The 300 is a full-size sport/luxury sedan and wagon which was first shown at the 2003 New York Auto Show as a concept car and first introduced in the spring of 2004 as an early 2005 model. The current 300 was designed by Ralph Gilles.
The new 300 was built to bring a high performance, sporty sedan to compete with the likes of the Buick LaCrosse and the Mercury Montego (launched at the same time as the 300). Unlike the LaCrosse and Montego, the 300C is rear wheel drive and offers comparable luxury at a lower price. The 300 is also sold in Europe as both a sedan and a station wagon. The station wagon, sold in Europe as the 300 Touring (not to be confused with the North American sedan's "Touring" trim level), shares its body pieces of the C-pillar with the Dodge Magnum. The 300 Touring differs from the Magnum in that its exterior stying and interior fitment are that of the 300/300C instead of the less-luxurious Magnum.
The new 300 is offered in five versions: the basic entry level 300, the "Touring" version, a more luxurious "Limited" model, the top-of the line 300C, and the performance-oriented SRT-8.
The basic 300 comes standard with 17 in (432 mm) alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, traction control, and a four-speed automatic transmission. It uses a 2.7 L LH V6 making 190 hp (142 kW).
The Touring model uses a 3.5 L V6, producing 250 hp (186 kW) and 250 ft.lbf (339 N·m) of torque. It also uses a 4-speed automatic transmission, but comes with foglamps, yaw control, and other luxury appointments.
The top of the line 300C version uses a 5.7 L Hemi V8. This engine can run on four cylinders when less power is needed, reducing fuel consumption. The EPA has rated the 300C as getting 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway. When all 8 cylinders are needed, the 300C can make 340 hp (254 kW) and 390 ft·lbf (529 N·m) torque.
2005 Chrysler 300
The car has become a genuine hit for Chrysler. It is priced below similar rear wheel drive, high-performance V8 sedans from other marques, and shrewd product placement in several hip-hop videos have helped establish it as a cool and desirable vehicle. Media reports have indicated sales approaching 10,000 per month and shortages developing. In fact, one account had rapper Snoop Dogg leaving a message for Chrysler chairman Dieter Zetsche saying, "What I gotta do to get that brand-new C outta you?".
The car is regulary featured in the ABC television series Desperate Housewives. A main character, Bree Van De Kamp owns a Chrysler. Herself and her son Andrew Van De Kamp drive the throughout the seacond season, but have never refered to it by name.
The new 300C, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Magnum all share the Chrysler LX platform, which features components derived from the discontinued Mercedes-Benz E-Class of 1996 to 2002. Such components include the suspension design, front seat frames, wiring harnesses, steering column, the 5-speed automatic's design, and a derivative of the 4-Matic all wheel drive system.
Some European versions will get a 4-wheel-drive version. The UK will probably not.
The 300C was the 2005 Motor Trend Car of the Year and was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 2005. It also won the North American Car of the Year and Canadian Car of the Year Best New Luxury Car awards.
Chrysler introduced a special SRT-8 version of the car at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2004. It includes a new 6.1 L Hemi which produces 425 hp (317 kW). It went on sale in February of 2005 and has a sticker price of US$42,695 as of 2006 plus the gas guzzler tax.