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

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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