When a manufacturer gets to work on bringing about the next generation model of a particular nameplate, it usually means the company restyles the car, add a couple millimeters here, improve the driving characteristics and toss in some new features. Such is the natural course of a car’s evolution.
When Chrysler went to work on the next generation 300, however, it seems like they really went forward with it. Consider it an influence of the generation that grew up with MTV and hip-hop, but if there’s one thing I know, the 300 is one great looking car, though the current generation does split opinions.
Unlike the previous one, the current 300C is a little less imposing in terms of design. The proportions are still similar: wide and boxy, bulging arches for the huge wheels, a high beltline and a proud grille flanked by a great pair of headlamps. The lines and creases, however, have been smoothed over, the bulge on the arches refined, the headlamps toned and made more high tech. This is already the facelift model with some subtle changes all around, the most notable of which is the large front grille – it looks like it was lifted off of a Bentley.
The 300C has certainly leveled up in terms of sophistication, especially inside as the cabin has a very luxurious appeal. The dash is clad in soft touch materials that give an impressive feel of quality and class. The leather feels great to the touch either on the steering wheel, the door inserts and the seats. The wood-style inserts also look fantastic and contribute to the luxurious feel of the cabin. Best of all, the plushness of the seats just invite you to hop in and relax.
There are significant changes to the cabin, particularly with the controls. The steering wheel is completely new, doing away with the rather squarish horn button in favor for one that is younger and more dynamic to look at. The gate-type shifter for the automatic gearbox is gone; instead it’s now a dial-type shifter. A lot of the touches have also focused on making the cabin more comfortable, something that we’ll test in the city.
At the heart of the 2015 300C is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. The engine has variable valve timing, twin cams per bank and four valves per cylinder to develop 290 PS (about 286 horsepower) and 340 Newton-meters of torque. Gearbox choice is an eight-speed automatic.
Negotiating city streets in the 2015 300C is far easier than many would think. The sensors around the body will eagerly notify the driver if it gets too close to a wall or another car. The steering is precise, allowing the driver to place the tires where he wants to with ease. Surprisingly enough, the 300C actually feels light to drive despite its large proportions and heavyweight status. But the best part is its comfortable ride and body control, unusual given that Chrysler Philippines say that it has opted for the sportier suspension for the local 300C.
Chrysler claims a fuel economy of 19 miles per gallon (8.1 kilometers to a liter) in the city and 31 mpg (13.2 kpl) on the highway, but given our traffic conditions, 6.8 kpl and 11.5 kpl are more realistic figures, respectively.
On the open road, the 300 accelerates smoothly, motivated well by the 290-PS engine. Nail the throttle and you’ll find that the new 300 V6 definitely has grunt reminiscent of the old 300C with the Hemi V8.
On the open highway, it’s easy to get up to speed… even safer to stay at speed. The blind spot information system was a good addition in the 300, the variant considered to be the base model. I particularly had fun using the adaptive cruise control on this highway, uh, cruiser. It took a little while to truly trust the system to maintain the gap to the car ahead at speed.
On corners, gone is that floaty feeling whenever you turned the wheel any other way but straight. At speed, the new 300 accomplishes lane changes with a newfound confidence. Brake hard then enter the corner and you’ll realize that this new car is leagues ahead of the old. The long 300, now with shorter overhangs front and rear, responds very well considering its size. Yes, the weight is still there, but it no longer needs to go through immigration before the car actually turns.
On every measurable front, saying it has improved is a complete understatement. Chrysler has elevated their flagship sedan to a new plane that can seriously rival many Teutonic models.
Some may say that they still like the style of old, and on some angles, I would agree. I say, however, that this is how the 300 should have always been: an automobile that, simply put, exudes confidence on the road in every single way. And at P 3.55 million, it’s priced very well to compete in the market of luxurious sedans.