The Chrysler 300 helped herald in the resurgence of the classic, American full-size sedan. With rear-wheel drive and derived from a Mercedes-Benz platform, the 300 used functional pieces of the DaimlerChrysler days to create an iconic modern classic and invigorate the large sedan segment.
2011 to Present: Chrysler 300
The second-generation 300 appeared for 2011. Using a re-engineered version of the old 300’s rear-wheel drive platform, the new car refined the overall design and made improvements to the successful recipe.
A new 3.6-liter V6 for base and Limited trims replaced the outgoing V6s in the lineup, now producing 292 horsepower. A 5.7-liter V8 with 363 horsepower is standard on the 300C, and can also be had with all-wheel drive. All models used a five-speed automatic transmission at launch.
Inside, a new 8.4-inch touch screen and Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system was used to control audio and climate functions. Standard equipment now included dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and start, aluminum wheels and a USB/iPod interface. A Luxury Group on Limited and 300C models adds heated and cooled front seats, heated and cooled cup holders and more leather trim.
For 2012, an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive were introduced on V6 models. The 300 SRT8 returned to the lineup with a 6.4-liter V8 engine producing 470 horsepower, and the Luxury Series was added with higher-quality wood and leather trim and chrome exterior trim. Additionally, a new sportier 300S model debuted with blacked-out trim inside and out. Base and Limited models were decontented a bit, with the 8.4-inch touch screen now an option.
The 5.7-liter V8 became an option on 300S and 300C models for the 2013 model year.
Changes were minor in 2014, but the 300 received a comprehensive facelift for 2015. New lights and grilles dominated the exterior changes, corresponding to revised trim levels. The 300 Limited became the base trim for 2015, with 300S and 300C models returning along with a new Platinum trim topping the model range. An eight-speed automatic was now standard on all models, but V8s lost the all-wheel drive option. The 300 SRT8 was also dropped from the lineup.
For 2016, a 90th Anniversary package includes popular options such as the 8.4-inch touch screen and satellite radio. The Uconnect system now incorporates Siri Eyes Free and the 300S has a retuned suspension.
Earlier Chrysler 300 Models
Introduced for 2005, the 300 was Chrysler’s first rear-wheel drive sedan since 1989. It also marked the return to V8 power, armed with the energy of the Hemi advertising that was successful on DaimlerChrysler’s pickups of the time. All-wheel drive was a new option for Chrysler’s big sedans, too.
Base models used a 190-horsepower, 2.7-liter V6 with a four-speed automatic transmission, and got 17-inch wheels, power amenities, including a power driver’s seat. The Touring model got a 3.5-liter V6 with 250 horsepower and added aluminum wheels, stability control and leather upholstery. Limited models gained a few more features over the Touring, such as chrome wheels. The top 300C version gained the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 350 horsepower, a five-speed automatic transmission and tortoise shell wood accents.
The popular 300 line was unchanged for 2006. A new SRT8 added a 425 horsepower, 6.1-liter Hemi V8, as well as more aggressive styling and wheels.
For 2007, a long-wheelbase version was added, specifically aimed at livery markets using the Lincoln Town Car. Other 300s gained available adaptive cruise control, redesigned side mirrors with turn signals, heated rear seats and new wheels.
In 2008, the 300 got a mild facelift, which included updated front and rear styling. The interior gained better materials and a restyled instrument panel. The optional navigation system now used a hard drive with available music storage, a new rear-seat entertainment system was available and an iPod interface was added. Base models were now called LX.
For 2009, the Hemi V8 in the 300C gained revisions to bring horsepower up to 360. The suspension was also revised. The LX trim was dropped for the 2010 model year and all 300C models got keyless entry and start. Side curtain air bags became standard on all models, too.