inside the cabin. Hard plastics have been banished, the fresh soft-touch materials in their place imparting a much richer feel. The driver sits before an elegant instrument cluster with beautiful detailing that seems more fitting of a concept car than something mass produced, and all occupants are treated to plenty of space and comfortable seats.

No one inside can miss the standard 8.4-inch touchscreen display. It#x2019;s very responsive, with an intuitive menu structure that allows easy fine-tuning of audio, climate, navigation#x2014;a Garmin-based setup is standard here#x2014;and vehicle settings. A few redundant hard controls for the stereo and HVAC system are located just below the screen.

Some of the brightly colored large-print graphics on the screen look a little cartoonish, but functionally, this setup is a model we wish every infotainment system would follow.

Still an Enjoyable Drive

On the skidpad, the 300C was held to 0.80 g by a stability-control system that wouldn#x2019;t get completely out of the way. The brakes did a commendable job of halting almost 4400 pounds of brutish Chrysler, stopping the 300C from 70 mph to 0 in 181 feet.

Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C
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