You are here
The Top Gear car review:Chrysler 300C
For:Standout looks, fresh new interior, excellent value for money
Against:Deep down, it's not the most modern of cars, doesn't quite offer Germanic class and solidity
3.0 V6 CRD Limited 4dr Auto
Won’t outhandle a BMW, but superbly refined and looks fantastic. Should be cheap, too.
The last gen promised much but was too design-led; this time, the potential has been fulfilled
Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Rio Ferdinand… as celebrity car endorsements go, the Chrysler 300C needs no more help to confirm its cool status.
What we say:
Big American exec continues to appeal. It's ok to drive and, in a sober-suited sector, still looks great
What is it?
The Chrysler 300C ‘MkII’ is now fully on sale, although it’s not quite as fresh as it seems. This ‘new’ Chrysler 300C is actually a heavily refreshed version of the old model, which dated back to 2005 (and itself had roots in the Mercedes E-Class of two generations ago). It’s thus not a brand new car — but this expediency does mean Chrysler can price it competitively, which thus means there’s more of interest here than you may first expect.
Particularly as a well-judged facelift means it successfully modernises the standout styling clout of the old one without looking twee or dated. This remains a real head-turner of an executive car, just the thing for those to whom an Audi A6 or BMW 5-Series is just too plain and dull.
Underneath, Chrysler has retained the old 300C’s chassis layout, but refreshed it with all-new components. The double wishbone front and five-arm multi-link rear set-up is very sophisticated, generating lots of grip and feeling less custard-like than the old car. New electric power steering feels positive too, even if the handling is ultimately rather leaden and afflicted by understeer when pressed harder.
The seriously plush ride and overall refinement are more impressive. Even the 3.0-litre V6 diesel is hushed, and 236bhp ensures it is swift too. It has plenty of torque for easy overtaking, but the five-speed auto can struggle to be wholly smooth. Good job an eight-speed auto is expected at some point in the near future.
On the inside
The 300C has always been a large car, and this one serves only to remind us of its ample cabin space. The boot is good too, but again, we already knew that. Where it’s struggled in the past is quality and finish. Pleasingly, this one heralds a massive improvement. The chrome dials look fantastic and the 8.4-inch touchscreen interface, which masterminds audio, climate, communications and car functions, is great. Now, there’s only the merest splatter of budget plastics.
While you can have some of the traditional colourschemes seen in the past, Chrysler also offers modern black and silver finishes too. With funky blue-lit dials adding further techno-style appeal, the interior marks a vast improvement.
The 300C is very competitively priced. It costs the same as an entry-level BMW 530d but comes with loads of equipment including electric nappa leather seats (they’re ventilated too), sat nav, Bluetooth, parking camera, you name it. The spec sheet for this sub-£40k Executive is daft. Sub-40mpg isn’t as clever these days but sheer value is sure to make up for it.