Chrysler 300 Review

Posted on 10. Nov, 2006 by in Auto News

Slogans such as "breakthrough," "paradigm" and "integration" are management Viagra. They give ignorant execs and clueless PR folk the power to appear talented. But not a word is the Flack Talker soul Brand like "synergy." And no other word was often used to justify the merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler. But what happens when you are making top dollar Mercedes basics with Chrysler engineering synergies and sell them for the price of a Camry I'll give you 300 guesses.

Judging by his appearance, the Chrysler 300 is still a winner. The chopped roof, tight overhangs, Audi TT-esque fender flares and jeweler grade front end still the stuff of urban legend. The SUV-like attitude (generated by a sky-high belt line) and K-car rear deck influenced draw the big Chrysler from Boyz in the fad. Personally, I find this flying brick (with a drag coefficient match) away from Bentley limousines and vintage 300. In other words, stealing a Checker Marathon and ran it through a wind tunnel?

Pity that chunky profile looks just solid. Treat your butt on the front, sit back and give your best "mean mug" for the camera and the front clip bends and twists in rejection. Ditto the rear bumper: calm a box before loading the trunk and the 300, the rear sags like the rack of a middle-aged supermodel.

The Chrysler 300 is inside the cheap and not-so-happy theme. Apart from the narrow gaps and soft polymer on the dash equator, the cabin is awash in the kind of FlashCast plastics "enjoyed" the owner of Hyundai Excel. The 300 cabin serves up a mishmash of cut-price materials: packing of hard, nasty arm to a vinyl steering wheel. The 300 is thrones were developed by the folks at Slip N 'Slide, complete with leather inserts that are barely out of their vinyl environment. The optional Boston Acoustics' boombox is as clear as it is noisy-provided you remain in front.

Hop in the back and the sound quality is flying out the window, made directly to the beautiful gong response by closing the posterior portals. The 300's rear seat is best reserved for short trips with short people, all the other leaves the 300 slim rear cushion tired and stressed after long interstate odyssey. The trunk is shallow, do odd-shaped cargo hole and overly aggressive support struts on a zero-lever boot lid nothing to help the family car basics. But there is a shining star in three of the 300 cabin: a cruise control stalk with all precise, perfectly weighted feel of a Mercedes' to an otherwise lost cause part-time donation.

Take the 300 in a few switchbacks and you can tell where the car manufacturer their money. The 300 independent (front) and five-link (rear) suspension is a distant cousin of the old E-Class. Tweaked by the Dark Lords of DCX and bolted to a rigid chassis provide the greasy bits abundant poise for such a handsome (3800 pounds). Start the package in a corner and 250 pounds-ft of torque, the 300 sends the rear tires dancing for joy, moments before the ESP flashes a warning that this is. Not a E63 AMG and you're not Michael Schumacher (or Jay Shoemaker)

Even when handling Nanny present, the 300 is a wonderful blend of rough handling and soothing ride. The 300-Chris Craftian tiller has far too much rim for spirited maneuvers, but the power-assisted rack and pinion steering provides reasonable feeling for a passenger sedan fully from the over-40 set. With 55-series tires on hand (ironically) is the Chrysler 401K compliant ride, splitting the distance between BMW's teeth chattered strength and the rolling and pitching movements of the Toyota Camry.

Even without the hemispherical Hot Tamale under the hood, the 300 is no slouch. The sedan 3.5-liter high-performance SOHC V6 can not stand a chance against the latest hi-po six pots, but 250HP hooked-up provides a reasonably responsive five-speed autobox that the 300 gets out of control its own manner without undue delay, thirst (19/27), or embarrassment. (That's more than what you say for the base with names based on natural 2.7-liter V6.)

Taken as a whole, is the 300 proto-synergy. When you first raised the DaimlerChrysler combo has been touted as "merger of equals" blending German engineering with American. Instead blown away the competition with anal retentive engineering and unassailable workmanship of the Chrysler 300 is a half-baked half-breed: build a car with excellent bone, a flash outside a terrible interior and dubious quality.

Props to 300 for reinvigorating American car design find enormous popularity and more than pays its way. But it's time for the DCX, update these bad boys or build something that the merger meets the original premise. Otherwise, the 300 is destined to become a classic example of a synergistic implementation failure hype into reality.