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First Drive: 2011 Chrysler 300

Rolling sculpture, Part II.

by on Feb.02, 2011

The look of the new Chrysler 300 is more refined, if a little less in-your-face.

Sure, safety sells, and fuel economy has certainly become a critical consideration for many American buyers.  Performance matters, and there are plenty of folks influenced by the latest high-tech gadgets.  But few things draw your attention as effectively as a good design.

And few cars in recent memory have been more effective at turning heads than the Chrysler 300, which made its show-stopping debut at the 2003 New York Auto Show – reaching production barely a year later.  Starting from the bold, upright grille, the big sedan had an almost comic book presence that underscored Chrysler’s history of rolling out in-your-face designs.

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Even today, the Chrysler 300 catches your eye.  The exterior design, anyway.  Unfortunately, the interior never matched that bold vision, with its jumble of cheap plastic bits and pieces.  The 300 delivered an acceptable, if uninspiring, drive, and quality was a distinct problem, according to the likes of J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports.

So, imagine the challenges faced by the Chrysler product development team assigned the task of redesigning this icon.  They not only had to maintain its benchmark bravado but match that inside and out.  They had to enhance the 300’s driving dynamics, improve fuel economy, enhance performance, fix endemic quality problems – and, oh, did we mention they had to do it all while Chrysler was in the midst of a financial collapse?

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Chrysler Sets Sticker on Next-Generation 300 Sedan

Flagship aimed at reviving struggling Detroit maker.

by on Jan.06, 2011

Pricing for the 2012 Chrysler 300 will start at $28,000 and nudge up to $42,000.

Chrysler will launch its new 300 sedan, early this year, for a starting price of just under $28,000, the automaker today announced.  A fully-loaded 300C will push into the mid-$40,000 range.

One of the most important launches for the Detroit-based maker this year – and arguably the foundation of a planned comeback for the Chrysler brand – the 300 is aimed at re-establishing the maker as more than just an also-ran in the luxury car market.

The outgoing 300 was an instant success after its launch, seven years ago, critically hailed for its retro-tinged styling.  The new model maintains many of the bolder styling cues but introduces a more refined feel to the design – especially when it comes to the interior.

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Chrysler has redesigned the interior of most of its key products for 2011, addressing one of the biggest and most consistent criticisms leveled against the maker.  (For a closer look at the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan’s design, Click Here.)

The base version of the 2012 Chrysler 300 will carry a $27,995 sticker, while a top-line 300C with a Hemi V8 and all-wheel-drive will list for $41,195.  Add destination and option prices and the new model could push several thousand dollars higher.

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Chrysler Lifts Covers On 300 Sedan Exterior

Future retro.

by on Dec.21, 2010

The 2012 Chrysler 300 will reach showrooms earlier in the first quarter of the new year.

Was it worth the wait?  Chrysler is finally giving us a full glimpse of the next-generation 300 sedan – after offering up only a tempting tease earlier in the month.

The images here reveal a retro-futuristic design that picks up where the outgoing sedan left off.  Launched in 2004, the Chrysler 300 flagship offered a dramatic rear-drive design that helped carry Chrysler through some of its darkest moments – including last year’s bankruptcy.

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The new car will have to prove that beauty is more than skin deep, however, and that means delivering more technology, improved quality and, in particular, a more refined and crafted interior.

The front end of the new 300 features an every-so-slightly more raked grille, one that uses a new seven-blade design featured in what Chrysler describes as “liquid chrome.”  Meanwhile, “key slot” headlamps form a C-shape and are surrounded by LED daylight running lamps.

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