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2011 Chrysler 300 Limited Review & Test Drive

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‘NEW REFINED STYLING AND INTERIOR’ 

I couldn’t fit all that is all-new in the 2011 Chrysler 300 Limited on my headline but besides the new refined exterior styling and new craftsmanship and attention to detail inside, the 300 Limited features a more powerful and efficient V6 engine, updated fully independent suspension, innovative U-connect technology, and more active safety systems available than ever before.

Delivering the stylistic distinction, technological innovation, premium E-segment sedan features and quality at a legendary value, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 writes a new chapter in the brand’s legendary history, while setting a new course for the American brand.

To ensure that the all-new 2011 Chrysler flagship delivers more than unmistakably bold and powerful American style to customers, the Chrysler 300 team benchmarked the craftsmanship, technology and refinement of the segments (large sedan) best competitors to deliver a new world-class quality and performance symbol at an attainable price, starting at just $31,170.00 for a nicely loaded 300 Limited.

With more than 55 years of elegant proportions and head-turning style, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 Limited delivers contemporary styling with design details unexpected in the large car segment.  At the front, an all-new grille features seven deeply sculpted horizontal blades that express precision.  The liquid-chrome finish of the blades and the new Chrysler wing badge provide a unique contrast against the beautifully drawn bright-chrome grille surround.  Illuminating the road ahead are signature ‘key slot’ headlamps with a scalloped lower edge.  Inside, bi-functional projector headlamps are nestled next to LED-illuminated daytime running lights, which together form a ‘C’ shape for unmistakable on-road presence.

The profile of the new Chrysler 300 features the distinctive proportions of its predecessor with added design refinement for a more tailored appearance.  Dramatic front-fender forms rise above the sculpted hood and are echoed by rear-quarter forms, which rise above the deck lid and travel down the vertical taillamps for an unmistakably bold signature silhouette.  The drawn-up green windows are wrapped with a full-perimeter chrome strip with enhances its elegant side view.  For improved aerodynamics and visibility, the all-new Chrysler luxury flagship’s windshield has been raked back 3 inches, while rolled-framed doors with thinner pillars improve outward visibility by 15%.

Elevating the all-new 300 sedan’s rear-view presence is an integrated deck-lid lip spoiler with the new Chrysler wing badge proudly centered below.  Jewel-like rear LED lights are used in the lamp clusters while signature ‘light pipes’ illuminate for an alluring nighttime appearance.  Straddling the vertical lamps, Chrysler 300 sedan’s rear fascia integrates a chrome appliqué that seamlessly connects the taillamp elements while emphasizing the road-holding stature of the flagship sedan.  Hinting at the sedan’s performance are two fascia-mounted oval dual exhaust tips.  It is a look that is unmistakably Chrysler from front to rear.

Combining world-class accommodations withAmericastyle, the all-new Chrysler 300 sedan’s interior delivers expressive style, authentic materials, passenger comfort features and precise fit and finish like never before.  Substantial interior upgrades on the new 300 consist of soft touch materials, premium interior trim, available heated and cooled Nappa leather front bucket seats, and real wood appliqués on the instrument panel, doors, center console and steering wheel.

Designed to exude a luxurious environment, the new 300 sedan features cast-skin instrument and door panels with three-dimensional dual gloss graining for a premium appearance and suppleness.  Bright chrome contrasted with satin chrome accents give the new 300 the appearance of milled aluminum.  For added detail, a new instrument cluster features two large gauge faces with Sapphire Blue illumination and chrome ring accents.  Providing premium and contemporary environment is an all-new Sapphire Blue LED-illuminated ambient interior lighting.

Delivering best-in-class comfort, all-new seats were engineered with premium architecture and include a serpentine (S-shaped) spring suspension, all-new front-seat backs with four-way lumbar system that actuates up/down and fore-aft, and variable density foams applied in the lower seat, seat back, and bolsters for enhanced comfort ‘tuning’.

The all-new Chrysler 300 sedan meets the demands of interested buyers by combining superior styling, confident handling, and the craftsmanship, premium details and technology that reinforce driving as a fun and pleasurable experience.  The 300 Limited doesn’t disappoint.

Engineered and executed to deliver a world-class luxury sedan experience, the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan’s world-class body structure and chassis deliver a level of quality, capability and refinement that rival the best E-segment competitors from Europe, Asia andNorth America.

Maximizing its new ultra-rigid structural design, the all-new 300 features quietness among the best in the segment.  The unibody packages material and structural design improvements, including two premium-composite underbody panels that provide more than eight feet of acoustic insulation, dual-pane acoustic windshield and front-door side glass, body-cavity silencing foam, under-flush rolled-framed doors with triple seals and acoustic wheel-well liners, all helping absorb road noise and quiet the cabin.  At speed I had no problem talking and listening to my front and rear passengers.

The all-new 300 features Chrysler Group’s new second generation E-segment architecture with redesigned front and rear suspension geometry delivering world-class handling, and all-new premium suspension hardware for world-class refinement.  The new 300 sedan delivers the grand touring performance expected from premium European luxury sedans, to make this all-new American flagship one of the best driving sedans in the world.  Up front is an independent SLA (short/long arm) setup with high upper ‘A’ arms, coil springs over gas-charged monotube shock absorbers, lateral and diagonal lower links with dual ball-joint knuckles, and a 25mm solid stabilizer bar.  The rear independent setup features five-links, with coil springs, gas-charged monotube shock absorbers, and a 12mm solid stabilizer bar within an isolated suspension cradle that eliminates noise, vibration and harshness.  The all-new 300 gives back a very smooth ride on the highway, it takes the jolts out of rough pavement surfaces, and turns on a dime when challenging back road curves.  The loaded 300 Limited that I test rode on big 20X8 inch polished aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 245/45VR20 inch all-season high-performance tires that added grip and a smoother ride.

Engineered to provide exceptional in-town and highway efficiency and performance, the new 300 and 300 Limited models feature the newest powertrain from Chrysler-the 3.6 liter DOHC, VVT, all-aluminum Pentastar V6 engine that generates 292hp at 6,00rpm and 260lb.ft. of torque at 4,800rpm.  Mated to Chrysler’s proven and reliable five-speed adaptive electronic automatic transmission with AutoStick manual control, the new 300 blasts out to 60mph in just 6.9sec.

Safely slowing the new, 4,006 pound full-size sedan down from speed are new, larger brakes, 12.6 inch vented discs up front and 12.6 inch solid discs in the rear.  Each disc is acted up by single-piston calipers.  Enhancing brake control and force are standard ABS, BA, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control systems that work seamlessly to keep you from locking up your brakes and keeping control of your direction on wet, slick or dry pavement.

After driving the all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 for seven days I was totally impressed with the performance and handling characteristics of the new car.  It is world-class in every respect.

What also is world-class is the 300’s use of Uconnect Touch that integrates world-class infotainment and convenience technologies to keep you and your passengers connected, comfortable and secure.

From touchscreen navigation to dual-zone climate controls, to the ability to check fuel prices and personalize convenience features, Uconnect Tech makes life in the all-new Chrysler flagship sedan an excellent experience for you and your passengers.  Chrysler 300 and 300 Limited models come standard with the Uconnect Touch 8.4 model, featuring easy-to-use controls to provide class-leading technology.  With its massive 8.4 inch touchscreen display and user-friendly touch-key categories (the easiest I have ever used), information on the Uconnect Touch is clearly displayed and connecting and controlling personal mobile devices is simple.

The Premium Uconnect Touch 8.4N model is available on the 300 Limited and includes more customer-convenient amenities than ever before, including the integration of segment-leading Garmin navigation and SIRIUS Travel Link with real-time fuel prices, movie listings, sports updates and weather.

The new 300 features more than 70 safety and security features including standard keyless Enter-N-Go push button start/stop, segment-exclusive Ready Alert Braking and Rain Braking Support safety features to improve overall vehicle handling and performance.  Chrysler brand’s signature SafetyTec Group is optional and packages many first-time-available features including adaptive-forward lighting, HID projector high and low-beams with automatic headlamp leveling, Forward Collision Warning with Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind-spot monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection, ParkSense front and rear park assist system, LED-illuminated rear foglamps, exterior mirrors with supplemental turn signals, rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps.

In addition, standard front-row reactive head restraints, standard full-length side-curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag, standard front seat-mounted side-thorax airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, remote start hill start assist, Capless fuel filler, variable intermittent wipers/washers, 3-point safety belts for all seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH anchors for child seats, front-row side/front airbags, steel beams in each door plus front and rear crumple zones keep you and your passengers safe.

Standard features in the 300 Limited not mentioned above includes luxury leather trimmed seats, 8-way power driver’s seat/4-way powered front passenger seat, heated rear outboard seats, power tilt/telescoping/leather steering wheel, power windows with one-touch express up/down up front, power door locks, dual map lamps/dual lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door/reading lamps/hanger hooks, self-dimming reaview mirror, heated, power-adjustable side mirrors, map pockets behind each front seatback, door storage slots, center console with dual-storage trays, dual cupholders, rear pull-down armrest with dual cupholders, air-vents behind the center console, thick cut-pile carpeting and front/rear carpeting.

Besides the aforementioned SafetyTec options my loaded 300 Limited came with a 506-watt Alpine audio system with nine speakers and a subwoofer, rear power sunshade, heated steering wheel, two-person memory, door sill scuff plates, a trunk map and a thickly wrapped wood/leather steering wheel with cruise-control/audio system/Bluetooth buttons.

The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 Limited is giving all of the world’s V6 powered, full-size luxury sedans a run for the money, and the short money is on Chrysler.

COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Chrysler 300 MSRP $27,170 / Chrysler 300 Limited MSRP $31,170
  • Engine: 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 292 horsepower @ 6350rpm / 260 ft-lbs. torque @ 4800rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed automatic
  • Wheelbase: 120.2in.
  • Total length: 198.6in.
  • Total width: 75in.
  • Total height: 58.5in.
  • Track: f/r-63.4/63.8in.
  • Weight distribution: f/r-52/48% perfectly balanced
  • Headroom: f/r-38.6/37.9in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.8/40.1in.
  • EPA interior room: 122.6cu.ft.
  • Trunk room: 16.3cu.ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 6.9 seconds
  • Fuel tank: 19.1 gallons
  • EPA mileage specs: 18mpg/city, 27mpg/highway
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