Yeah, it's got a Hemi! Big, bad, and surprisingly luxurious; the 300C "Luxury Series" is a great long-hauler.
In 1955, Chrysler introduced the 300 as a performance luxury vehicle in a limited edition. Each year between 1955 and 1965, they introduced a new model with a new letter; such as the 300B, 300F, and so on up until the 1965 Chrysler 300L. Fast forward to 1999 when Chrysler re-introduced the 300 series with the 300M; the only front-wheel-drive incarnation of the car. The 2013 Chrysler 300C AWD “Luxury Series” pays homage to the iconic vehicles of the 50s.
For model year 2005, the Chrysler 300 was again renamed and given the options of either a V6 or the 5.7 V8. The latter was known as the 300C, and the monster 6.1L version was known as the SRT-8. Sharing parts with various Mercedes-Benz models, the 300 was definitely something to write home about. It shared its rear suspension components with the W210 E-Class and its double wishbone front suspension, 5-speed automatic, rear differential, and ESP program with the W220 S-Class. Neat.
The 2nd generation 300 was all new for model year 2011, now using the infamous 3.6L Pentastar V6, and of course, with the return of the monster V8s. The 5.7 now has 363 horsepower, and the SRT’s 6.4L Hemi at a whopping 470. Holy moly.
I road tested the 2013 “Luxury Series” 300C. It came painted in a gloss black exterior finish, with fantastic, comfortable two-tone beige and black leather seats. Naturally, it also came with most of the necessary upgrades to qualify it as a luxury muscle car.
I have always had a soft spot for the 300s; prior to this test, it has always been my choice rental for road trips into the United States. It has never been anything short of confident and safe. Behind the wheel of one, I’ve always felt as though I’m completely in control and out of harms way, even in the heart of a blizzard on the I-90 on my way to New York City.
This week has certainly been a treat for me; I am a huge fan of V8s in general. I must ask though; who doesn’t like the rumble of a Hemi V8? It’s not the fastest in a straight line; it’s not the most refined, and it definitely doesn’t handle all that well. For what it is though; a huge, luxurious sedan with a powerful engine, it’s fantastic. 363 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque seems like a lot, but in this 300C it doesn’t seem to do much. Granted, it does have to lug over 4,500 lbs of Detroit muscle, but it still manages to pull off a 5.6 second 0-100 km/h run. You’ll definitely smoke the pants off your neighbours with their Cadillac XTS. I do think though that the 8-speed available in the V6-powered 300 models would be beneficial in this one as well.
The “Beats by Dr. Dre” 10-speaker sound system in my tester was pretty decent. Although the speakers are good overall, I did find something missing in overall sound quality. There definitely was way too much bass; much like in the headphones available by the same brand. The UConnect™ 8.4” touch screen is incredibly easy and simple to use. I had no issues at all using the voice recognition (typically a weak point in most car systems I’ve used) or even to program destinations into the Garmin-based navigation system.
The one complaint I had with the 300C is that it’s incredibly thirsty on gas. For this week, I spent a great deal of time driving around the city, where I averaged 14.6L/100km. On the highway, the 300 had no problem at all getting an overall average of 8.9L/100km. I can’t stress enough how great a road trip companion this thing is.
The styling of the second-generation 300 has a much more modernized look to it. Personally though, I’m a much bigger fan of the older configuration (2005-2010). It had more defined lines and looked far more aggressive. The dashboard in the old car, while bland, seemed a bit better-built as well. The interior of my tester definitely appeared to be cheaply built. I guess modernizing isn’t always for the better; a fact I determined when driving the 2013 Acura TL as well.
Throughout my week with the 300C AWD, I couldn’t get over the fact that my “fully-loaded” $50,000 tester came without a sunroof. Though it’s optional on the car, it’s something I have come to expect on any luxury/premium sedan. Despite its flaws, the 300C definitely has a niche market. While enthusiasts would continue to moan and groan about its boring styling or fundamentally outdated driving dynamics, there are retirees or fathers approaching a midlife crisis that would gladly trade in their Taurus or Lucerne to have some Hemi in their lives.
2013 Chrysler 300C AWD Gallery