Bling on the new muscle
The new Chrysler 300C is as mean a Motown motor as ever but now it has that diesel difference, writes PAUL GOVER
TIME has been kind to the gangsta car. The brutal beast that reeks of Motown still looks as ripped and rugged as it did on day one in Australia, with a cut-through in traffic that crushes everything short of a Ferrari.
People still love to tweak their Chrysler 300C to give the car more of the bling appeal that has given it a cult following here.
But today we’re talking about a 300C with a difference— the diesel.
This time round, Chrysler has a tough-looking family and prestige car that does more than just guzzle and go. It has all the space you want, and plenty of cool stuff in the cabin, without the guilt of a big V8.
How good is it? Fuel economy is averaging 9.9 litres/100km in conditions where a Falcon or Commodore would be running in the 14 range, and the trip computer has ticked over at better than 8 litres/100km on a quiet highway cruise.
Those are great numbers for a car that reminds us of the now-dead Ford Fairlane because of its tough feel and huge cabin. And, it must be said, the 300C has the sort of macho styling that makes it a favourite with corporate hire companies.
The 300C CRD arrived in Australia last year with an update deal that included everything from a BMWstyle ‘‘shark fin’’ aerial on the roof, better-looking dials and more up- market plastics in the cabin, to airbags in the side of the front seats.
There there is the diesel — a 3.0-litre V6 with 160kW and, far more importantly, 510Nm to push to the back wheels. It’s in contrast to the previous 300C, the 6.1-litre Hemi in the SRT8 that thumps with 317kW and 569Nm.
The upgrade is not huge but it keeps the car moving, important as Chrysler Group Australia fends off questions about the viability of its US parent company.
‘‘The 300C and Jeep Grand Cherokee are the backbone of the company in Australia. They are our stars,’’ Chrysler chief Gerry Jenkins says.
‘‘The 300C is incredibly popular. It has been a consistent winner.’’
The introduction of the diesel comes at a time when Ford and Holden would do almost anything to have a simple sipper in their Falcon and Commodore. Both are working hard on everything from cylinder deactivation and LPG to flex-fuel engines that can run on E85 ethanol fuel, but a diesel would be a quick and effective solution to economy with performance.
Ford actually had a signed-off program for a diesel Falcon, using a Jaguar engine that would have fitted neatly into the homegrown model, but the deal was cancelled after a change of management at Broadmeadows. It now looks like a disastrous decision, but that was then and the CRD is now.
It’s not a cheap car, at a little more than $60,000, but it makes sense against a Statesman in the same price bracket with a petrol V6.