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2012 Chrysler 300C Touring Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Chrysler, Featured, Test Drives

‘ADDING MORE LUXURY AND INFOTAINMENT’

The all-new 2012 Chrysler 300C continues to be the only U.S. marque offering a rear-wheel drive full-size luxury sedan.  This year the 300C gets more refined looks, more luxury and refinement on the inside plus the latest in today’s infotainment features to keep you up-to-date and entertained with your favorite media devices.

The exterior styling is more angular and modern with the same basic silhouette but the nose leans more toward the windshield ‘A’ pillars improving aerodynamics.  The front fascia also sports a new look with ‘liquid’ chrome horizontal slats for the grille with the new Chrysler wing emblem on top.  Larger chrome strips are attached to the front bumper sides as well to add to the luxury look.  The new headlamp clusters features LED running lamps in a ‘C’ pattern, and HID headlamps to better light up the darkness in front as you drive.  Down below a splitter helps keep the front end solidly planted on the pavement at high speeds.  Round foglamps are at the sides further enhancing your forward visibility at night.

The side shows deeper side extensions that enhance stability by lowering the center of gravity.  A thick chrome strips surrounds the buttoned-up side windows and chrome pull-out door handles only increase the luxury look.  The rear shows more sculpted lamp clusters now housing LED lights that respond quicker to your braking inputs.   A new wider chrome strip sits on the top of the bumper while down below the bumper are beautifully cut dual exhaust tips and a hidden diffuser to help better manage rear airflow.

The rear story about the all-new 300C is the completely redesigned interior cabin that easily sits five adults.  First noticed are the super soft, comfortable and supportive, 12-way powered leather front two bucket seats that are cooled and heated.  The wood and leather-wrapped sport steering wheel features power tilt/telescope for the perfect angle and reach.  The power pedals also enhance your driving position to make you feel even more a part of the car.  The dashboard brow, dashboard and instrument cluster are covered in soft-touch materials for the first time.  The center stack is covered in dark veneer wood and aluminum trim.  The 8.4 inch touch screen/infotainment system is the largest and easiest to use with all basic functions just a couple of ‘touches’ away.  The new instrument cluster features a driver-selectable color EVIC that I choose cool blue illuminated lighting for the cluster.  The center console has a dual-tiered storage box, soft-top armrest and features dual cupholders with heating and cooling elements for your favorite drink.  The satin chrome lower door sill plates with the Chrysler logo gives the interior an added luxury touch.  In the center is your driver information screen with all the information you need to check on the many different engine systems and trip questions-mpg/speed/direction/radio station/etc.  The floor mats are now 18 once Berber mats.  My test 300C also came with power windows with express up/down, power door locks, rain-sensing wipers, sonar controlled cruiser control with pre-braking, 3-person memory for the seats/outside heated mirrors/steering column/power pedals.  The rearview mirror is also self-dimming.  The rear features 60/40-split folding function, heated and a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders and storage.  Reading lamps are above the rear grab handles that are also featured up front.  The U-Connect 8.4 inch Touch Screen features a Garmin navigation system, Sirius XM Traffic and Sirius Travel Link and an 18-speaker Audio System with 980-watt amp and subwoofer in the rear. At night you see the beautiful ambient lighting in the foot wells and LED illuminated inside door handles. All buttons, dials and levers are within easy reach for quick and accurate usage.

Standard features inside and outside not mentioned above includes U-Connect touch CD/DVD/MP3/SD Card Input audio system, U-Connect Voice Command with Bluetooth, Bluetooth Streaming audio, ParkView Rear Back-Up camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated steering wheel, steering wheel mounted audio/adaptive cruise-control buttons, power multi-function sideview mirrors with manual folding, lighted vanity mirrors, storage pockets in each door, map pockets behind each front seatback, rain-sensing wipers/washers and dual map lamps with sunglass storage.  My test 300C came with these options-Tri-Coat Pearl paint, Park/Sense Front/Rear park assist system, adaptive Bi-Xenon HID headlamps, adaptive cruise control with forward warning collision system, blind spot and cross path detection system, rear foglamps, sideview mirrors with repeaters and courtesy lamps, dual pane panoramic sunroof, 20X8 inch polished/painted aluminum wheels/245/45R20 inch Firestone Firehawk GT tires, a touring suspension.

Standard safety features include electronic stability control, all-speed traction control, advanced multi-stage front airbags, side-curtain front/rear airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, driver inflatable knee bolster airbag, 3-point safety belts with front load limiters/pretensioners, keyless enter-n-go, push button start/stop, Sentry key theft deterrent system, security alarm, remote start, tire pressure warning system, and front/rear/side crush zones with steel beams in each door.

That said, it is time for the remarkable powertrain, steering, suspension and braking systems, which are all world-class.

The 5.7 liter, all-aluminum V8 engine features variable valve and cam timing plus MDS which shuts down four of the cylinders under light to moderate throttle to save gas and increase the MPG.  This potent HEMI engine generates a whopping 363hp at 5,200rpm and 394lb.ft. of torque at 4,200rpm.  It is mated to Chrysler’s 5-speed automatic with AutoStick for sequential shifting when you feel the urge to run the gears up to redline and quickening your pulse.   Get-up-and-go is remarkable with a 0-60mph time of 5.2 seconds.  The electrohydraulic rack & pinion steering system is great with incredible feel for the road and amazing quick response to your steering wheel inputs.  Chrysler adds a performance steering gear that gives you more effort and higher speeds with less effort at slow speeds.

The fully independent suspension is also world-class a SLA (short/long arm) setup in front featuring high upper ‘A’ arms, coil-over gas-charged monotube shocks, stabilizer bar and lateral & diagonal lower links with dual ball-joint knuckles.  The rear setup features five-links with coil springs, gas-charged monotube shocks, stabilizer bar and fits in an isolated cradle for rigidity, less noise and harshness.  With a cross brace up front the handles like a sports car when turning as it lays flat in front and in the rear.  Its cat-like response is truly amazing for a 4,326 pound full-size luxury sedan.

Slowing the new 300C down from speed are large, power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front 13.6 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 12.6 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  ABS/traction control and electronic stability systems all work together to keep you in control when braking on wet or slick pavement and when you take the new 300C to its edge of adhesion on curving roads.  Big 20X8 inch Firestone Firehawk GT tires add traction, grip, stability and a smooth ride.

The all-new Chrysler 300C is one of the world’s great full-size luxury performance sedans with all the power, performance, comfort, infotainment features and safety systems that you would want in todays automotive marketplace.  With a base price of just $38,470.00 and a fully-loaded model, like my test 300C, priced at just $46,800.00, it is a bargain not to be missed.

COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base 300C $38,470 / As-Tested 300C Touring $46,800
  • Wheelbase: 120.2 inch
  • Total length: 198.6 inch
  • Total width: 75 inch
  • Total height: 58.7 inch
  • Track: f/r-63.4/63.8 inch
  • Fuel tank: 19.1 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-36.9/36.9 with panoramic sunroof
  • Legroom: 41.8/40.1 inch
  • Trunk: 16.3 cu.ft.
  • Fuel tank: 19.1 gallons
  • 0-60 mph: 5.2 seconds
  • EPA MPG specs: 16mpg/city, 25mpg/highway

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