The dramatic looking Chrysler 300C is in your face and you can't ignore this muscle sedan. This award winning car, which was voted as North American Car of the Year, is available with two engine options - both brutal.
It either comes with a 3.5-litre V6 or Chrysler's famed 5.7-litre HEMI V8. However, Chrysler executives told us that a 3-litre V6 diesel version is also under consideration for introduction here late next year.
Although there is nothing modest about the 300C, its pricing is quite keen when compared to its rivals. The 3.5-litre V6 has a price tag of R349 000 and the V8 Hemi will cost you R430 000.
According to Chrysler the 300C is aimed at the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Volvo S80. Although Chrysler won't admit that the 300C could steel sales from its Merc E-Class cousin, we won't be surprised to see some Merc owners crossing over to the 300C.
Yes, the 300C has what it takes to be competitive against the traditional luxury brands. Overall quality is much better than some other Chrysler vehicles such as the Crossfire.
Unlike some of its rivals all comfort features are standard and the only optional extra is a sunroof.
Included in both derivatives' pricing are leather trim, electric seats, cruise control, climate control, park-distance control and xenon headlights - just to name a few. From next year satellite navigation will be available too, but at extra cost.
Safety features include multi-stage dual airbags in front with side curtains front and rear.
The 300C is humungous (it is 5m long and 1.9m wide) and Chrysler claims that it has a longer wheelbase than a Mercedes S-Class. Its long bonnet, dramatic profile, huge wheel arches, 18-inch wheels and chrome trim give it more presence than any of its rivals.
This big mama of a car is also a unique model in the DaimlerChrysler stable and the platform the 300C is based on, is only shared with its Dodge Charger sibling.
It also has all the right genes to be a true driver's car as it is rear-wheel-driven, comes with a long wheelbase and is front engined - all attributes that result in an exhilarating drive.
Yes, there is little doubt that the 300C is an impressive package but the most significant aspect of this vehicle is its HEMI engine.
This legendary engine design that powered Chrysler?s "letter series" cars in the 1950s has been re-engineered and reborn as a modern, high-performance, fuel-efficient and durable powerplant known as the all-new 5.7 litre HEMI V8.
With 250 kW and 525 N.m of torque, the Chrysler 300C can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.4 seconds.
The engine also dispels the notion of gas-guzzling American muscle by means of the Chrysler Group?s innovative Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which seamlessly shuts down four cylinders when V8 power is not needed. According to Chrysler this results in a drop of fuel consumption between 10% to 20%.
The quad cam 3.5-litre engine (which was not available at the launch) produces 186 kW at 6 400 r/min with 339 Nm of torque at 4 000 r/min, and accelerates the 300C from 0-100 km/h in 9.2 seconds.
Both the V8 and V6 come with a five-speed auto gearbox with adaptive electronic control. You can also change gears "manually" by shifting the gear lever left or right when it is in drive mode.
The 300C's 5.7-litre V8 HEMI engine rocks. This is a car that shoots easily around corners, barrels down straights and brake instantly when needed.
You are also always aware of the HEMI's potent abilities as power is immediately available.
There is never a short supply of performance and although you are always aware of the 300C's size it feels quick and even nimble. Furthermore the 300C has little body roll and the car is an excellent cruiser.
This car also manages to swift you along with grace and the V8 provides a smooth ride.
At the same time one feels good to be in it and the 300C doesn't feel out of place next to its German rivals. In fact, it makes some of its competitors appear bland and none of them has the same presence.
Chrysler expects to sell about 30 300Cs a month but we reckon this figure is conservative. This isn't a car that will go unnoticed and it is everything you expect from a true American car - big, bold and powerful. This is combined with quality fit and finish which is on par with European products.
The 300C is a car that will put Chrysler back on the map and all the usual suspects in the luxury sedan segment better watch their backs. The Chrysler 300C is sensational... Be aware.