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LA show: Hottest Chrysler 300 missing in action

V8 aspirations: The updated Chrysler 300 is coming Down Under, but a refreshed version of the big V8 SRT variant is yet to be confirmed.

Facelifted Chrysler 300 line-up outed in LA but no word on SRT future


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20 Nov 2014

FIAT Chrysler Australia (FCA) has its fingers crossed for a hot SRT V8 version of the facelifted Chrysler 300 due in Australia next year, despite an announcement that the performance brand might be restricted to Dodge models in future.

Only two engines were confirmed for the 2015 large sedan at the Los Angeles motor show – an updated 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and a 5.7-litre V8, coupled with Chrysler's TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission.

While the ruling against an SRT variant seems to mark the end of SRT vehicles in Australia, the local FCA branch hopes it can win an exception to incorporate a Chrysler 300 SRT in the refreshed range just released at the Los Angeles motor show and due here in 2015.

FCA corporate communications director Lucy McLellan told GoAuto a final decision on the global SRT naming strategy had yet to be made, but Australia was hoping for a dispensation if the Dodge-only ruling went ahead.

“We would hope that an exception is made for Australia and Chrysler models,” she said. “A huge part of it is all about brand."While only one model is sold under the Dodge nameplate and two under the Chrysler brand, Chrysler's current-shape 300 best-seller far outsells the Dodge Journey, with 2508 of the large sedans sold last year compared with 1661 of the people-movers.

The Chrysler Voyager made up a small portion of sales with 168 registered last year.

For the mid-life update, Chrysler's big sedan has been given a mild aesthetic tweak with a taller grille, redesigned fog lamps and LED C-shaped running lights.

Seven new wheels designs are available with the update, ranging from 17-inch to 20-inches, while rear-end revisions include restyled LED tail lights, new-look fascia and a redesigned bumper.

According to Chrysler with freeway fuel-consumption of 7.6-litres per 100km the 224kW V6 offers “best-in-class V6 highway fuel economy”, while the V8 option takes the award for best-in-class power and torque with 271kW and 534Nm.

In the United States, three variants will be offered with four-wheel drive, which has proved popular in regions with an extreme winter climate. These all-paw versions are not expected Down Under.

All variants now get heated leather seats, Chrysler's Uconnect information and entertainment system with 8.4-inch touchscreen, and 7.0-inch colour driver's display as standard equipment.

A special Uconnect smartphone application allows owners to start and unlock their car remotely.

The 300S is treated to 20-inch wheels, exterior tweaks and steering-wheel paddle shifters.

All versions have a revised gear-selector with an electronic rotary shifter replacing the more conventional lever, a restyled three-spoke steering wheel with revised controls.

A new sport mode alters steering, engine and transmission responses for a more involving drive, and enhanced electric power steering and aluminium axle components reduce weight.

Safety features have also been given a boost with any-speed collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assistance and emergency call assistance now available.

Interiors have had a shakeup and are available with a revised range of four styling themes named after US cities on offer to customise each 300 depending on the specification level.

Ms McLellan said the updated version is expected to continue the warm reception in Australia that the first 300 model established in 2012.

“We are really happy with the volume that we've been doing and we certainly see it as being competitive,” she said.

“We have our volume expectations for the vehicle, which it meets, and we would hope it continues to meet that.”

Australian specification for the updated 300 range is yet to be confirmed, but the line-up is expected to align with current offerings which kick off with a $43,000 V6 Pentastar powered Limited variant.

Three V6 petrol and three diesel variants make up the bulk of the range from $46,500 to $56,000, while two high-performance SRT versions top-off the options priced at $56,000 and $66,000.

A diesel-engined version was not mentioned in the announcement but the 3.0-litre oil-burning variant that currently sells in Australia is not for sale in the US and any updated replacement will likely be confirmed by FCA if one is due.

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