If Al Capone were still alive, he would probably drive a Chrysler 300. The big Chrysler looks as though it’s been chiseled from stone, with its sharp edges and wedge design. It’s aggressive both inside and outside, and exudes power and dominance. Perfect for a gangster.
The prohibition era is over, but modern day men and women of power still choose the 300 as their chariot of choice. It’s easy to see why; the 300 is a handsome luxury sedan an array of powerful drivetrains.
First Generation (2004-2010)
The Chrysler 300 first caught the public’s attention as a shiny concept car at the 2003 New York Auto show. It was a vehicle of great importance, considering the fact that Chrysler had not produced a full-sized, rear-wheel drive sedan since 1981. A year later, 300s started hitting dealership showrooms in five different trim levels: Base, Touring, Limited, 300C and SRT-8. All models are based on the Chrysler LX platform, which shared design bits from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Two V6 engines are available including a 2.7L and 3.5L, as well as two V8s; a 5.7L HEMI and a 6.1L HEMI. Rear-wheel drive is standard with optional all-wheel drive available. Power is routed through either a four-speed or 5-speed automatic.
Second Generation (2011-present)
In 2011, the Chrysler 300 got a complete makeover. On the outside, new bi-xenon HID projector headlights with LED strips provide illumination. Fresh sheet metal was applied to the C300 as well with thinner roof pillars and a more raked windshield. Technological wizardry includes a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and an 8.4 inch Uconnect Touch infotainment system. The 2.7L and 3.5L engine got axed in favor of Chrysler’s new 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine. Other engine options include the carryover 5.7L HEMI V8 as well as a new 6.4L HEMI V8. Either a 5-speed automatic or an 8-speed automatic is used to get power to the drive wheels.
For 2014, the Chrysler 300 is left virtually unchanged, except for a few minor trim level adjustments. The 2014 model is a carryover of the redesigned 2011 brute.
The exterior of the Chrysler 300 retains its bold front grille and stylized taillights. Tasteful details include chrome air-intake outlines, chrome trim and LED daytime running lights. Inside, the 300 is luxurious and chalk full of comfort and technology. The materials are high quality, with soft surfaces throughout. High end models can even be had with a leather-stitched instrument panel cover, 2-tone leather upholstery and heated and cooled 12-way front power seats.
All trim level 300s get a cornucopia of standard features including keyless entry and start, a 8.4-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB/iPod/SD card connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, a 12-way power driver’s seat with 4-way power lumbar support, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, heated front seats, one-touch up/down windows, side-curtain airbags, driver’s-knee airbag, hill-start assist and electronic stability control. Whew.
Of course, the Chrysler 300 needs some bark to back up its bite. Hence the quartet of powerful available engines including a 292-hp 3.6L 6-cylinder, a 300-hp 3.6L 6-cylinder, a 363-hp 5.7L 8-cylinder or a 470-hp 6.4L.
In a world full of electrified compact cars, it’s good to know land yachts like the Chrysler 300 still exist. The only thing missing from the big Chrysler is a trunk full of illegal booze and a fedora-wearing mobster behind the wheel.