Browsing Chrysler 300's Archives »»
Outside of the SRT variant, if you want the sharpest-looking Chrysler 300, you'll probably want the 300S trim. This showy variant has traditionally sported larger wheels and some subtle body changes to set it apart from the herd, along with its own unique take on the big sedan's interior.
For 2014, the S will be set apart even further. A number of exterior items will be blacked-out, including black chrome around the grille and Chrysler badges finished in a liquid-chrome finish with a black center. Black moldings are standard, while owners can get an extra dose of style by opting to have the roof painted Gloss Black. Hyper Black 20-inch wheels are standard on the rear-drive model, while 19s are fitted to the all-wheel-drive variant. Smoked tail and headlights round out the package.
The cabin, meanwhile, gets a new trim option - Ambassador Blue. The pale, blue Nappa leather features contrasting, silver French stitching found on the seats and the door armrests.
Outside of the trim and aesthetic changes, the 300S remains largely the same. Both Pentastar V6 and Hemi V8 engines available, with ZF's excellent eight-speed automatic dispatching power to either the rear or all four wheels. Scroll down for the press release from Chrysler on the updated 2014 300S.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Who is John Varvatos? If you're like me, that's the question you were asking after seeing commercials that advertised a limited-edition model of the Chrysler 300 with this mystery man's name attached. If you're not like me and consider yourself a fashionista even in the slightest, then you probably already know that John Varvatos is a successful menswear designer who cut his teeth in the fashion houses of Ralph Lauren's Polo and Calvin Klein. He's also a native of Detroit, which makes the joining of his brand and that of Chrysler's more intelligible, what with the Auburn Hills-based automaker still eking efficacy from its nearly three-year-old "Imported from Detroit" tagline.
Whenever one of these co-branded vehicles crosses my path, I try to judge them according to some simple questions. The first is, does the co-branding make sense for the target audience? And the second is, do the changes improve or diminish the experience of the standard vehicle? With this partnership, both brands are clearly aiming at the same target, or perhaps Chrysler hopes its aim will improve by partnering with the JV set, bringing it closer to that bullseye of style-conscious trendsetters.
The second question, meanwhile, can be answered with your eyes alone, as no mechanical changes are included among the Varvatos upgrades. Despite that, the 300C John Varvatos Edition is priced above - well above - all other 300 sedans save the 300 SRT8, suggesting that cool is not sold by the barrel (was it ever?) and Mr. Varvatos is a dealer in the stuff. Yet while I couldn't actually tell you if John Varvatos was a designer or a ditch digger before Chrysler introduced us, I do like his style, and the man knows how to dress a car.
- There are actually two separate John Varvatos models of the 300C available. The murdered-out one you see here is priced from $44,345 and available only with rear-wheel drive, and there's a less expensive version called the John Varvatos Luxury Edition, available with either rear- or all-wheel drive, that loses the emo look in favor of shiny, happy platinum chrome trim and three other available (though still dark) colors. However, only the more expensive model gets a serialized badge on the center console. Chrysler offered just 2,000 examples for the 2013 model year (this one is No. 15), and while the automaker has confirmed that the Limited Edition will be back for the 2014 model year, it's unclear at this time exactly how many examples will be made.
- The visual changes focus on an entire blackout of the 300C's exterior, which includes the deeply rich and sparkly Phantom Black Tri-Coat Pearl paint and the 20-inch Titanium painted wheels. A black grille surrounded by a titanium-finish frame, and titanium-finish fog lamp rings, headlight bezels, mirror caps and exterior badging complete the Darth Varvatos look. It's actually quite fetching in person thanks to the contrast that's still present between the pure black paint and titanium-finish pieces.
- Kudos to Mr. V for not plastering his branding all over the exterior; the only indication it's a John Varvatos Limited Edition model, besides the color, is a small badge of the designer's logo on the rear.
- The branding is much less inconspicuous inside, with Varvatos logos debossed into the seatbacks and on both the speedometer and tachometer, the analog clock, the navigation system's start-up screen and the aforementioned serialized badge on the center console. Looking past that, the white contrasting stitching on the dash looks great, and the Diesel Gray double-stitch on the seats exhibits premium craftsmanship. Even the Charcoal Hydrographic woodgrain trim is monochromatic.
- I feel obliged to give at least a couple of notes on some non-Varvotos-related items in this 300C. The seats were not as comfortable as I expected and lacked any amount of bolstering that would be helpful in hot handling maneuvers. The Chrysler Uconnect infotainment system still stands up as the most user-friendly and responsive on the market. Lastly, the Beats by Dr. Dre audio system, a $995 option on top of the Varvatos package, offers overwhelming bass even at the default setting. I turned the bass all the way down and even that level felt like the default setting of some other stereos.
- This tester has Chrysler's 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. While I'd normally prefer a V8, the V6 suits the Varvatos edition better. It's still plenty powerful, very smooth and returns an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway. The latter is thanks to the V6 model's eight-speed automatic transmission, which has the engine hardly working on interstates. Shifts are almost imperceptible, which is good because they happen so often. Its one knock is its hesitating to leave the higher gears for passing maneuvers. Using the shift paddles can override the automatic, and there's a Sport mode to keep the engine on boil all the time, though fuel economy suffers. The eight-speed is only available with the V6, while V8 buyers have to settle for the old five-speed automatic.
- The 300C in general isn't a sport sedan, so as you'd expect, it shines more on the boulevard than the backroads. The ride is smooth, even with those 20-inch rollers, and spoiling four passengers is this car's purpose in life. This model, however, has the optional Dual-Pane Panoramic Sunroof (a $1,495 option), which steals away some precious headroom inches. The one dynamic quibble I had was with its steering, which felt overly heavy, even at low speeds.
- While I like the look of this 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition, I find myself considering it in the same way I shop for clothes. Browsing the John Varvatos website, I'd pick out his Linen V-Neck, Hampton Fit Pant and Chuck Taylor Double Zip High Tops to wear in a heartbeat. They'd make a great outfit, but I'm not going to pay $168 for a t-shirt, $1,595 for pants and $170 for a pair of Chucks. Likewise, the JV Limited Edition starts $14,000 above a base 300C at $30,345, and with the options on this tester and a $995 destination charge, crests $50,000. I'm not so square that I think fashion shouldn't command a premium, but for these markups, I'd like more than a different color palette.
With recent news that the Secret Service has begun soliciting proposals for a new armored limousine, we've been wondering what the next presidential limo might look like. The current machine, nicknamed "The Beast," has a design based on a car that's no longer sold: the Cadillac DTS. If General Motors gets the job again, which wouldn't be a surprise considering the government still owns a chunk of the company, the next limo's shape would likely resemble the new XTS (below, left). But Cadillac hasn't always been the go-to car company for presidential whips.
Lincoln has actually provided far more presidential limousines throughout history than Cadillac. In fact, the first car modified for Commander-in-Chief-carrying duty was a 1939 Lincoln K-Series called "Sunshine Special" used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the last Lincoln used by a president was a 1989 Town Car ordered for George H.W. Bush. If President Obama wanted a Lincoln today, it would likely be an amalgam of the MKS sedan and MKT crossover, as illustrated above.
And what about Chrysler? The only record we could find of a President favoring the Pentastar is Nixon, who reportedly ordered two limos from the company during his administration in the '70s, and then another one, known today as the "K-Car limo," in the '80s after he left office. Obama, however, has a personal - if modest - connection to Chryslers, having owned a 300 himself before he took office. A 300-based Beast (above, right) would certainly earn the U.S. some style points.
Of course, we can only speculate about what the next presidential limo will look like, as what's under the skin is a closely guarded secret by the Secret Service. Like The Beast's rumored underpinnings, the next limo will probably ride atop a heavy-duty truck chassis, which any of our domestic automakers could easily provide.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Published under Cadillac, Chrysler, Chrysler 300, Lincoln, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT | send this post
Tags: cadillac xts, limousine, military, Presidential limo, Secret Service, Sedan, Specialty, Spy Photos, the beast
A monstrous supercharged V8 engine could be in store for Chrysler and SRT products, if recent rumors are to be believed. Allpar is reporting that the forced-induction V8 - Chrysler's first, if this goes down - could make its debut this summer.
The story goes that the Hellcat would be based on a 6.2-liter Hemi engine, rather than on the existing 5.7- or 6.4-liter versions of the company's vaunted mill. In any case, the general consensus is that the motor will have gobs of power. Modest estimates call for between 500 to 570 horsepower, with some outliers predicting a figure as high as 600 hp. That figure would put the output of the Hellcat awfully close to that of the 640-hp V10 in the SRT Viper, too. Allpar contends that a slightly less powerful version would allow Chrysler to keep costs below that of the more powerful Ford Shelby GT500, which might be a sweet spot.
The Hellcat could debut in a number of SRT products. SRT versions of the Charger, Challenger and 300 are all up for grabs, as is the rumored SRT Barracuda.Permalink | Email this | Comments
With more than 200,000 units across six separate recalls and almost all of its brands, it appears that Chrysler has officially jumped headfirst into the recall pool this month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued three official recalls for the automaker, and The Detroit News is reporting that the automaker itself has announced three more.
The biggest of the recalls applies to about 120,000 Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Chrysler 300 models for 2011 and 2012 due to faulty wiring harnesses for the seat-mounted side airbags, which could lead to these airbags not deploying in the event of a crash. A little more than 60,000 two-wheel-drive versions of the 2007-2008 Dodge Nitro and 2008 Jeep Liberty SUVs are being recalled due to a heat shield that could cause the driveshaft to break, which if that isn't bad on its own, could then hit underneath where the airbag sensor is mounted, causing the airbags to deploy. Wrapping up NHTSA's recall notices, about 20,000 Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass models for 2012 are also being recalled due to a problem with the fuel tank transfer tube that could lead to the vehicle stalling. The LX car recall campaign is going into effect this month, while the other two will start next month - all three notices are posted below.
In addition to the official NHTSA recalls, The Detroit News is also reporting that Chrysler is recalling more than 16,000 Ram trucks and a small number of Dodge Dart sedans. Around 6,500 2013 Ram 1500 trucks will be recalled due to an improper adjustment of the parking brake cable from the factory, while 7,000 Cummins-powered 2013 Ram Heavy Duty trucks are being recalled due to an engine cover that does not have as much heat resistance as it is supposed to. Finally, a total of 46 Dodge Dart sedans are being recalled due to a problem with the brake calipers and/or parking brake.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Published under Chrysler, Chrysler 300, Dodge, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Nitro, Jeep, Jeep Compass, Jeep Liberty, Jeep Patriot | send this post
Tags: Chrysler recall, dodge recall, Government/Legal, jeep recall, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ram, ram 1500, ram heavy duty, ram recall, Recall, recalls, Safety
Word has it Chrysler is keen to shove its new turbo diesel V6 into a range of models. Wards Auto reports Chrysler President and CEO Saad Chehab has made it clear the automaker is investigating the possibility of using the 3.0-liter oil-burner in the 300. While speaking at an Automotive Press Association luncheon, Chehab said, "It's a matter of how much the customer is willing to pay for that premium. That's the only issue with it."
The Chrysler 300 is sold as the Lancia Thema in Europe complete with a diesel of its very own, and since the Jeep Grand Cherokee is now available with the diesel V6 here in the States, it only makes sense that the engine could potentially show up on the 300 order sheet. Opting for the 3.0 V6 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee will set you back an additional $4,500, however.
Chehab also said the engine could make an appearance in the next-generation Chrysler 200, which is set to debut next year.Permalink | Email this | Comments