The facelifted version of Chrysler's 300C has finally become available in South Africa. Three models are offered, a 3,6L V6 (petrol) 8-speed auto (R479 990), a 3,0L V6 (turbodiesel) 5-speed auto (R539 990) and a thundering SRT8 range-topper, priced at R629 990.
Heavily revised inside and out, the new 300C Luxury Series models feature either a Black or Mochachino Poltrona Frau “Foligno” leather-wrapped instrument panel, cluster brow, centre console side panels and upper front- and rear-door panels. Premium Nappa leather covers the door armrest, bolster and centre console armrest. Black or two-tone Mochachino seats are wrapped in supple Nappa leather and include 12-way electric adjustment for both front seats (including four-way power lumbar) with two-mode ventilation and two-mode heated seats for both front and rear passengers. The Black or two-tone Mochachino leather-wrapped steering wheel – with all-new die-cast paddle shifters – features what Chrysler claims is a segment-exclusive 360-degree heated rim. Completing the interior environment is specially selected Natural Pore Mocha wood trim featuring a matte finish.
Outside, the 300C's trademark butch looks have been refined and updates include large 20-inch polished face aluminium wheels. Platinum chrome accents for the exterior mirror caps, door handle accents and mesh grille add further bling.
State-of-the-art Infotainment and safety features
Standard features include what is claimed to be the segment’s largest touchscreen infotainment system, the (8,4-inch) Uconnect Touch 8.4N with Garmin navigation. Also standard are; LED-illuminated instrument cluster with driver-selectable colour, power tilt and telescoping steering column with memory, power sunshade, premium 18-ounce Berber floor mats, satin chrome lower door sills with “Chrysler” logo, dual heated/cooled cup holders, ambient lit foot well lighting, LED illuminated interior door handles and front and rear map pockets, and power exterior mirrors with memory, driver mirror auto-dimming and auto-tilt in Reverse.
The Uconnect Touch infotainment system has been upgraded and now features handsfree texting, voice commands for the navigation and more iPod control features. A nice touch is that, with a compatible Bluetooth phone, Uconnect Touch enables text-to-speech for incoming text messages, and provides the driver with ‘canned’ speech-to-text responses for outgoing messages.
Safety features across the range includes an ABS system thate features Ready Alert Braking that can predict when a driver is starting an emergency braking procedure, and which then uses the electronic stability control system's pump to move the brake pads closer to the rotors, reducing braking time. Rain Brake Support performs the same function in the wet. Seven airbags are fitted.
A Safety Tech Package is offered and this includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Rear Cross Path Detection (RCP).
Special SRT8 features
The SRT8 features an all-new leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel with a unique satin chrome rim section and a flattened bottom surface showing the SRT logo. All audio and Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (EVIC) controls are accessible from the horizontal spokes on the steering wheel. The new full-colour graphic EVIC with exclusive Performance Pages includes timers for 0-100 km/h, 200 m and 400 m times, 100-0 braking distance, along with lateral and longitudinal g-forces within the touchscreen display. The new instrument panel’s 8.4-inch colour touchscreen display – the segment’s largest standard display – also has all the same Performance Pages data as the EVIC, and is further expanded to include steering angle, power and torque outputs along with engine gauges. The display is customizable.
The standard heated and ventilated front seats have active headrests with the SRT logo embroidered in the seat backs. Real carbon fibre interior trim pieces are integrated into the new instrument panel, doors and shifter bezel and new racing style brake and accelerator pedal pads are standard.
The SRT8 features a 900-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harman Kardon. The system features a 32-volt Tracking Power Supply (TPS) 12-channel Class D amplifier.
The entry level model, the 3,6-litre V6, makes use of Chrysler's Pentastar engine that develops 210 kW and 340 N.m of torque. It is mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission that features a "Sport" mode. Chrysler claims a combined cycle fuel economy figure of 9,7 L/100 km for this model. It is claimed to sprint to 100 km/h in 7,7 seconds.
Next up is a 3,0-litre V6 turbodiesel model. The engine powering this model is built by VM Motori, was developed by Fiat Powertrain and features that marque's latest MultiJet 2 technology to reduce fuel consumption. It delivers 176 kW and 550 N.m of torque, enough for a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 7,4 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/h. Chrysler claims a 7,2 L/100 km combined cycle fuel economy figure for this variant. The engine is mated with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The SRT8 features the marque's new 6,4-litre Hemi V8. It delivers a whopping 347 kW and 631 N.m of torque. Chrysler says the SRT8 should sprint to 100 km/h in less than 5,0 seconds and reach a top speed of 280 km/h. Considering its price, the SRT8 looks like a performance bargain.
The engine delivers a 21 per cent improvement in fuel economy compared with the previous model and features an active-valve exhaust system that allows the standard Fuel Saver Technology (four-cylinder mode) to function over a wider rev range. The engine remains mated with a five-speed autobox, but there are new steering wheel mounted shift paddles. Normal, Sport and Manual modes are offered.
New on the SRT8 is an Adaptive Damping Suspension system that offers Auto and Sport modes. The steering is claimed to have been improved by the use of a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing to give a more direct feel. The SRT8 also features unique 20-inch alloy wheels and large 360 mm front and 350 mm rear ventilated discs with four-piston Brembo calipers.
Watch out for a driving impression soon.