The all-new Chrysler 300 sedan has finally made its way to showrooms in Australia, replacing the seven-year-old 300C. For 2012, the 300 is available in four trim levels, the 300 Limited, updated 300C, 300C Luxury and the SRT8, which will be the headliner for this year. Engine choice for all but the SRT8, which will have a monstrous 6.4-liter V8 that we will discuss later, will include both petrol and diesel options, and all petrol engines will be equipped with the new 8spd automatic transmission and the diesel with a 5spd automatic. While the look of the 300 has not changed much, it has been updated to include LED headlights and a redesigned Chrysler badge that adorns an all-new, much more attractive grille. The rear taillights have been updated as well to be smaller with the LED indicator now positioned down the center of each light. While they may resemble the old 300, the updated luxury appointments let you know this is not the same 300 at all.
The rear-wheel-drive 300 will be available with three different engines, two for the Limited, C and Luxury and one for the SRT8. The first offering will be a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 petrol or the 3.0-liter CRD turbo diesel, and the SRT8 will be equipped with a 6.4-liter V8 petrol engine. Although the Pentastar petrol may be the on the bottom of the list, its performance is far from unimpressive. The 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar produces 210kW at 6350rpm and 340Nm of torque at 4650rpm. Combine this with the all-new 8spd automatic transmission and you will get a fuel economy of about 9.4L/100km. The 0-100km/h time is not bad either with Chrysler reporting it to be 7.0 seconds. The 3.0-liter CRD turbo diesel, a product of Fiat and the GM-owned VM Motori, produces around 176kW at 4000rpm and 550Nm between 1800 and 2800rpm. The diesel is the only engine to get the traditional 5spd automatic but still gives you a very acceptable fuel economy of 7.1L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 7.8 seconds. Both provide power and fuel economy, not something that is normally found in a large luxury sedan.
Now to the top of the line 300 SRT8, which is guaranteed to be the best selling model of the four available. It is equipped with an upgraded 6.4-liter V8, giving it 347kW at 6100rpm and 631Nm at 4150rpm. While the judgment is still in the air on the fuel economy, the range is from 14.2 to 13.0L/100km, and a 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds. Keep in mind these are the figures determined in the United States, so the figures once it hits Australian roads could be different.
Engine Size: 3.6 litre V6
Max. Power: 210kW @ 6350rpm
Max. Torque: 340Nm @ 4650rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Consumption: 6.4 L/100km
Transmission: 8 Speed Auto
Some Key Features
- ParkView System
- LED Daytime Running Lights
- Keyless entry
- 8.4-inch Uconnect Touch-screen Multimedia Display
All the braking components and suspension for all models have been upgraded, with the SRT8 on the top end receiving four-piston Brembo calipers to complete its ventilated disc brake system. Handling is improved with new electro-hydraulic power steering for the Limited, C and C Luxury, while the SRT8 will maintain the previous hydraulic steering system. The platform for the 300 has been improved as well, now being composed of more high-strength steel than before. Overall, the handling, stability and above all safety of the 300 has been upgraded to match its better performance.
The entry-level 300 Limited features “premium” cloth seats, power driver and front passenger seats, power windows, adaptive auto-leveling bi-xenon headlamps and heated power side mirrors with integrated signals. Among some of the more luxurious features that are new are the ParkView system, Rear Back-up ParkSense and Park Assist System camera. Keyless entry, keyless go power boot lid and speed sensitive power door locks are also standard. The interior technology has been updated as well to include the 8.4N Uconnect Touch System, satellite navigation, USB, CD/DVD/MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth. Move up to the 300C and you have leather heated and cooled front seats, automatic wipers, heated steering wheel and heated and cooled front cup holders. The 300C also has a Safety Tec pack that adds Forward Collision Warning and Adaptive Speed Control. You will also have the option of a dual-pane panoramic sunroof. The luxury has everything the other two are equipped with, but receives more exterior bling with a platinum chrome treatment to the mirrors, grille and door handles. The SRT8 adds a performance focused ground effects kit to not only add to the distinct look of the SRT8, but increase the handling as well. It also receives a 300km/h speedometer and a multi-function performance display. Inside you will also find steering wheel mounted shift paddles, three-mode Electronic Stability control and bolstered sport seats.
How much will all this new power and performance cost you may ask. The 300 Limited with the 3.6 petrol will cost around $43,000, with the diesel 3.0 version costing around $48,000. Move up to the 300C and expect to pay around $46,500 for the 3.6 petrol and $51,500 for the 3.0 diesel. Move up another notch and expect to pay $51,000 for the 300C Luxury 3.6 petrol and $56,000 for the 3.0 diesel version. At the top of the list is the SRT8 with the 6.4 petrol with a $66,000 price tag.
Overall the 2012 Chrysler 300 seems to provide its owners with quite a bit for not as high of a price tag as expected. The SRT8 has the potential to compete and win over some of the current V8 sports cars, not just the luxury sports cars. The list of standard features provides a good value for the money and you are getting a full-size vehicle. While the 2012 Chrysler 300 might not be for everyone, if you want something fast and functional, perhaps you should consider one.