When we drove the Chrysler 300 last year, we liked its unorthodox ‘gangster-car’ styling, exceptional value and refinement. Chrysler has now broadened the appeal of its flagship sedan with the introduction of the 300S model. Taking the standard car’s “Imported from Detroit” style a step further, the 300S boasts an array of exterior and interior sports enhancements to deliver even more street presence.
Priced from $47,500 excluding on roads, the 300S slots right in the middle of the range, above the standard 300 models and below the fire-breathing SRT8 variants.
The standard 300’s already dramatic styling gets an extra dose of aggressive treatment in the 300S, sporting a black chrome grille with platinum surround, black headlamp bezels, body coloured door handles and side view mirrors, a boot lip spoiler and black-accented ‘300S’ and ‘Chrysler’ badging.
Perhaps the most ‘bad-ass’ feature of the 300S are those 20-inch gloss black alloy wheels shod with the same ultra-grippy Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tyres as the SRT8 model.
If you want to make a statement on arrival, the 300S is good as a Bentley, except you don’t have to sell your house for one.
The interior of the 300S has an “athletic-luxury theme”, as Chrysler puts it. Piano Black finish is used extensively on the centre console, steering wheel and door panels, complemented by striking red leather upholstery with white stitching and embroidered ‘S’ logos.
Rounding up the enthusiastically designed interior are matte carbon “hydrographic-finished” accents, which replace the traditional burl wood found in the 300C, and a set of aluminium sports pedals.
Other than some minor panel misalignment and the lack of eye for detail in some finishings, the 300S’ cabin is as inviting as a luxury lounge with lots of richly textured soft-touch materials and big, indisputably comfortable seats.
Legroom and headroom is generous for all occupants, and the back seats have 60/40 split-folding. Its 462 litre boot space is decently sized but is still 64 litres down on the Holden Commodore sedan’s cargo space.
Strictly a styling exercise, the 300S is powered by the same 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine found in the regular car. That being said, the car is no slouch, as 210 kW of power and 340 Nm of torque is served to the rear wheels via the much-touted ZF eight-speed automatic transmission to propel the 1,897 kg sedan from standstill to 100 km/h in 7 seconds flat.
The V6 is amazingly refined, with good urge from the get go and ample reserves of power throughout its rev range. Cruising in the 300S is both relaxing and effortless, making it perfect for munching up country miles. At legal freeway speeds, the V6 spins at a lazy 1,500 rpm, while zipping a frugal 7 to 8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.
The 8-speed auto is the cream of the drivetrain. It matches well with the big V6, albeit slightly reluctant to down shift. But slot the gear lever into ‘S’ and the throttle response is instantly sharpened, while kickdown is almost instantaneous and preceded with a throttle blip. If manual shifting is desired, the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters offer snappy, quick gear changes.
A spin at some twisty back roads quickly reveal the 300S’ European-influenced dynamism, not surprising as Chrysler is part-owned by Fiat. The Italian connection means the big American feels as confident around the bends as any other accomplished Euros in this segment. Despite its hefty weight, it remains tautly composed and the excellent grip coming from those Eagle F1 tyres really helps keep the large sedan on its intended course.
The 300S’ steering is well weighted and precise, though it doesn’t convey much from the road. The brakes are strong but aren’t consistent in feel, especially in urban traffic.
The suspension feels sporty but still has the fine ability to round off rough edges, striking a good balance between comfort and handling.
The cabin is well insulated from road noise, largely thanks to the supremely quiet Goodyear rubber, but the 300’s shape is not the most streamlined, resulting in slight wind noise around its shallow glass house.
The 300S claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 9.4L/100km. Our week-long test covering over 550km of various road types and traffic sees the trip computer returning 10.8L/100km. That’s not bad for a large sedan with a big V6 under the bonnet.
While the 300S doesn’t disappoint in performance, the hallmark of the Chrysler is its great value. For $47k, the 300S is equipped to the brim, more so than the locally made Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.
The comprehensive list of standard equipment includes keyless entry, bi-xenon headlamps with auto high beam control, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, heated and cooled front cupholders (our favourite and they work brilliantly), electrically adjustable front row seats with heating and cooling, memory for the driver seat, electrically adjustable steering column, heated rear seats and electric blind for the rear window. There’s also a punchy 9-speaker Alpine sound system with DVD player thrown in.
The 300S is fitted with Chrysler’s Uconnect 8.4-inch touch screen display. The large screen is ultra crisp and offers controls for various functions such as the dual zone climate control, radio, navigation, reversing camera and connected media devices. It is one of the most user-friendly interfaces we have come across and pairing up a Bluetooth device is an absolute brisk.
On the safety front, the 300S is five-star ANCAP rated and comes with six-airbags, front and rear parking sensors plus a host of safety electronics.
The Chrysler 300S is definitely worth a look if you want a large sedan that stands out from the crowd. Its imposing road presence ensures maximum visual impact on arrival.
The 300S also offers decent performance and a lot of goodies. For $47,500, it is exceptionally good value for money.
|Price (Excl. on-roads):||$47,500|
|Engine:||3.6-litre Pentastar V6; 210kW @ 6,350rpm 340Nm @ 4,650rpm|
|Transmission:||8 speed auto with E shifter; rear wheel drive|
|Fuel consumption (combined):||Claimed: 9.4L/100km; Tested: 10.8L/100km|
|0-100km/h (manufacturer’s):||7.0 seconds|
|Servicing||12,000km / 6 months|
|Safety:||5 Star ANCAP|
|Dimensions:||Length: 5,066mm, Width: 1,905mm, Height: 1,488mm, Wheelbase: 3,052mm|
Competitors: Holden Commodore SV6, Ford Falcon G6, Mercedes-Benz E Class, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XJ, Volkswagen CC