The Chrysler 300C is offered with one engine, a 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 236bhp. It pulls strongly from low revs, but the five-speed-speed auto gearbox is a weak link; ask it to respond quickly and it soon becomes flummoxed, with clumsy kick-downs. An eight-speed automatic is likely to be introduced later.
You’re unlikely to complain about the 300C’s ride. It’s pretty comfortable, even on larger wheels (18in items are standard, but you can spec up to 20-inchers). However, it does get caught out by finely disturbed surfaces, allowing some pattering through to the cabin. The steering, meanwhile, is hardly communicative but it’s meatily weighted and precise - which is pretty much the class norm these days.
Refinement is probably the 300C’s strongest area. The V6 turbodiesel makes a smooth growl when accelerating, and once up to speed, it fades nicely into the background. Road noise is reasonably well contained, too; the only niggle is the wind noise around the (huge) wing mirrors.
The 300C’s engine isn’t particularly clean. You’re looking at a claimed 39mpg, and CO2 emissions are a fairly hefty 185g/km at best. That’s not going to kill the planet on its own, but it’s some way off four-cylinder rivals like BMW’s 520d. This will also hit you hard when it comes to company car tax.
There are soft-touch materials everywhere you’d want them, while the double-stitched leather gives a feeling of luxury. That said, it can't get anywhere near a BMW 5 Series for plushness. The previous 300C scored four out of five stars in our most recent reliability survey, which should hopefully bode well for the latest version.
There’s no shortage of safety kit on board the 300C, with front and side airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, stability control, and front seatbelt pre-tensioners. The car scored a maximum five stars in the EuroNCAP safety tests, but the tests also found that the bonnet’s high leading edge wasn’t so great for pedestrians.
There’s enough adjustment on the steering wheel and driver’s seat to get comfortable. The dashboard is dominated by a touch-screen interface that controls everything from the sat-nav and audio system to the heated seats and climate control. It’s comprehensive, but the graphics looks a little low-rent and the map can be slow to update.
Chrysler claims that the 300C ‘offers Audi A8 space for A6 money’, and there’s no doubt that this is a roomy vehicle. Even with two tall front passengers, rear occupants won’t feel short-changed on legroom. Headroom isn’t so generous, though. Luggage space is more of an issue; the boot is 70 litres smaller than an Audi A6’s, and the rear seats don’t go totally flat when you fold them.
Chrysler’s given the 300C loads of kit to give it a chance against the German opposition. The Limited has a touch-screen sat-nav, climate control, plenty of leather trim and other less obvious toys like cupholders that will cool or heat your beverage. Executive gets adaptive cruise control and bigger alloys, but the basic trim will be enough for most.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive