It weighs two tonnes, looks like a mini Bentley, and seemingly eats small cars for breakfast! If you happen to have a car of this description bearing down on you, rest assured, you will get out of the way. Drive the Chrysler 300C, then, and you’ll be amazed to see that even the unruly traffic in our nation’s capital develops immediate etiquette – it’s actually quite remarkable.
chrysler300cAs we reported last month, Chrysler could use the Tata Motors-Fiat JV to introduce the brand in India in an attempt to claim a piece of the ever-growing luxury car market – a potential alliance made possible by Fiat’s 20% stake in the rejuvenated Chrysler Group LLC, formed following the company’s re-emergence from US bankruptcy court after just 60 days. What better time, then, to try out what would be Chrysler’s most appropriate model presently for Indian shores?
From the Outside
Words such as ‘audacious’ and ‘imposing’ don’t really do justice to the kind of presence that the 300C really has. This is not a svelte machine, it’s a large car with broad shoulders and straight lines. Let’s just say that you wouldn’t mess with whoever’s inside – you just wouldn’t.
What’s most surprising is that the Chrysler doesn’t wallow like a traditional American luxury barge. The chassis is surprisingly stiff and responsive. The 300C turns in very well, and you can even get the car to slide a little on turn in if you’re so inclined
SRT Design 300C 001
This particular car was the diesel version of the Chrysler 300C, but looked suspiciously like the 300C SRT-8, which is a very special model indeed. SRT, which stands for Street Racing Technology, is the in-house high performance arm of Chrysler – best known for their monstrous Hemi V8 engines. The SRT-8 in question has a 6.1 liter Hemi V8 that produces 425 horsepower, and accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in under 5 seconds. The 300C CRD, instead, has a 3.0 liter, turbocharged, diesel engine producing 215 horsepower. They look eerily similar, however, courtesy of an SRT package fitted to our test car, which includes a front grille with a chromed billet aluminum shell and a Bentley-like inner mesh. It also includes massive 20-inch forged and polished 12-spoke aluminum rims that add to its already mighty presence on the road.
It really does look every bit the mini Bentley – evidenced by the number of such inquiries from the many intrigued passers-by.
From the Inside
chrysler300cinteriorWords such as ‘audacious’ and ‘imposing’ don’t really do justice to the kind of presence that the 300C really has. Let’s just say that you wouldn’t mess with whoever’s inside – you just wouldn’t
As you sit in the drivers’ seat, you try and take in the sheer vastness of the bonnet that stretches out in front of you – simply because of its square shape, rather than its actual dimensions mind you. The first thing that you notice in the cabin as well is that everything appears to be XXL, which is not entirely surprising if you’ve seen the individual portions in American restaurants.
The seats are throne-like and commodious to say the least, which means that they’re extremely comfortable. You tend to sink into the rear bench, and hope the journey lasts as long as possible so that you can enjoy the comforts of the 300C’s cabin. Even ordinarily small pieces of trim such as the door handles are massive, and the steering wheel has a diameter such that you feel as though you’re at the helm of a ship. The quality of materials are largely okay, but there are several pieces of hard plastic that are unworthy in what would be considered a luxury car in India.
The Chrysler makes up some lost ground, however, on the technology front. The SRT package means that this 300C comes with a 6-speaker Boston Acoustic audio system that sounds quite impressive. It also comes with 8-way electronically adjustable front seats, and a very easy to use touch screen CD/DVD infotainment system that has a 20GB inbuilt hard drive – in which you can store upto 1,600 songs and even photos. It also has front and rear side-curtain airbags, xenon HID headlamps, rain sensing wipers and a rear park assist system.
On the whole, the interior is very comfortable – albeit not very exciting, as its largely grey with the exception of silver trim on the center console, as well as a smattering of imitation carbon fiber elsewhere in the cabin.