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First Look: 2011 Chrysler 300


Cory Wolfe

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First Look: 2011 Chrysler 300

Prepare for Glory: Our 2005 Car of the Year Returns With Sharper Duds and a lot More Swagger

December 03, 2010 / By Ed Loh / Photography by Brian Vance

The golden crest is gone, but the Chrysler name is still spelled out and surrounded by a pair of wings atop the front-grille frame. The eggcrate grille has been swapped for one composed of sculpted horizontal slats, as seen on the Chrysler 200 and Town & Country (and, unfortunately, the Hyundai Sonata). Projector-beam headlights have evolved to incorporate must-mean-it's-luxury LEDs.

Although the windshield is more steeply raked, the upright proportions, boxy roofline, and purposeful stance clearly recall the car that nabbed our Golden Calipers back in 2005. But now it's more refined and less cartoonish. Gone are the slab sides and sharp creases that hint at Gotham City chase scenes and staccato tommy-gun fire. Though the muscular wheel arches remain, softer lines and smoother arcs shape the hood and trunklid, while chrome-trimmed taillights serve as a dramatic flourish to this top-hat-to-spats reformulation. The LED daytime running lights are arranged in the shape of a "C" in Chrysler's honor.

The cabin receives as compelling a treatment as the Charger, including similar HVAC controls and the optional 8.4-inch infotainment screen backed by Garmin's navigation software. Additional available features include 20-inch wheels, heated and cooled seats and cupholders, and a dual-pane sunroof. The soft-touch dash and higher-quality plastics feel just as good as in the Charger, but are styled differently and trimmed with classy, handsome wood and, of course, that analog clock.

To assist the cool, refined ride, engineers found it necessary to tune the interior cabin noise -- not just for overall sound level, but for sound quality as well. The 300 is fitted with two premium-composite underbody panels that are responsible for over 8 feet of acoustic insulation and smoothing lower airflow. Being a flagship has its perks, after all.

Like its predecessor, the 2011 Chrysler 300 will be offered in rear and all-wheel drive; the latter system employs an active transfer case and seamless disconnecting front axle that Chrysler claims improves fuel economy by 5 percent. Touring and Limited models come with the corporate Pentastar V-6, which delivers 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque in full-size sedan guise. Chrysler's ubiquitous HEMI 5.7-liter V-8 with Fuel Saver Technology will continue to power the 300C and should deliver 360 horsepower and 390-pound-feet of torque.

Suspension geometry was altered in the pursuit of better handling and the electro-hydraulic power steering is tweaked for the driver's touch.

When it launched six years ago, the 300 was an immediate hit and went on to become one of the brand's most valuable players. While times (and parent companies) have changed in the intervening years, the importance of the 300 in the new lineup can't be overstated. Chrysler needs a grand performance from its flagship now more than ever.

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2011-chrysler-300-left-side.jpg

http://www.motortren...look/index.html

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A much more refined, seamless, and luxurious look than its predecessor, with heritage cues expertly incorporated into a modern and mature design. Like I mentioned before, the tail end reminds me of the '75-'78 Imperial/New Yorker, and that roofline reminds me of, well... a last-gen Dodge Diplomat and Plymouth Gran Fury, but in a good way. I forget if there ever was a Chrysler version without the Fifth Avenue's quarter vinyl top.

But anyway, while more subtle, I am starting to like this equally to the Charger. Both cars give justice to their namesakes, which is more than can be said about some of GM's heritage-named cars.

Edited by ocnblu
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While I like this new 300, I too decry where "full size" cars have gone to. Compared with a 1988 Chrysler Fifth Avenue this is taller, wider, heavier, has more front shoulder and hip room, yet only seats 5 people. Whatever happened to bench seats and real trunks? (this question applies to all manufacturers)

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While I like this new 300, I too decry where "full size" cars have gone to. Compared with a 1988 Chrysler Fifth Avenue this is taller, wider, heavier, has more front shoulder and hip room, yet only seats 5 people. Whatever happened to bench seats and real trunks? (this question applies to all manufacturers)

And the Fifth Ave wasn't even a full size, it was more of a small midsize (the M-body was derived from the F-body Aspen/Volare, which were considered compacts).

Times change...bench seats and big trunks have been on the way out for a long time, with the Ford Panther models and the DTS and Lucerne being the last to have such features.

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Over at Allpar I'm getting conflicting trunk capacity measurements for the old Fifth Ave/Gran Fury/Diplomat: either 15.6 or 17 cu ft. It prolly has to do with the placement of the spare tire, from what they say, the spare moved from the floor to up over the rear axle. How much trunk room does the new Charger/300 have? And I am also a fan of the old full bench seat bruisers, with their wide open interiors. Those truly were the days. Column shifters FTW!

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Uh, bench seats and a big trunk? Well, I don't know if they're still offering them on it but it does have a big trunk.

GMCdenali-xl.jpg

Here's your new luxury ride, fellas.

A bench seat and column shifter in a newer car just feels ... wrong.

As for the 300, I like it. The original is something of an icon for Chrysler and icons do not receive radical redesigns every few years. You instead keep evolving them.

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Uh, bench seats and a big trunk? Well, I don't know if they're still offering them on it but it does have a big trunk.

Here's your new luxury ride, fellas.

Meh...that's just a truck. And they have buckets up front.

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this was probably all CHrysler could do to reskin this car and get rid of its 'hood cruiser / bling and dubs stigma.

it's ok, not stunning, sort of anonymous, but certainly no real transgressions.

Side profile has tiny hints of STS / DTS to me.......tiny ones........

I am not sure this was the direction they should have gone, but it was a prudent direction nonetheless.

I have to admit, I first thought the new Grand Cherokee was rather numb and bland but there was one at the mall inside the other day that looked fantastic. So I think in person this will be fine if the interior quality is there. If its like the GC, then no worries.

Like I said, this has to bear the weight of the bling and dubs image and has to shed it if they want anyone to give it a credible look these days.

They really could have had a nicer front end at least. Too vanilla for a lux car.

Edited by regfootball
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While I like this new 300, I too decry where "full size" cars have gone to. Compared with a 1988 Chrysler Fifth Avenue this is taller, wider, heavier, has more front shoulder and hip room, yet only seats 5 people. Whatever happened to bench seats and real trunks? (this question applies to all manufacturers)

Because only 7 people in the US would buy them.

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Because only 7 people in the US would buy them.

Probably a few more, but they would all be retired and living in AZ or Florida.. j/k

I'd love to have a new Crown Vic/Grand Marquis sized RWD equivalent from Ford, full sized w/ the new 5.0 V8 and 2011 era interior content (Sync, etc).

notgonnahappen.com.

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To me it lost something, but it's hard to explain. Perhaps they went too far with the amount of chrome in it. I like the angle on the pic that DF commented on, but that's mostly it. I am, however, very curious as to how far the interior upgrade went.

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To me it lost something, but it's hard to explain. Perhaps they went too far with the amount of chrome in it. I like the angle on the pic that DF commented on, but that's mostly it. I am, however, very curious as to how far the interior upgrade went.

As far as detailing goes, I think I like the big eggcrate grille on the current model more than this new grille...

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I don't like it. They just took a car from 05 and added some chrome to it, put the hideous bright work around the lights as Croc stated, and the headlights have a Euro-wannabe look to them. I think the current car actually looks better. Question is, how long is this car going to be on market? Because it is just a mid-cycle refresh of a 7 year old car, if this goes another 5-7 years, they basically have what the Ford Panther platform cars were. Just big, old and dated.

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I don't like it. They just took a car from 05 and added some chrome to it, put the hideous bright work around the lights as Croc stated, and the headlights have a Euro-wannabe look to them. I think the current car actually looks better. Question is, how long is this car going to be on market? Because it is just a mid-cycle refresh of a 7 year old car, if this goes another 5-7 years, they basically have what the Ford Panther platform cars were. Just big, old and dated.

Actually, it's way more than an MCE..looks like they changed every panel and the interior is all new. And, most important, it's RWD w/ a V8 available..not an effing FWD appliance for the masses. Not many affordable large RWD V8 cars left in this era of depressing, disposable FWD appliances.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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How long is this thing supposed to last in today's market? This refresh would have been good a few years ago, but it will be a joke in 2014.

I voted you up one to counteract the negativity from your post because I totally agree. The 300 should have gotten an update a couple of years ago instead of remaining stale for about six years. This honestly looks like a heavy refresh. I haven't seen the interior (which bugs me when articles report on such drastic changes yet fail to post a single pic of them). A heavily refreshed interior and IMO a mildly modified exterior does not make a new car that's supposed to last for another, what, 5-6 years?

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