The big, bold sedan is back: The new Chrysler 300 has arrived in New Zealand, offering unmistakable styling and apparently, “quality and technology that is designed to exceed expectations and rival luxury competitors in the premium and performance segments”. A bold statement by Chrysler!

The Chrysler 300 is represented in New Zealand by two new models, the Chrysler 300S, powered by the award-winning Pentastar V6, and a model built specifically for New Zealand and Australian drivers who want the performance that only a big capacity V8 can offer – the HEMI V8-powered Chrysler 300 SRT. Not even then Americans can their hands on the SRT, it’s a model specifically developed and built for New Zealand and Australia.

The new Chrysler 300 offers a long list of features on both models, including a TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission, award-winning Uconnect system complete with satellite navigation, and an all-new 7-inch full colour driver information display (DID).

Chrysler New Zealand says that, “Inside the new Chrysler 300, passengers will be immersed in a sophisticated blend of hand-sculpted, high-quality and innovative material choices – inspired by American cities – precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology along with thoughtful and clever features.” Material inspired by American cities? We eagerly await a full review of the 300 to see just how it looks.

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One of the most noticeable interior refinements on the new Chrysler 300 is the Rotary E-shift dial, which changes gears electronically rather than mechanically. Unlike a traditional transmission shifter, the Rotary E-shift sits close to the centre console surface, is ergonomically positioned and remains out of the way of the instrument panel’s centre stack. At the back of the centre console, two USB charging ports have been added.

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A seven-inch instrument cluster display is integrated alongside blue-backlit analogue instruments, and features a full-colour display which allows for customised vehicle information in the format the driver prefers. Via steering-wheel controls, the display can toggle between vehicle speed, turn-by-turn navigation, real-time fuel economy, audio, driver assistance warnings, and safety and security functions, such as ParkSense (rear park assist) and the available Full-speed Forward Collision Warning – plus, audio information and trip details.

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Centred on the instrument panel is the latest Uconnect 8.4 system with navigation, which allows the driver to control audio, climate and comfort systems, including heated and ventilated seats, from the large 8.4-inch touchscreen display.

Maximising its ultra-rigid structural design, Chrysler 300 engineers were able to tune the cabin for sound quality (as well as sound level) by isolating the powertrain, road and wind noise. The unibody design packages material and structural design improvements, including two premium-composite underbody panels, provide more than eight feet of acoustic insulation.

In addition, the sedan’s dual-pane acoustic windshield and front-door side glass, body-cavity silencing foam, under-flush rolled-framed doors with triple seals and acoustic wheel-well liners all help to absorb road noise and quiet the cabin.

New interior design highlights across the range include:

  • New 7-inch full-colour instrument cluster display
  • New rotary transmission shifter standard on all models
  • Chrysler’s brand-new three-spoke steering wheel
  • New premium interior colours, trims and materials used throughout

New exterior design highlights across the range include:

  • New front fascia design
  • New grille design housing the Chrysler wing badge
  • New rear fascia design
  • Restyled LED tail lights and new LED fog lights
  • New wheel designs

Adaptive Cruise Control Plus with Full Stop: Helps maintain distance from vehicle ahead; Chrysler’s adaptive cruise control has been upgraded with the ability to perform a full stop without driver intervention whilst the vehicle is in motion, hold for two seconds and resume with traffic

Adaptive forward lighting (AFL): The system adjusts headlight beams up to 15 degrees outboard right or left depending on the turning direction of the vehicle

Advance Brake Assist: If inadequate force is applied to brakes in response to signal from

Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Advance Brake Assist increases brake force automatically

 Automatic high-beam headlamps: Headlamp system adjusts to ambient light and oncoming traffic to deliver maximum lighting

Blind-spot Monitoring (BSM): Uses dual ultra-wideband radar sensors to aid driver when changing lanes, passing or being passed; blind-spot vehicle presence noted via illuminated icons in side-view mirrors and driver-selectable audible chime

Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus: Radar and camera technology combine to determine if frontal impact appears imminent; if so, system pre-fills brakes, then transmits audible and visual warnings for driver to intervene. A lack of driver response triggers brief brake application as a tactile alert. If the driver remains unresponsive and frontal collision risk remains, brakes are applied to slow vehicle before impact. The system can bring vehicle to full stop if speed is below 32km/h

Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist: Alerts and assists driver; leverages electric power steering (EPS) to deliver subtle steering-wheel input when system detects need for course correction

Chrysler 300S

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The Chrysler 300S models is powered by the aluminium 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 engine with double-overhead camshafts (DOHC), variable-cam timing (VCT), integrated exhaust manifolds, polymer-coated piston skirts, forged connecting rods and a high-pressure die-cast aluminium cylinder block in a 60-degree configuration. The engine delivers 210kW and 340Nm of torque, and achieves a combined fuel consumption of 9.7 l/100km.

The Pentastar engine is paired with the innovative TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission standard on every model.

Chrysler 300 SRT

The beating heart of any performance vehicle is its engine, and the Chrysler 300 SRT’s beats to the tune of a 6.4-litre HEMI V8 producing 350kW and 637Nm.

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The engine’s high torque output allows for blistering standing starts and straight-line power, while performance-tuned motor mounts improve idle stability and ride control at any speed. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides maximum low-end torque while optimising high-end power.

Proving performance doesn’t have to be costly, the 300 SRT includes an active valve exhaust system that allows for standard Fuel Saver Technology (four-cylinder mode) to engage over a wider rpm range, meaning extra urban consumption of just 8.6L/100km.

New to the Chrysler 300 SRT is its TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. The design of the transmission further contributes to efficiency – at 88kg, it weighs just 1.8kg more than the previous five-speed gearbox. Furthermore, the transmission features particularly close fifth- through eighth-speed gear ratios for smoother shifting, along with a lower cruising rpm in top gear for added refinement.

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Don’t try this at home…

The addition of the TorqueFlite gearbox has also allowed for the enhancement of an advanced launch control system that allows the driver to personalise performance options including the desired launch rpm, as well as track-ready timing functions including a 400-metre sprint log that allows drivers to save their best times.

For spirited road driving, engaging Sport mode instantly transforms the sedan’s performance and personality by activating sport-tuned steering calibration and paddle-shift mode, in addition to sport engine and transmission calibration, and increased responsiveness of the accelerator pedal calibration. Engaging Sport – by switching the rotary shifter to ‘S’ – provides lightning-quick gear changes, reducing shift times by 37 percent (250 milliseconds versus 400 milliseconds) and can hold the desired gear without unexpected shifts, including at the redline.

Completing the 300 SRT’s impressive performance credentials are the Brembo Performance four-piston brakes with slotted rotors for exceptional stopping performance, mechanical limited slip rear differential and four-wheel independent sport performance suspension with performance-tuned steering.

The new Chrysler 300S is priced at $79,990 plus delivery costs, while the power of the Chrysler 300 SRT is available for $98,990 plus dealer costs.

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