For 2015 Chrysler put the fine detail pen to their now venerable 300 sedan, polishing it up once more to keep it contemporary, fresh, and desirable in a market where most competitors have seen many designs come and go.
The silhouette is the same bold high shouldered block, but new and more sculpted forms show with a bolder face which returns to the larger grille and brash presentation we first saw ten years ago. The new face of Chrysler they call it, incorporates the latest LED bling and flowing forms in its detail.
From front to rear, softer creases and satin finish chrome trims take the look more upmarket as do our Platinum testers 20-inch aluminum wheels. While not dramatically different, the rear views have a new tint to them which ironically conjours up themes of the 1950’s while being contemporary at the same time.
Inside is where Chrysler really raised the bar, and brought this car into the present day of expected design, features, and quality. Gone are the acres of hard plastics, replaced with softer high quality materials and a more contoured design.
Better yet, in our Platinum model the dash is wrapped in soft Poltrona Frau leather, trimmed with rich and genuine open-pore wood, and quilted leather inserts can be found in the door panels and seats. Satin finish metal trims tie them all together with a look that feels a few price points up from here.
Heated and cooled front seats, heated and cooled cup-holders, heated rear seats and steering wheel come here as well as an expansive panoramic roof that ads a sense of space to the otherwise dark cabin. The chairs were infinitely comfortable front and rear, particularly for long drives.
A new steering wheel design features multiple controls for audio and trip information found in the new brightly lit instrument cluster with a TFT center display offering multiple customizable information sets. The steering wheel though has a genuine aluminum trim ring in its rim can singe your hands on hot days.
The center console features one modern touch I’m not sure I’m so hot on though, which is the rotary dial shift selector. It works well, but I miss a lever to rest my hand on, and it’s more tactile sense of engagement.
Also modern and well executed is its center stack which features just the right balance of hard controls to go along with its Uconnect touch-screen infotainment system. We’ve tested this system in a variety of Chrysler products, finding it’s one of the best in terms of feature content as well as ease of use.
Rear seat passengers enjoy plenty of space in this full-size sedan and have of course their own HVAC vents back here too. And while this is upper-end luxury, they do fold down in a 60/40 split for stowage of larger items from the trunk.
And in that trunk we found plenty of space lined with top-quality materials such as the heavy carpet mat with embroidered 300C logo. Under that mat is a spare tire, in a time when many competitors give you a can of sealant.
Under the hood is the latest evolution of Chrysler’s 5.7 liter HEMI V8. It might be based on mid-century technology, but it has modern-day brains. There’s multiple-displacement capability to run on four-cylinders when power isn’t so needed, and variable valve timing to give it to you when it is.
With 363 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque delivered through a new 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, it delivers power in a modern way with better fuel-economy than before. And there’s a sport mode, which taps up shift response quite well.
All this fun comes at a cost however. While the EPA rates the Chrysler 300C at 16 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, I only achieved 16 mpg during my week with it. In its defense, my right foot is likely to blame for its appetite, as I just couldn’t resist the urge.
Chassis improvements for 2015 include a lot of detail changes for the LH platform including new aluminum axles for less un-sprung weight and electronic power steering which offers variable assist and a lighter feel.
With a dual wishbone front suspension and multi-link independent rear suspension originally derived from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class architecture a decade back, the 300C still feels fresh on the road and has a good deal of talent on windy back roads.
When it comes to safety the 2015 Chrysler 300C has not yet been given the latest round of IIHS crash testing to include their new small-offset crash. It however achieved good ratings on the remainder of their testing and offers basic crash prevention systems as an option.
In our testing this week the 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum came in at $45,395 and earned 4.5 out of 5 stars. We liked it so much, it goes on our I’D Buy It list for 2015.