Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: August 17, 2016
The Chrysler 300 is a compelling full-sized sedan and it attracts attention based on the premise that it shouldn’t really exist. You see, the 300 is a big, brash, muscular American sedan that still stems from the archaic partnership that Chrysler had with Mercedes, which seems like a lifetime ago, and still rides on their old LX platform that dates back to 2005. So what is it still doing here? Well turns out, Chrysler makes one hell of a four-door.
Not that any of the Camrys, Taurus, Impalas, or Maximas are not phenomenal in their own regard. They are all great cars that have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they are all a bit, boring, shall we say. They’re too predictable, and sure some people love that feeling of assurance, but they lack the allure of being mysterious, bold, and undefinable.
What the aforementioned vehicles make up for in luxury, automated sunshades, and 4G WiFi hotspots, they lack in anything that can be remotely defined as sex appeal. It is like Seabiscuit versus Inception. There’s a clear reason as to why you’d choose to watch one flick over the other.
Say you wanted a mean looking rear-wheel drive sedan paired with a V8 to scare off the neighbours. Well your options are limited. Heisenberg would agree with me that the 300 might be the best choice however, quenching your V8 thirst while simultaneously giving off that Mafiosi look on your driveway.
Anyone behind the wheel would feel right at home with the opening theme of The Sopranos playing through the Dr. Dre Beats speakers. The car still keeps that clean and resplendent look, but they’ve made some little tweaks to make the vehicle resemble the smaller Chrysler 200 and less like a gangster’s paradise.
The blacked out grille is sinister looking when paired with the Redline Tri-coat paintjob, and Chrysler decided that they would just widen the grille by 33% just so that no one would feel the need to disgrace the front end with those massive Parthenon grilles that make people think it’s a Roller. To differentiate the 300S from its non-S siblings, Chrysler gave it a body color trim, a trick grille with tiny Chrysler emblems, a slightly louder exhaust, and increased damping with a more sport-oriented tune.
The interior is a bit softer and more bedazzled with LED screens. There’s a big 8.4-inch colour display with Uconnect smack dab in the middle of the dash, and a 7-inch driver information display in the gauge cluster. Fit and finish isn’t perfect and the materials aren’t as good as what you’d expect, but for the price and the performance aspect that the S brings after the SRT8 model was dropped from the lineup, I’d say it’s a pretty good deal.
The Nappa leather faced sport seats are wide enough to fit the average mortal, and proved to be satisfactory during longer drives. There is a dual-pane panoramic sunroof that does add a bit of an “ou-ah” factor, but our experience with it was largely overshadowed by a rear sunshade that refused to work properly.
Truth be told, you can also have your 300S with a more fuel efficient 3.6L V6, but if your right foot still works and your heart pumps real warm human blood, then you will opt for the 5.7L HEMI V8 that churns out a stout 363 horsepower and 394 lb-ft. of torque. It makes the drive that much more enticing and rewarding. Besides, who wants to buy a muscle car without a proper V8? That’s like buying a Camaro with a rental-spec V6, oh wait.
The 300S also comes with a “Sport Mode,” which can be activated either through the rotary gear shifter or with the button the dash. Regardless of which option you take, the car will immediately sharpen up like a cat whose tail has just been kicked. It’s almost as if the car decided to scream “all hands on deck!” The gas pedal becomes more sensitive and responsive, the transmission will shift higher in the rev range and strikingly faster, and the steering wheel will become heavier and require more effort.
While this V8 is not as wild as the 470-hp SRT8 model it ostensibly replaces, it will propel you to 100 km/h in under 6 seconds, and can leave a burnout in your wake if you really give it some juice. The improved throttle response is noticeable when you leave mall parking lots, which for a car like this, is half the selling point. You won’t win any pink slips against a BMW 135i, but you’ll spank the antlers off an Impala while giving it a deep Luca Pavarotti-like roar.
The 300S does a very reasonable job filling in the performance gap in this segment, offering just the right amount of sport and muscle without going overboard. FCA engineers have already proven with the Hellcat that they’re able to produce something that can haul ass and kids with relative ease, but there’s still a compromise in price and efficiency when you do that. Thankfully, the 300S with the V8 returned a very respectable 11.5 L/100km thanks to the cylinder deactivation on the highway.
The 300S has the spirit to take on curvy backroads, and while I did find that the S trim didn’t pitch and dive like a car of this weight should, driving one felt like operating those wacky-arm inflatable arm-flailing tube men. The 300S bends and leans more than you’d expect, but it always seems to grace itself back to neutrality and balance back out. It feels more at home on the straights, where accelerating out of parking lots and leaving trails of molten rubber will net you the most enjoyment.
Chrysler has been working hard at proving they can still keep up with modern times. With their fleet now just reduced to three models – 200, 300, and Pacifica – there doesn’t seem to be any room for dilly-dally experiments that could cause the brand its reputation. The 300S proves that practice makes perfect, and though it may ride on an old platform with a dated interior, its rear-wheel drive setup and lovable V8 keeps youthful energy flowing in this boldly designed sedan.
型号 Model: 2016 Chrysler 300S
顏色 Paint Type: Redline Tri-Coat
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $42,695
試車售價 Price as Tested: $52,720
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,052
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,044 / 1,902 / 1,492
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,980
引擎 Engine: 5.7-litre HEMI V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 363 hp @ 5,200 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 394 lb-ft @ 4,200 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 14.8 / 9.3
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 13.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P245/45R20