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Chrysler's 300C Mark 2 leans heavily on a new powertrain from Fiat, Chrysler's new owner. It's fast and refined if less distinctive than its predecessor

 

Chrysler 300C 3.0 CRD V6 Executive Auto business car review

Car review: John Griffiths

What is it?

The second-generation Chrysler 300 saloon: you might remember the Mk1 – you could mistake its dramatic road presence for a Bentley.

But this is essentially an all new version of the good value, executive-cum-luxury car which was a smash hit for Chrysler in North America on its debut in 2003 (but which ultimately failed to save the company) and which has helped it gain a tiny foothold alongside Jeep in the sophisticated  business user-chooser markets of the UK and Western Europe.

With Fiat now at Chrysler’s helm in place of Mercedes-Benz, the Chrysler 300C leans heavily on Fiat Group powertrain and body engineering technology; not least the 3 litre V6 VM/Fiat turbodiesel which replaces a former Mercedes-Benz unit and which will be the only power plant offered to UK buyers when the car goes on sale on June 14.

Not the usual British exec's favoured badge

The 300C represents a complete culture shift from the British executive business users’ staples of BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar – although precisely which models of its European competitors is difficult to define.

In terms of interior room, perceived overall size and road presence, it seems to sit vaguely between BMW 5 and 7 Series, Jaguar XF and XJ and Mercedes E- and S-Class.

But the really important differences lie elsewhere.  The 300C might not seem particularly cheap – £35,995 for the “Limited” specification model and £39,995 for the so-called “Executive” – when a similar-power BMW 530d SE can be bought for £41,095.

  • The car is new from top to bottom and comes loaded with goodies

But in sharp contrast to its European rivals, there is very little on the options list. Anti-collision radar, even keeping the brake pads dry in wet driving conditions, all come within the Executive’s price tag and precious little else is optional on the Limited version as well. Spec-for-spec against its European rivals, the 300C emerges as indeed significantly cheaper.

The approach to driving dynamics, however, of the eastern Canada-built car also differs sharply from the European executive car norm and may prove more contentious.

An Audi or BMW driver can choose to enjoy (albeit usually as an option) a virtually seamless 8-speed automatic transmission. The 300C driver must settle for a five-speeder with no alternative.

The Audi or BMW driver can select assorted driving modes, from comfort to outright sporting, in which engine, gearbox, suspension and steering responses can all be altered. The engineering team on the 300C has itself developed what it considered to be the best ride and handling for the car – and that, and that alone, is what the driver gets.



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