• Top-of-the-line Chrysler sedans with more features and amenities
  • Rich Poltrona Frau leather interior, a real upscale upholstery
  • New 8-speed automatic transmission for improved fuel economy

Folks old enough to remember automobile advertising from decades past may recall Chrysler's 1970s spots for Imperial and Cordoba models. Actor Ricardo Montalbán described the "rich Corinthian leather" available in those cars. But the leather was actually from New Jersey, not Corinth. Chrysler's ad agency invented the term to give the sedans an air of sophistication.

Chrysler is again boasting about hides, specifically the "ultra-premium" leather found in their new flagship model, the 300 Luxury Series. This time, no made-up names are necessary because Chrysler has specified Poltrona Frau leather from Italy for their finest sedan. Poltrona Frau is a real brand of leather found in high-end vehicles like those from Ferrari, Maserati and BMW. In the new Chrysler flagship, the rich material covers not just the seats, but also the dash, door panels and center console. The interior of the new Luxury Series is further enhanced over the standard model with hand-sanded matte wood trim and a variety of standard comfort and convenience features. Add to that an 8-speed automatic transmission and the 300 Luxury Series is a premium sedan that's as economical to operate as it is to acquire.

Luxury Series sedans start at just over $40,000, and include high-end amenities like an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, ambient lighting, heated and cooled front and rear seats, heated power-tilt/telescope steering wheel, heavyweight Berber floor mats, and plenty of metallic trim, from satin chrome door sills to platinum chrome grille and exterior accents. Special, polished face wheels with painted pockets are 19-inch on all-wheel drive models or 20-inch on rear-wheel drive models. New die-cast paddle shifters control the upgraded ZF transmission.

Both the V6-powered 300 and the 300C, which gets a 363-horsepower Hemi V8, are available with Luxury Series trim in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations. With either powerplant, the 8-speed automatic, the first in a domestic luxury sedan, yields improved economy. The rear-drive V6 achieves a class-leading 31 mpg highway, while the all-wheel drive V6 is also best among peers, rated at 21 mpg combined.

At $45,245, even the most expensive, all-wheel drive, V8-powered 300C Luxury Series is nicely priced considering the bevy of upgrades. Both the 300 and 300C Luxury Series models will likely prove to be tough competitors on value, comfort and performance among flagship sedans when they arrive early this year. Fortunately for car shoppers, these new Chryslers really do bring the luxury appointments; no made-up names needed.

What it means to you: Chrysler 300 Luxury Series combines top-quality materials and amenities with state-of-the-art mechanicals to become the brand's flagship model.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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