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2013 Chrysler 300C V6 John Varvatos Limited Edition Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Chrysler, Test Drives


From time to time the automotive culture receives design inspirations injected into the mold of one-off variations that some enthusiasts find exceptional value and pride in. Chrysler has taken such inspirations from fashion designer John Varvatos to conjure up career elements in clothing and accessory lines to formulate an accentuation of the new 300C.

The new 2013 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition, where only 2000 fine examples will be produced, is an extension of Chrysler’s efforts to serve up an exemplary statement of classic fashion and style but with a contemporary flash.


John Varvatos is one of the many selected figures receiving the opportunity to place their “mark” in time on a limited edition automobile as this rare practice has long roots planted within the automotive world that tend to sprout every once in a while. Being that John Varvatos is from Detroit, Michigan and is known as a ‘Fashion Star’ who launched his own clothing line, it is only fitting that the Chrysler 300C wearing his name be a true extension of his brand. With many of his logos and customized signature elements found throughout the new 2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition, the vehicle comes off as beings truly unique within the line of many trim levels that the Chrysler 300 has to offer.


The new 2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition starts life as an optioned-out 300C with the 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 292 horsepower at 6,350 rpm and 260 ft-lbs. of torque at 4,800 rpm. In selecting a 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition vehicle, you already have a pre-set configuration of added options usually found on the 300C Luxury Series trim level. Not only that, but the John Varvatos Edition takes a slight customization edge with exclusive elements, such as a John Varvatos signature gauge cluster, dashboard analog clock, pewter metallic trim, Nappa leather perforated seats, 20-inch titanium-painted aluminum wheels, titanium badging, satin/titanium painted front grill, satin/titanium exterior trim accents, and darkened headlamps encased in the front fascia similar to that of the Chrysler 300 SRT8. The John Varvatos Limited Edition 300C can be optioned with the more powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine to give an output of 370 horsepower but mated to the older 5-speed automatic transmission.


All of the Chrysler 300C Varvatos Limited Edition’s exclusive elements come together nicely to add a stealthy appeal to the exterior and its exclusive pre-selected Phantom Black Tri-Coat Pearl exterior paint, the only color available this Limited Edition vehicle. To cap things off for the exclusivity of the new Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition, each vehicle gets its own numbered badge in front of the gear shifter signifying the build number out of the run of 2000 special edition vehicles.


In retrospect to the new 2013 Chrysler 300C, the vehicle improves slightly in performance and efficiency with a new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission mated to the 3.6-liter V6 engine. The new 8-speed unit proved its willingness to shift fast and never take much time to find the proper gear, even in the cases that the optimal selection was about 4 to 5 cogs up from 8th gear. The new shifter for the 8-speed auto box is a new automated selector that may take some a while to get used to for some. The new transmission proved to be relatively sensitive to gas pedal inputs with a quick choice to upshift at the slightest sign of acceleration at most cruising speeds. Nevertheless, the adaptation to the V6 engine’s power output really emulates more power than you would think 292 ponies would do to push around 4,326 pounds from the rear wheels. My Chrysler 300C John Varvatos V6-equiped test vehicle never felt overly sluggish for such a large form factor. Using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters allows you to dial in one of the many gears but proves to be more of novelty for some enthusiasts.


The ride quality of the new Chrysler 300C V6 is stable and smooth across the board within the constraints of legal maneuvers and speeds on the road. There is an excellent balance between the miniscule bit of sportiness that you can extract out of the 300C, in addition to its long wheelbase to work with the excellent dampers and springs to smooth-out rough pavement and uneven terrain. The 300C, however, does emit expected understeer when pushed hard through turns. Oversteer is not much of an issue unless you take the liberty of disabling stability control. Though, the V6 engine is not enough to initially get you in trouble, it is only in the event that you consciously allow the 300C’s rear end to slop around after gaining more momentum than you’re willing to handle without any road-car track experience. Over-all, combining the efficiency of the V6 getting 19 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, the new 300C V6 with the new 8-speed automatic is a pleasure to drive and keep the big car from frequent gas station stops.


The inside of the new 2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition is unique with its own character that cannot be duplicated in any other new Chrysler 300. It is not to say that any other trim level 300C needs work on the inside, because it doesn’t. It is just easy to signify the John Varvatos version as a one-of-a-kind “change of scenery” when compared to any other Chrysler 300C’s interior. The cabin is laced with a visually dark character with pewter-colored trim pieces to subtly accent the black seating areas and blue-florescent lighting emitting from the dashboard cluster and LED accent lighting.


To set off the luxury elements of the new Chrysler 300C aside from the Nappa leather seating with ventilated and heated front seats/rear heated seats, my test vehicle was equipped with an optional Light Group featuring bi-Xenon auto-leveling headlights with front and rear fog lamps. The optional dual-pane panoramic sunroof adds some luxury appeal to the over-all package but not during the dead-heat days of summer as you can imagine. That is what the power sunshade and standard rear window power sunshade is for.


In the realm of added safety, my test vehicle was equipped with the optional SafetyTec package incorporating blind spot warning, cross path detection, adaptive speed control, adjustable forward collision warning, rain sensitive wipers and a front/rear park assist system (object-radar points covering the front and rear). A new driver-side inflatable knee-bolster airbag is there to assist the advanced multistage airbags in the unfortunate event of a serious front-end collision.

Other features that come as standard equipment within the 300C’s Luxury Series trim, include remote start, remote proximity keys, Poltrona Frau leather interior accents, heated steering wheel, auto temperature control with two zones, power-tilt telescoping steering wheel, power adjustable peddles, Parkview rear backup camera, and Chrysler’s latest 8.4-inch high resolution LCD touch screen infotainment system combining vehicle settings, audio and navigation controls. The latest iteration of the infotainment system is a user-friendly gem that only requires a couple of minutes to become familiarized with its multiple menu sets and functions.


The new 2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition is a distinct extension to Varvatos’ fashion character and homegrown influence out of Detroit. With my test vehicle loaded up with just about every option available for the Chrysler 300C trim level, the addition of John Varvatos’ artistic touches leaves you with an as-tested price tag of $50,620. In just optioning out a new 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition without an additional packages it would run you about $44,345, which is about $3,500 north of the base Chrysler 300C Luxury Series’ tag of $40,845. It is a decent price to pay but you do get true exclusivity and a nice fashion statement on wheels home-grown in Detroit.

Copyright: 2013


  • Price: Base 300C $40,845 / As-Tested 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition $50,620
  • Engine: 3.6-liter DOHC V6 292 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm / 260 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,800 rpm
  • 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
  • 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: 6.9 seconds
  • EPA MPG specs: 19 mpg/city, 31 mpg/highway

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