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First drive: Chrysler's 300C CRD torques tough!

Bling: Diesel 300C returns average fuel consumption of 8.2L/100km.

Another diesel emerges from DaimlerChrysler, this time in the shape of the 300C CRD

16 Jun 2006

IT HAS already been nicknamed the "King of Bling" for its squat muscle-car looks, fat chrome-laden grille and in-your-face styling. Now the addition of a turbo-diesel to the Chrysler 300C line-up is sure to cause a new wave of interest as, like its petrol equivalents, it disappears out of showroom doors across the country.

Last month Chrysler sold 157 300C petrol V6 and V8 sedans, putting it first in the upper-large market segment for cars under $100,000 and effectively wiping out the Holden Statesman and lacklustre Ford Fairlane.

With the arrival of the Mercedes-sourced 3.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel, Chrysler Australia expects the rear-drive 300C CRD to account for 20 per cent of the 2200 300C sales forecast this year.

At $57,990, the 300C CRD fits in below the 5.7-litre HEMI V8 model and is $4000 more expensive than the 3.5-litre V6 petrol.

Chrysler Australia spokesman Simon Johnson said the company had been able to secure more vehicles but global demand for the 300C remained high.

The turbo-diesel is shared among Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including the ML320 CDI, although the 300C offers 5kW less power at 160kW/510Nm.

Despite the modest kiloWatt drop, Chrysler claims the turbo-diesel offers strong performance and refinement.

With 160kW at 3800rpm and 510Nm from 1600rpm, the 300C CRD is claimed to be able to accelerate 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 constant highway cruising will lift economy further.

With its Mercedes-Benz technology, the turbo-diesel is state-of-the-art, featuring an aluminium block and cast-in grey iron cylinder linings, which help keep overall engine weight to 208kg.

11 center imageThe third-generation common-rail CRD comes with Bosch high-pressure fuel-injection to 1600 bar, a variable geometry turbocharger, four valves per cylinder with dual overhead cams and Piezo ceramic injectors with a 0.1 millisecond response time.

A quick-start glow system shortens pre-heating time to just seconds, so the diesel is almost as quick to start as the petrol 3.5-litre V6.

The engine meets Euro IV emission standards and includes a diesel particulate filter and is mated to a Mercedes-sourced five-speed "Autostick" automatic gearbox.

Equipment levels are comparable to the 300C V6 and include heated leather seats, 18-inch five-spoke alloys, leather steering wheel, trip computer, cruise control, dual exhausts, multi-function steering wheel, electric front seats/mirrors/windows, dual-zone climate control, electro-chromatic interior rear view mirror, 60/40-split folding rear seats, rear parking sonar and six-speaker Boston CD sound system.

Safety levels are also high with stability control, brake assist, traction control, dual front and curtain airbags, ABS, high-intensity discharge headlights, headlight washers, front seatbelt pretensioners, rain-sensing wipers and an alarm.

Like its petrol siblings, the 300C CRD is built at Chrysler’s Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria, has rack-and-pinion steering, a short-arm and long-arm front suspension and independent five-link rear.

Chrysler 300C pricing:

300C 3.5 V6 sedan - $53,990
300C HEMI 5.7 V8 sedan - $59,990
300C CRD 3.0 V6 sedan - $57,990
300C SRT HEMI 6.1 V6 sedan - $71,990

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