Reviews

2011 Chrysler 300 Driving Impressions


The standard engine in the Chrysler 300 and Limited models is the new 292-horsepower, 260-foot-pound, 3.6-liter double-overhead-cam 24-valve Pentastar V6 engine with variable valve timing that gives it more flexibility in delivering low-rpm torque and high-rpm horsepower while delivering good fuel economy. The Chrysler 300 with the 3.6-liter V6 is rated 18/27 mpg City/Highway by the federal government on Regular gas.

The Chrysler 300C comes with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine, generating 363 horsepower and 394 foot-pounds of torque, with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 16/25 mpg; Midgrade gasoline is specified.

We concentrated our driving efforts on a 300 Limited V6 model, but we also drove the cloth-upholstered base model briefly and both the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the 300C, with the muted but brutally torquey Hemi V8 on board.

Most drivers will find the V6 more than adequate even in this heavy car. It's long on horsepower and high on torque for its size, very flexible and driveable in town and out on the highway with none of the roughness or graunchiness formerly associated with V6 engines. The V6 delivers 63 percent more power and 36 percent more torque than the old 2.7-liter V6, and 42 more horsepower and 10 foot-pounds more torque than the old 3.5-liter V6. Plus it sounds good at wide-open-throttle.

We exercised, pushed and stressed a Chrysler 300 Limited in the hills and valleys east of San Diego and found it to be a wonderful traveling companion. The new variable-ratio electro-hydraulic power steering system has a lovely, heavy feel to it, as though it's actually connected to and directing something down there on the road surface, and the car turns in with authority and without objectionable body roll.

The ride delivered by the new suspension system is smooth, comfortable and quiet, and the cabin itself has been quieted down considerably with the addition of an acoustic bellypan under the car, acoustic material in the wheel wells and pillars, and an acoustic wrap around the complete interior to block out noise from the mechanical systems, the wind and the tires.

The anti-lock brake package with electronic brake-force distribution has everything you could ask for in terms of power, pedal modulation, and emergency capabilities, and is the largest component of a very complete safety package that includes traction control, stability control, and front, side, roof and driver knee air bags.

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