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LateNight and Polar's Chrysler 300 Analysis


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First, from me, the nuts and bolts:

With a 5.7L V8 engine producing 340 horsepower at 5,000 rpms and a thundering 390ft/lbs. of torque at 4,000 rpms bolted to a Mercedes-Benz five speed automatic sitting at the front of a chasis sporting a 120" wheelbase and a curb weight of 4,018lbs, is it an S-Class sedan from AMG? Not quite.

This product of Daimler Chrysler is a distinctly more american flavored performance sedan. While the new Chrysler 300 relies heavily on Mercedes-Benz "hand-me-downs", like the previous generation E-Class' platform - with the trademark Mercedes Benz 3-Link front and 5-Link rear independent suspensions, a 5spd Mercedes Benz Automatic transmission, and an available Steyr AWD system from the Mercedes bin too (in a mercedes it goes under the name "4Matic".

The Model line for the chrysler 300 has quite a range, as it is supposed to replace the entire Chrysler "Cab-Forward" line of Concord, LHS, and 300M. The base 300 - which starts under $24,000. How much 300 will 24k get you? Not much. The base 300 is powered by Chrysler's 2.7L DOHC 24V V6 engine. This engine is good for 200hp at 5,800rpms and 190ft/lbs of torque an 4,850 rpms. While it gives the 3,700lb 300 fairly good gas mileage (21/28), it lacks low end torque, refinement, polish, all of which is only made worse by the fact it is backed by a dated Chrysler automatic transmission with only 4 gears. The base 300 simply doesn't stack up well against competitors like Buck Lesabre which offer better fuel economy yet, more power from the venerable 3800 V6, and more powertrain refinement. 0-60 is listed at over 10 secconds for the 2.7L 300. Simply put, the 2.7L is overwhelmed by the sheer size of 300.

If you move further up the model line, you reach the middle level 300s, which are powered by the spritely Chrysler 3.5L SOHC 24V V6, a powerplant good for 250hp at a lofty 6,400 rpms and 250 ft/lbs of torque at 3,900 rpms. This powerplant - also all aluminum only adds 40lbs to the base weight of 3,711 pounds on the 2.7L 300, and is also backed up by the same tried and true - but basic 4 speed chrysler autobox which really should have another gear. The day of 4 speed automatics is quickly coming to an end, especially in worldly luxury cars. This powertrain combination is far more driveable than the 2.7L, offering more low end grunt and a smoother demeanor, but still gives up a lot of refinement to engines like Nissan's VQ 3.5L V6's. 3.5L powered chrysler 300s turn over 0-60 runs of just short of 8 secconds and offer power all over their rev range, helping to make up for the transmission's lack of cogs.

The engine that really makes news in the 300 lineup is the one under the hood of the flagship 300C. The HEMI. The "Hemi" is a 5.7L Pushrod OHV V8 with 16 valves and the unique hemispherical head layout (where the hemi name comes from). While it is true that all DOHC engines have hemispherical combustion chambers, Chrysler's V8 is unique in that it is the only pushrod engine with this layout. The hemispherical layout allows more direct paths in and out of the cylenders, valve angles more conducive to high flow, and the shape of the combustion chamber helps to ensure uniform combusion throughout the cylender. The Hemi also feature's Daimler-Chrysler's "MDS", or Multiple Displacement System, a system that shuts off 4 of the 8 cylenders in order to conserve fuel when the extra power isn't needed. So how well does it all work?

The engine is powerful by any measure, turning out numbers roughly in line with the Corvette's LS1 V8, with a 340hp and a ground shaking 390ft/lbs of torque, a calm demeanor and a lot of composure for a large pushrod V8, and a 5,700rpm redline - coupled with a 5spd Mercedes transmission that will run all the way to the line to shift under hard accleration, the 300 is certainly powerful. Unfortuneately, this iron-block monster of an engine and the upgrades in trim that come with it add 300lbs to an already heavy and large car. While the base 2.7L 300 has perfect 50:50 weight distrobution, the 300C has shifted to 56:44 due to the extra weight up front. Acceleration is brisk, running to 60 in 5.8 secconds, not quite AMG calibre, but certainly not out of line with the likes of 545i, E500, STS 4.6, and GS430. As far as the "MDS" system saving fuel, the 300C is rated to a mediocre 17/25. To put that in perspective, the Lincoln LS, another American sedan with european heritage that is roughly the same size, weight, and accelerates nearly as quickly manages 18/26 with it's V8 engine that has no displacement control.

As far as handling goes, the 300 is no corvette, but it isn't a suburban either. The mercedes suspension it inheritted gives it very good response characteristics, minimal understeer, and a very pleasant ride, but the laws of physics still apply - and it is a large and heavy barge of a car, so while it feels pleasant and is a capable handler, it won't inspire you to tear through the curves the way that say, a 545i might, then again, it was never meant to, and certainly has a more compliant ride.

A Steyr AWD system is also to be offered on the 300 - for all three engines. It is a viscious coupled system - the same one used on Mercedes cars. The mercedes AWD unit also requires the vehicles to have the mercedes 5 Spd. Auotmatic transmission, so both V6 trim level cars get an upgrade to the 5spd mercedes automatic with the optional AWD. It is possible that the V6 cars will be faster with the AWD for that reason.

Is it the real deal though, or are they desecrated such holy american names as Hemi and 300?

The engine is all american, and while it's true, some interior bits, the automatic transmission, suspension, and platform are all german, as is most of the electronics and stability control, none of those are really things that stand out that much on a car. I mean the brakes on nearly all ford cars are bosch made in germany, the Lincoln LS/Ford Thunderbird got hand me down engines, transmission, and suspension from the Jaguar S-Type, the cadillac CTS, chevy malibu, upcoming pontiac G6 all based on european Opel platforms. Truth be told, there aren't any american cars where everything on them comes from america, we are in a global economy, so if some components come from somewhere else, that's to be expected. The 300C gets a lot of attention for it's german parts, but it is no worse than any other modern american car. The engine of the new Saturn VUE Redline is made by honda, the Cadillac Catera sedan was actually built in germany, to be fair, mechanically, this is a pretty darn american piece of engineering if you look at what matters about it. If you put mercedes engineers behind the wheel, they certainly wouldn't claim ownership of the car, the feel is not that of a mercedes. Chrysler tried to do the 300 just with parts from the north american parts bin, the 300M was a flop. It never sold well, was never popular, came as a front drive, v6 only car, and wasn't fast.

And the 300 marks a return to RWD for chrysler. Ford with their Lincoln LS, GM with Catera and CTS, and now chrysler with the 300 are showing the world they have faith in the benefits of rear wheel drive again. America's great sedans are coming back. The American automakers for the 80s and 90s tried to emulate the japanese with efficient, basic, blande and boring, boring to look at, boring to drive front wheel drive cars with small engines and no sport. The Americans are finally understanding that they can have their own flavor of car again. If it takes american automakers pulling a few bits from their foriegn subsidiaries (or in chrysler's case, their foreign parrent), so be it. It is a return to "American Style Cars", they are big, powerful, rear drive, and have a feel uniquely their own, and when it comes down to it, hard earned dollar for dollar, pound for pound, beating the new generation of american cars, american cars built the american way, looks hard to do.

Another interesting note, chrysler tried to make one of the most noticable components of the car more american. Finer chrysler cars have traditionally always had infinity stereo systems, infinity being a brand of the German audio giant Harman/Kardon. For the 300, a very american (and in my opinion, better) Boston Accoustics system is fitted to the 300.

This sedan is one that will make you proud to buy american again. Even if bits and pieces are from the mercedes parts bin, why complain, they work fantastically and don't drastically alter the flavor of the car. This sedan feels American, from the hearty thrum of it's pushrod V8 to it's head-snapping low end. It rides softer than the european competition, but still handles well. It is a distinctly american flavored car, built in the american way and is brash and hard when the competiton has been about finesse and elegance, but is every bit the car any of its competition is. It performs toe to toe and is engineered phenomenally well in the american way. Dollar for dollar, nothing from europe or japan can touch it, it is a world class touring sedan in every way and is unapoligetically red white and blue.

  • 1 Monat später...
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Welcome everyone to another addition of the LateNight & PolarFox Analysis series!

Now that I finally got around to writing my design analysis, we can unlock this topic and see what people think. Thanks for being patient.

Before we go into the new for 2005 Chrysler 300C, lets learn a little about where this car's name comes from. The " 300 " name is legendary within the realm of Chrysler, and was bestowed upon a line of high-performance Chrysler sedans in the 1950's and through the 60's. They were called the " letter cars ", representing each successive model. The first, was the C300 of 1955, Styled by Chrysler's new chief of design, Virgil Exner ( his leadership being a high-point in Chrysler design history ), this car was very unique in that it was large, but also had a sporting character - not common in those days. It also introduced the world to Hemi power. Available in coupe or convertible and sporting 300 horsepower - the most of any American prduction car at that time, it dominated Nascar racing - back when Nascar meant something.

In the following years, there were other 300s', the 300C of 1957 which introduced Chrysler's " cab forward " approach, the 300D of 1958, 300E of 1959, 300F of 1960 and so on. 300G, 300H, 300J, 300K, 300L, etc, etc. In the 70's the 300 name continued to be used, but these were not " letter cars ". In 1999, there came the 300M. Based upon a shortened LH platform, it brought renewed fire to the 300 name. But with a V6 and front wheel drive, it was only a half hearted attempt.

This brings us to the new 2005 300C. Built largely upon the underpinnings of the previous generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but powered by the 5.7 liter Hemi V8 it remains all Chrysler, and a car that honors the letter cars in a big way. The "C" model represents the pinacle of style for the new 300, so I will critique this particular car. Lets' see how the styling of this new machine stacks up. Here we go! :) - LateNightCable

Front ...


At first glance the 300C may appear the same as the 300 Touring and Limited, but they are differentiated by subtle but very important details. The " C " incorporates a more upscale, and in my opinion much better looking head and tail lamp treatment, as well as exposed tail pipes, and various chrome trim pieces that the Limited and Touring models do not have. In this front angle, we see that the very large and upright egg-crate grill is the dominant detail. Some might think this tacky and overwhelming. But in the old days, this was a car's " face ", something to be shown off. The new 300 says "I'm American, I am a Chrysler and proud of it! " - That it is. The upright stance of the grill, and the car as a whole suggests dignity and formality - strength. The large size of the grill also alludes to the great power that must be under the hood. A big grill, for a big engine.

The corners of the car are softened by the round edges of the headlamps, which are clean and jewel like, adding much to the effect of " perceived quality ". They were in fact created by a former jewler turned Chrysler clay modeler. The three-spoke design of the outer lamps is a throwback to headlamps of the 1930s'. Art Deco-ish details such as this blend well with the American Industrial age asthetic that is going on here. The flat bumper could easily make the nose seem, well - flat. But the horizontal upraisings, adorned with a classy swath of chrome widen the car's appearance, keeping it close to the ground.

The simple round fog-lamps accented by slit air vents are tasteful. Mounting them to the lower far corners of the car, draws the eye to the ground, also accentuating the low and wide effect. The general " boaty " appearance of the 300 is tempered by the rather chisled and muscular fenders and wheel openings, also providing the 300 with a solid and stable presence. The mirrors are an interesting and very liquid design, and the chrome finish is icing on the cake.

Profile ...


In profile, we can really get an idea of the new 300's design philosophy. It is a return to the formal three box design, with a destinct hood, passenger compartment, and trunk. The slab sides, thick pillars, and high belt line suggest weight, but more importantly, solidity - It lends a commanding presence. This could come across as too hefty if not for a few choice body creases which slim it out a bit. The sharpness of each edge, keeps the bulk in check, while the flared wheel wells bring a muscular and in control appearance to the package. The rather flat nose and tail is fitting for the upright and noble image that the 300 projects. The flat roofline, and the small traditionally angular and horizontal glass area enhances the secure, tank-like feeling also, while at the same time " lengthening " the bulky 300. While it may be hard to see in silver, the thick chrome strip running below the windows underscores the quest for a trimmer appearance. This is a visual trick that is quite popular now. The belt line is slightly upswept towards the rear, making the front seem lower, and giving the car a kind of mobility, and athletisism of appearance.

If there is anything that seems not quite right, it would be how short the trunk lid is, it's very stubby, more fitting of a compact car with a compact image. But given the block like character of the 300, and the space the designers had to work with, it's not really bad. A note about the wheels, they are 18 inches in diameter, but they seem small compared to the equally generous proportions of the 300C. This might be one car that would actually look well with a set of 20"-22" wheels.

Tail ...


In this 3/4 tail view, we see how clean and sharp the trunk lid is. The Chrysler winged emblem in the center is the right size, prominent, without being ostentacious. In my opinion the exhaust pipes could be a little larger and more visible, but still, they are are pretty good, and the cut-outs accentuate their presence pretty well. Something the 300C has that the other two 300 models don't, are tail lamps with three clear horizontal lenses, these are subtle, and are a nice refined detail. The door handles are not particularly elegant, but they are clean, simple and functional.

In closing, I find the new Chrysler 300C to be a refreshing and worthy successor to the legendary 300 letter cars. A return to American style. I was wondering back in 1995 when they were going to come out with something like this - Now it's here.

* For information on the upcoming 300C SRT-8, see the following thread! - http://www.carpassion.com/en/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1775

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