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2011 Chrysler 300 - 2011 Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Autotrader January 2011
January 11, 2011

The 2011 Chrysler 300 full-size sedan, a revamped model complete with less dramatic grille and Audi-like headlights, said “hello” to the general public at this year’s Detroit auto show. Performing the introductions was the company’s president and CEO, Olivier Francois, who described the new 300 as part of “a story of how people react when their backs are against the wall.” Indeed, Chrysler will be replacing its entire range this year.

When backs are against the wall, it’s nice to have $1 billion to invest in a project, which is what Chrysler has done with the 300, creating new powertrains, new suspension and a much-improved interior with many softer surfaces. “This is the most luxurious car in its class,” said Francois. He was particularly bullish about the cabin’s new 8x4-inch screen that is claimed to be the biggest in its segment. “It’s almost an iPad,” he said.

Perhaps more mundane, but just as worthwhile, is an eight-speed transmission that, when linked to the V6 engine option, is capable of 30 mpg on the highway. Set to be in the showrooms soon, the rear-drive 300’s starting price has been announced at $27,995 for the most basic version.

That gets a 292-hp 3.6-liter V6 (Chrysler’s newest engine and well-received into the bargain), electronic stability control, an airbag for the driver’s knees, hill start assistance, Rain Brake Support, keyless entry, and a host of other premium-car features to go with fabric seat covers and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Limited model starts at $31,995, throws in some leather trim, 18-wheels, heated front seats, backup camera, a nicer 276-watt sound system and some voice-activated functions.

Going up one more step, $38,995 buys the 300C, which is powered by a 363-hp 5.7-liter V8 and sports standard equipment such as a heated steering wheel, 12-way power front seats, power-adjustable pedals, power-folding mirrors, and LED cabin lighting. An all-wheel-drive version, the 300C AWD, starts at $41,145 and rolls on 19-inch wheels. To improve fuel economy, this model has an active transfer case and a front axle disconnect system. “No other major automotive manufacturer offers the combination of these two independent technologies,” said Chrysler.

A package of features called the SafetyTec group includes high-intensity discharge headlamps, frontal collision warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-path detection and blind spot monitoring. It is available in the Limited and C models for an extra $2,795. And if anyone is mourning the passing of the old “baby Bentley” grille, it can still be purchased from Chrysler’s parts division, Mopar.

author photoCOLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2011 Chrysler 300 - 2011 Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader