1 Nov 2005
CHRYSLER hadn’t fielded an upmarket challenger to the Ford Fairmont/Fairlane and Holden Statesman since the demise of the CM Valiant Regal SE in 1981.
In the 300C there is plenty of quality Mercedes-Benz E-class engineering to keep it competitive – even if it dates back to the 1995-2002 W210 edition.
So we’re talking rear-wheel drive, recirculating ball steering and a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension. But Chrysler’s powerplants are its own.
The 183kW/340Nm 3.5-litre SOHC V6 is the entry-level version, claiming 11.0L/100km.
However, with 250kW available at 5000rpm and a stump-extracting 525Nm of torque on tap from 4000rpm, the HEMI V8 makes a far more compelling argument.
For starters, it delivers more power and torque, and uses Chrysler’s trick Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which shuts down up to four cylinders when not required. This helps the 5.7-litre HEMI to return 20 per cent lower, V6-like fuel consumption of just 12.1L/100km.
The only gearbox available is a five-speed automatic.
In April 2006 the high-performance SRT-8 model was released, chasing Ford’s FPV and Holden’s HSV models with a seriously powerful 6.1-litre V8 (without engine-displacement technology) boasting 317kW and 569Nm, and also using the five-speed automatic gearbox.
Meanwhile the diesel 300C CRD lobbed in from early July.
With 160kW at 3800rpm and 510Nm from 1600rpm, the CRD accelerates from 0-100km/h in 8.6 seconds and on to a top speed, where permitted, of 230km/h. These are impressive figures given the vehicle tips the scales at a porky 1901kg.
Like all modern-day diesel engines, fuel economy is a strong point. The CRD has a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.2L/100km but a constant highway cruising figure will lift economy further.
Wagon versions of each 300C model also arrived at the same time.