Chrysler touts the 300 as ‘The Return of the Great American Car, albeit with a good dose of Teutonic DNA. The rear-drive 300C, which replaces both the front-drive Concorde and 300M, is built off of a brand new platform that owes a lot to the Mercedes E-Class. While Chrysler engineers say that the 300C doesn’t share parts with the Mercedes sedan, they will admit that the platform and susp" />

Issue: Mar 2004


Cars Worth Noting - 2005 Chrysler 300C



2005 Chrysler 300C

by John Peter

Chrysler touts the 300 as ‘The Return of the Great American Car, albeit with a good dose of Teutonic DNA. The rear-drive 300C, which replaces both the front-drive Concorde and 300M, is built off of a brand new platform that owes a lot to the Mercedes E-Class. While Chrysler engineers say that the 300C doesn’t share parts with the Mercedes sedan, they will admit that the platform and suspension were designed in the ‘philosophy’ of the E-class. A 4- Matic all-wheel-drive system is available this fall.

The German-inspired underpinnings are wrapped in an all-American design that pulls styling cues from all of the great Chrysler 300s of the past and sets the 300 apart from all of the other ‘aero-bubble’ sedans on the road today. The distinctive nose along with the optional 18-in. wheels and tires filling out the large fender flares makes quite an impressive image. The signature high beltline plants in firmly in the family next to the Crossfire and Pacifica.

Our ‘top-of-the-line 300C was powered by a 340 hp HEMI (a distinction it wears proudly, badged on each front fender) mated to the joint Chrysler/Mercedes designed 5-speed automatic transmission. The HEMI offered plenty of motivation for this 4,000-lb. sedan, going from quiet cruiser to sweet-growling speedster with the pressing of the accelerator.

With its 120-in. wheelbase, German-inspired suspension and large tires, the 300C is a competent and comfortable freeway cruiser, though the grooved pavement on a portion of highway 110 outside of Palm Springs created a harsh vibration that had us checking the tires to make sure one wasn’t losing air. The Continental Teves-supplied electronic stability program (ESP) traction control system kept the car between the lines on tight corners, but we found that the car was more fun to drive fast with the system turned off.

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