The 300 nameplate has been associated with Chrysler since long before I was born, yet I truly believe that when the company reintroduced its 300 back in 2005, this was perhaps the most important/influential product launch since the nameplate first appeared in the ‘50s. Designed by the renowned automotive genius Ralph Gilles, his 2005 vision of the 300 stunned the industry with its bold and muscular appearance, but there was much more to his design than purely stunning good looks!
His design was almost chameleon in the way in which colour choice could dramatically alter its personality; in black, it became pure sinister, a vehicle which any aspiring mobster would be proud to pilot. Paint it red, and it suddenly became sports-like and downright sexy. Yet dressed in all its finery and furnished with a coat of creamy pearlescent paint, and the 300 could stand its ground alongside any high-end prestige automobile you’d care to mention. Automotive manufacturers often attempt this feat, but very few manage to achieve it.
What is a Chrysler 300?
Put simply, the 2005 Chrysler 300 was a success story straight from the get-go. It was based somewhat on the Chrysler LX RWD platform. However, due to Chrysler’s association with Mercedes-Benz at the time, the 300 featured several components lifted from the well-proven MB W211 E-Class. It was a winning combination. Therefore, each time Chrysler alters or tweaks Ralph’s design in any manner, we journalists approach with bated breath fully expecting them to screw things up!
Now, having experienced the new 300, we can all breathe again because, thankfully, they didn’t!
2015 Chrysler 300 Price & Specs
A total of four models will be offered here in Canada for 2015, the 300 Touring, the 300S, the 300C and the top-of-the-range 300C Platinum.
Standard power for the new 300 comes in the form of the well-proven 3.6L Pentastar V6, a three-time winner of “Ward’s Ten Best Engines.” It offers 292 hp/260 lb-ft of torque (300 hp/264 lb-ft on the 300S) and a Best-in-Class AWD system (featuring front-axle disconnect) is available for all V6 models (adds approximately $2,200). The 5.7L Hemi V8 is also available, offering 363 hp/394 lb-ft of torque. Alas, AWD is not an option for the V8 Hemi powered units.
All models now feature the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission with Rotary-style E-shift and, I must admit to being rather fond of this setup. It is easy to operate, super smooth, and constantly selects the right gear for the job at hand.
Prices start at $37,395 for the 300 Touring, which is followed by the 300S starting at $40,095. Above this comes the 300C at $41,095 and topping out the range is the 300C Platinum, starting at $43,095.
Inside & Out of the 2015 Chrysler 300
In 2011, we saw a refresh of the 300 that, in truth, was perhaps no more than a simple dress-up of the product. Chrysler had long been criticized for its poor interiors and had finally decided to address this issue. They certainly did, and yet this new 300 takes things to a whole new level again. The top of the range Platinum model features diamond stitching on seats and door panels. The last time I saw this was at the launch of a Bentley, and to see Chrysler now mirroring the same look is somewhat staggering.
However, although I fell in love with the interior of the new Platinum model, I disliked the interior of the 300S almost as much. Yes, while the leather with contrasting stitching elevates the dash/door surfaces of the Platinum model to the level of a high-end luxury automobile, the rubbery textured finish to the dash of the 300S is somewhat lacking in refinement. I can see what the designers tried to do (that sporty black soft-touch look), but they simply got it wrong. While the Platinum carries gorgeous open-pore wood and stylish metal accents, the 300S is awash with a mass of dark molded rubber and something the industry likes to call Piano Black or what you & I know as shiny black plastic!
That said, and apart from some shamelessly poorly executed dummy exhaust tips, these were the only negatives I could discover in the entire lineup. The newly redesigned (33% larger) grilles hark back to its bold 2005 heritage that’s a good thing and, although the basic underpinnings of the vehicle remain (another good thing!), the vehicle is bang up-to-date with every creature comfort you’ll ever want or need.
The 2015 300C features heated and cooled perforated Nappa leather seating (with heated rear seats), a heated steering wheel, a Uconnect 8.4” touchscreen with navigation and HD radio, plus SiriusXM, and an Alpine premium audio system. The Platinum boasts quilted Nappa leather, hand-sanded wood, ultra-premium Poltrona Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel and console, plus platinum-chrome exterior details and 20” rims.
Driving the 2015 Chrysler 300
As the basic underpinnings of the 300 remain somewhat the same there’s not much to say about the drive other than that the new 8-speed transmission is a huge improvement over the old and rather antiquated unit from previous V8 models. The smoothness of this transmission is immediately obvious, and performance and fuel economy also benefit from the additional gears.
The new electronic steering also adds to the vehicle and being programmable (comfort/normal/sport) elevates the 300 further into the realm of those pricey European imports.
Comparing the 2015 Chrysler 300
There’s probably several N.A.-made products I could list as competition for the 300 (Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala, etc.). However, after experiencing firsthand the gorgeous 300C Platinum (the one I’d recommend purchasing), one truly does have to start eyeing those high-end luxury European/Japanese products as possible rivals. Yes, a loaded 300C Platinum might set you back close to $50k or so by the time the ink dries, but when you look at what’s included for your money (plus the quality of workmanship now coming out of Chrysler) it’s actually a good deal.