12 January 2009

Detroit: Chrysler 200C concept

Chrysler dishes up a surprise at its home motor show. A good surprise, too

Chrysler 200C concept

One of the biggest surprises at the Detroit show this year has arrived in the shape of this: the Chrysler 200C concept.

Yes, the most beleaguered of the Big Three might be in all sorts of financial trouble, but that hasn’t stopped Chrysler unveiling a seriously handsome concept.

Based on a cut-down version of the 300C platform – which means it’s rear-wheel drive – the 200C is an extended-range electric vehicle with a Chevrolet Volt-style drivetrain: there’s a small petrol engine which doesn’t drive the wheels directly, but is instead only used to recharge the batteries for the electric motor.

Chevy says that’s good for 268bhp and a 0-60mph time of around seven seconds, and that the 200C will manage 40 miles running on batteries along, with a range of 400 miles using the engine to recharge. However, we’re told that the 200C could also be offered with a more conventional, Prius-style hybrid version.

There’s plenty of smart technology here, too: there’s a internet-connected tablet-style PC in the glovebox, a wireless mobile phone charging pad, and a clever new navigation system that links to road cameras, allowing the driver to look at traffic in real time.

More importantly, though, just look at the 200C. Looks great, doesn’t it? A bit less polarising than the hyper-blocky 300C, but still strong-shouldered and with a set of most excellent wheels.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like there’s much chance of the 200C getting built – well, not unless there’s a giant turn of fortune over at Chrysler. Pity.

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