When the original 300C hit the streets back at the turn of this century, it hit it big with enthusiasts waiting for the return of rear wheel drive, a big V8 engine, packaged into a full-size sedan. When the Charger appeared it took with it the enthusiasts who wanted more edgy performance and styling. The Chrysler 300C always stood for elegant style, Hemi power, comfortable high-performance handling, and luxury.
With the introduction of the new 2009 300C Heritage Edition, consumers wanting the elegant style and luxury found in a 300C, but needed that more edgy performance, now have the opportunity to have both.
The new Heritage Edition combines the same edgy, sport-tuned suspension, performance shocks, and a performance steering gear found in the Dodge Charger RT Daytona. On the outside Chrysler adds a unique, bright chromed mesh grille, chin spoiler, rear trunk lip spoiler, and ‘Heritage Edition’ badges on the front fenders. The Heritage Edition 300C doesn’t look or perform like the factory 300C, it only does it better and is a terrific bargain for a full-size, powerful, high-performing luxury sedan. It’s the way I would want my 300C to look and handle.
Since its introduction the Chrysler 300C has been a winner with all enthusiasts and pundits gaining points for styling, engineering, comfort, luxury and safety for a reasonable price.
The new chromed mesh grille adds more style and bling up front, while the front fender ‘Heritage Edition’ badges have red, white and blue colors beneath the two words to dress them up-level, and the front/rear spoilers increase downforce for added stability.
It is just the right amount of bling and glitz not offensive to most, just a wide stripe on top of the front bumper, under the quad HID headlamps, doors, door handles, side mirror housing, a strip along the beltline and around the greenhouse. The rear shows a strip above the bumper and bright polished dual round exhaust tips set between the bottom diffuser.
In the right angle the giant 20X8in. chrome clad aluminum wheels are blinding, and each is wrapped with Goodyear, all-season, high-performance 245/45R20in. tires.
Inside is plush, sporty, comfortable, and luxurious with power adjustable/heated real Nappa leather trimmed sports seats with suede inserts, ‘Heritage Edition’ vertical badges on each seat back top.
More chrome has been added to the dual cupholders and door trim panels. The center storage bin/armrest contains lots of space for your needed items. The power tilt/telescoping leather/wood wrapped steering wheel feels perfect in your hands as does the perfectly placed, leather/chrome stick shifter.
The instrument cluster is elegant with silver bezels around the analog gauges, easy to see and understand. The brushed aluminum center stack has easy to use controls for the audio/navigation/personal communication systems and dual-zone climate control system with air filtration. Light colored California Poplar burl wood trim is placed on the center console and passenger-side dashboard adding to the luxury look. The door pulls also feature the same wood as the steering wheel.
All switches, dials and buttons are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving. All of the touch points are soft and shows Chrysler’s attention to detail and workmanship. The rear seats are heated with a pull down armrest with dual cupholders. Air ducts mounted on the rear of the center console brings cooled or heated air into the rear more efficiently. Above each rear door is a grab handle making entry and exit easier.
Under the skin is the new, more powerful 360hp, 5.7 liter HEMI V8 engine with variable cam timing and a Multi-Displacement-System (MDS) that shuts off 4-cylinders under light throttle to increase fuel efficiency. An ‘ECO’ LED lights up in the space next to the outside temperature readout on the top of the instrument cluster when you go into MDS letting you know that you are saving gas. The system is seamless, only the lighted ECO letting you know. I was driving the car on level freeway with light throttle at 68mph and the ‘ECO’ light came on and stayed until I increased the pressure on the throttle.
The powerful HEMI V8 engine with a high-speed engine controller is mated to Chrysler’s 5-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick, and Adaptive Electronic Control. AutoStick lets you hold down the gear to redline increasing your ability to accelerate and de-accelerate. Adaptive Electronic Control learns your shifting habits choosing the best gear as you travel. The transmission is smooth and strong having no trouble handling the massive 389lb.ft. of torque. Putting all of the power down on the pavement is a responsive limited slip differential.
The 300C ‘Heritage Edition’ gets the high-performance tuned, fully independent suspension found on the Dodge Charger ‘Daytona’ RT. Up front is a SLA (short/long arm) setup with high upper ‘A’ arms, coil springs over gas-charged shocks, and a stabilizer bar. The high-performance tuned rear features a 5-link setup with an isolated suspension cradle to attach the coil springs, specially tuned Nivomat self-leveling gas-charged shocks, and stabilizer bar. It’s more responsive in the turns keeping the rear inline and fully patched to the road, and cuts out all noise, vibration and harshness.
You can of course shut off the traction control and stability control systems to let the rear slid out as you slice through tough curving back roads.
Enhancing control even further is the hydraulic power-assist, rack & pinion performance-tuned, 9-land steering gear from the Daytona and SRT models. It gives you a tremendous feel for the road surface and returns almost instant response to your steering inputs. The only negative part of the steering system is when you are in a parking lot traveling about 20mph as it feels as if you lost your power steering system. But is a small price to pay when you are traveling at high speeds, or carving up curving roads glued to the road.
Quickly slowing the 300C ‘Heritage Edition’ down from speed are large, power-assisted, 4-wheel, steel disc brakes. Up front are 13.6in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers, and 12.6in. solid discs in the rear clamped with single-piston calipers. Standard ABS and Brake Assist ensures that you remain in control while braking hard, or when traveling over slick or wet road surfaces.
The new 2009 Chrysler 300C ‘Heritage Edition’ comes fully equipped with these standard features not mentioned above: power adjustable pedals, cruise-control, rain sensitive, intermittent wipers/washers, power windows/door locks with express up/down up front, remote keyless entry/exit, universal garage door opener, rear window defogger, u-connect Sirius Satellite Radio, 276-watt digital amphifier/six speakers, steering wheel mounted audio control/trip computer readouts/personal settings, radio/driver’s seat/steering column memory, self-dimming rearview mirrors, power-remote/heated/self-dimming side mirrors, illuminated entry, illuminated rear map pockets, dual front map lamps/rear reading lamps, illuminated dual vanity mirrors, and front/rear Berber floor mats.
Options included in my test 300C were a 368-watt amphifier DSP with 7-Boston Acoustic speakers/subwoofer, iPod enterface, rear park sensors, power sunroof, and Chrysler’s Multi-Media Navigation System with GPS, Sirius Satellite Radio/Traffic, Video Entertainment System to play DVD’s with a Sirius Backseat TV system folded and mounted on top of the center console. The only option not found on this 300C was the Adaptive Cruise Control.
Wow! My time behind the wheel of the new 300C ‘Heritage Edition’ was both fun and exiting. My favorite rear-wheel-drive model is the 300C and now with the specially tuned fully independent suspension, steering, and 20in. wheel/tires, it handles more like a high-performance sedan which was dearly missed before, except for the SRT model.
Just a few exterior pieces like the new chrome mesh grille and front fender badges differentiates this 300C ‘Heritage Edition’ from the other 300C’s, plus you can have more fun and exciting times on the back roads and steep curves.
Price: MSRP $37,135.00 as tested including destination charges $46,040.00
Type: Large Sedan
Where Built: Canada
EPA Class: Large Cars
Length: 196.8 in.
Width: 74.1 in.
Height: 58.4 in.
Wheel Base: 120 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.6 in.
Curb Weight: 4096 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5300 lbs.
Front Head Room: 38.7 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.9 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 59.4 in.
Rear Head Room: 38 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 57.7 in.
Rear Hip Room: 55.9 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.8 in.
Rear Leg Room: 40.2 in.
Luggage Capacity: 17.2 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5
Base Number of Cylinders: 8
Base Engine Size: 5.7 liters
Base Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 360 hp
Max Horsepower: 5000 rpm
Torque: 390 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4000 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 2000 lbs.
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 38.9 ft.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 19 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 16 mpg / 25 mpg / 19 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 304 mi. / 475 mi. / 361 mi.