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2006-01-09 08:21

Wilmer Muller

The Chrysler Imperial - aping Rolls-Royce?

The Imperial concept, which was launched at the Detroit Motor Show on Sunday, could become Chrysler's new flagship model in the next few years.

Although Chrysler's president and CEO Tom LaSorda didn't confirm production plans at the unveiling of the Imperial he said that one should "expect the unexpected" of the carmaker's concept cars.

Other Chrysler executives told Wheels24 that a concept such as the Imperial is likely to be built, as there is a gap in the US market for a true upmarket American executive sedan.

Recent history also proved that Chrysler's concepts are usually destined for production.

It will also be relatively easy to build the Imperial as it based on a stretched version of Chrysler's LX platform which underpins the 300C.

The Imperial is about 40cm longer than a 300C and it sits on 22-inch aluminum wheels.

The Imperial badge is also part of Chrysler's heritage and the new concept is inspired by the Imperials of the 1930s and '50s.

Ultimate comfort At the launch of the Imperial concept, Chrysler's senior vice president for design Trevor Creed told the international motoring media that the car is a glamorous showcase of ultimate comfort.

According to Creed it will also elevate the Chrysler brand to new levels.

The front end is dominated by a central upright grille which seems very similar to that of a Rolls-Royce.

At the rear, the individual circular taillights with floating outer rings combine modern LED lighting with a look evocative of the signature "gun sight" taillights of previous Imperials. Separate slender LED lamp units provide for park, turn and back-up lamp functions.

Other premium design features include "suicide" or "barn-style" doors a la Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Under the Imperial's massive bonnet is Chrysler's 5.7-litre V8 Hemi engine linked to a five-speed transmission lifted from the Mercedes E-Class.

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