If you ask someone to name their favorite sports car, there will be few conflicting answers. Some will side with Ferrari while some may like Lamborghini, Maserati et al. In the same way, answers will vary for the ultimate luxury cars, where some will favor Rolls Royce, while the others will name Bentley or other premium brands.
But, if you ever ask anyone what is the most GANGSTA looking car currently in production, you will hear the majority saying – Chrysler 300. When first introduced to market in 2004, the 300 was the definition of muscular – slab sided, broad shouldered and to an extent ominous looking.
It won't be far-fetched to say that the car scared the living daylights out of all other sedans and was the bedrock on which Chrysler took escape during the tumultuous times and kept the cash register ringing so that the company didn't go under the weather.
For the year 2016, Chrysler has gently toned down the 300 and now it looks more like the upmarket, swanky cousin of original 300 – the original square lines made way to more refined, softer looks; the high beltline is less pronounced and the cabin is more airy. But all said and done, the car still retains the charisma and is still one heck of a GANGSTA machine.
THE DESIGN The 300 is a full size sedan and there is no masking the fact that the car is big – on the contrary, the design makes it stand out from the other full size sedans by being big and bold and suave and charismatic, at the same time. Those highly pronounced waistline, the 'on your face', are now replaced by 'don't mess with me' square lines.
The front grill is now 32 percent larger – the slats are replaced by mesh type grill with a floating badge, the lights are projector units with DRLs, and the rear gains new tail lamps. The front and rear fascias give the car an aggressive stance and the design is an amalgam of sculptured curves and modern design touches.
There are plenty of chrome accents depending on the trim, done in bright chrome, black chrome or in platinum chrome (as in the case of 300C Platinum Edition). The external mirrors and door handles can be draped in chrome or platinum chrome, and there is a dual pane panoramic sunroof for those who love the outdoors.
The rear of the car gets redesigned tail lights and dual exhaust tips shrouded in chrome – black or bright depending on the trim level. These trapezoidal bright tipped exhausts give the rear an aggressive stance. The car comes with 17, 18, 19 or 20-inch wheels, depending on the model and offers a variety of designs.
The 300 comes with bi-functional projector headlights that reduce the glare and offer better visibility and come with LED DRLs, LED tail lights and optional LED fog lamps. You can kit your 300 with HID headlights or automatic High-Beam control headlights that switch automatically from high to lo when light from oncoming traffic is detected.
The interior is upgraded from the original 300 and now features premium materials. The car has ample space to cocoon four adults and all models come with leather trimmed seats with detailed stitch patterns. The front seats are power adjustable (8-way) and offer 4 way lumbar adjustments and you can opt for heated and ventilated seats with memory function, which memorizes the seat position, external power mirrors and your favorite radio stations.
There is a 7-inch digital display nestled between the analogue gauges that is customizable (with over 7,000 customizable views) and offers a host of information to the driver. The center console is dominated by the rather large high definition color display and is used to control the cabin functions and also displays the navigation. All the dials are illuminated by a soothing blue glow that gives the cabin an airy ambiance.
The multifunction steering wheel is leather wrapped and offers switches made from high quality materials. The switches click with a quality feel, and have the controls for speed, audio and voice commands, customizable driver display, etc. Depending on the trim, the steering wheel gets real wood or nappa leather and paddle shifters and, if desired, a heated steering wheel with power adjustment can be made available as an option.
The bulky imposing gear shifter has made way to the more suave gear selector knob and controls the new ZF sourced 8-speed auto tranny.
Chrysler has equipped 300 with a lot of passive and active safety tech – Parksense, Blind Spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, adaptive cruise control with stop, forward collision warning with active brake, lane sense including lane departure warning and lane keep assist etc.
The Parksense detects objects in front and rear of the car while parking, and warns the driver of potential impacts. The Parkview camera comes up automatically on the center screen when the car is shifted to reverse gear and the dynamic grid lines helps you to park expertly, without hassle.
During rainy days, the 300 watches out for you by engaging the rain brake assist – when you engage the windshield wiper, the brake pads are automatically kept dry by applying a bit of pressure, thus increasing the efficiency and bringing down the brake distance.
The adaptive cruise control automatically adjusts the speed by taking the input of traffic ahead and if needed, can bring the car to a complete stop. The front collision warning alerts the driver by way of visual prompts if a collision is detected and can apply auto brakes if the driver fails to apply the same on time.
The 300 comes in 2 engine options of 3.6L Pentastar V6 that delivers 292bhp and 260lb-ft torque & 300bhp and 264 lb-ft torque, according to the trim, or you can have the 300 with the fabulous 5.7L V8 HEMI that churns out 363bhp and 394lb-ft torque.
All the engines are mated with a ZF sourced advanced 8-speed auto tranny, coupled with a rotary gearshift knob that activates the gearshift selection electronically.
The 300 comes with one of the most advanced 4-wheeldrive systems in its class and gets automatically engaged at any speeds without driver input. The 4-wheeldrive system delivers infinitely variable torque split combinations, and offers an axle disconnect function and electronic stability control and real time powertrain control, that results in excellent grip, traction and control under all circumstances.
When you feel the need to go pedal to metal, 300 comes with a sports mode that increases the accelerator pedal response, quickens the shift timings, adjusts the power steering and engages the 4-wheeldrive system all the time.