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Drive Diary: 2013 Chrysler 300S

William Maley

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Since the second-generation Chrysler 300 was introduced in 2011, I've been wanting to get my hands on one. I had many chances to take one out for a spin and every time, I missed it. When Chrysler did the launch of the SRT Tour back in 2011, they had a 300 SRT8 available for drives. I unfortunately missed out on driving it. Then at the 2012 MAMA Spring Rally, the new 300 Luxury Series was there and missed that too. Fast forward to this week and a 2013 Chrysler 300S arrived at my house. I knew couldn't squander this chance as I had done time and time again.

The 300S is the step up from the standard 300 and starts at $33,145. My test car is equipped with the 3.6L Pentastar V6, eight-speed automatic, and three option packages (SafetyTec, Light Group, and UConnect) bringing the as-tested price to $37,925* (includes a $995 destination charge).

The Chrysler 300 is one of those vehicles that have presence and the S model only amplifies that. A dark silver color and the twenty-inch aluminum wheels takes the 300S to another level. Also taking the 300Z to another level is the 3.6L V6. While most 300s equipped with the 3.6 come with 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet, S models get eight extra horses and four more pound-feet to torque. This is due to a sports tuned exhaust and cold-air induction system. During my first 15 minutes, I was shocked by how much power the 3.6 had available on tap and how smooth the eight-speed automatic is. The ride was surprisingly comfortable during my short drive, although I'll see how it fares on the freeway in the coming week.

Also impressing me is Chrysler's UConnect system. A large 8.4-inch touchscreen houses the system and its a breeze to use. The touch points to move around are large and the system is very snappy. The Beats audio system seems to producing very good system, but I will need to spend some more time with it before make any conclusions.

Complaints? I have a couple. The 300 has possibly the worst rear visibility in a vehicle I have tested. I'm very thankful my tester has blind-spot monitoring and a backup camera. The other lies with interior as its too black. Black leather, black dashboard, and a black headliner. Needs some contrasting colors on the double.

For now, I'm going to revel in the fact that I have driven a 300. Stay tuned for the review.

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Mudmonster, that rear windshield looks a lot like a lot of GM cars built in the last several years, ever since GM integrated the radio antenna in them. The rear windshield reminds me a lot of my '99 Park Avenue Ultra. Those of us who have driven GM midsize and large cars since about 1995-97 will probably see no real change.

BTW: what do you drive?

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Mudmonster, that rear windshield looks a lot like a lot of GM cars built in the last several years, ever since GM integrated the radio antenna in them. The rear windshield reminds me a lot of my '99 Park Avenue Ultra. Those of us who have driven GM midsize and large cars since about 1995-97 will probably see no real change.

BTW: what do you drive?

I currently drive a 2006 Ford Fusion with the four-cylinder.

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These are a really great looking car, when trimmed appropriately like here with the sport S package, and V6/8-speed. Seems to be the "just right" mix of the 300, unless you go hog wild with V8 and more.

I've only ever had a 2.7L V6 1st gen Charger before, so was always curious to see how these newer models went about their business. And what things like resale, etc. really were like as I never, ever see them as trades working with the brand I do.

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I did drive an '11 300 V6 rental a couple years ago...fairly base model w/ cloth interior, it was very nice, quiet and smooth. I'd like to drive a more loaded one.

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