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2015 Chrysler 300 Windy City Review

2015 Chrysler 300  (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Chrysler 300

2015 Chrysler 300 Sixty Years On

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Virgil Exner was a designer at Studebaker when he was hired away by Chrysler in 1949. Exner’s first work was as head of the advanced styling section.

2015 Chrysler 300  (select to view enlarged photo)

As Chrysler tells it, Exner revived Chrysler production car design with the sleek, sculptured Forward Look designs of 1955 that transformed the product line overnight. The Forward Look flagship was the 1955 Chrysler C-300, a striking automobile that combined smooth styling with brawny HEMI power. The C-300, arguably the first muscle car, became a legend on and off the race track and set records throughout the 1950s, including a 143-mph performance at Daytona Beach. 

And so began the Chrysler 300 "letter series" of high-performance luxury cars that were built from 1955 to 1965.

The 1957 Chrysler 300C was equipped with a standard 392-cubic-inch, 375-horsepower HEMI, two four-barrel carburetors, a high-output camshaft, Torsion-Aire suspension and the new Torqueflite transmission, making it the fastest, most powerful production car built in America that year and earning it the appellation “beautiful brute.”

2015 Chrysler 300  (select to view enlarged photo)

And now today, still from the Chrysler brand, I’m driving a new 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum model that features quilted Nappa leather, hand-sanded wood, ultra-premium Poltrona Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel and console, platinum-chrome exterior details and 20-inch wheels.

Sixty years ago the Chrysler C-300 came in a two-door hardtop body style. Later in 1957 a convertible was added with the 300C. Today the 300 is a large and roomy 4-door 5-passenger sedan. The engine is still mounted longitudinally up front and drive is through the rear wheels.

There’s still a Hemi engine available in the 300. The big Hemi 5.7-Liter V8 puts out 363 HP. Or, you can choose a more economical yet very powerful 292HP, 3.6-Liter V6 (300HP on the 300S). Both of these engines are still mated to a TorqueFlite automatic transmission. There is of course a huge difference in this new TorqueFlite compared to that of 1957. Now there are eight speeds to efficiently move you forward instead of the three speeds of the 1957 version.

2015 Chrysler 300  (select to view enlarged photo)

The lineup for 2015 has been revamped with four models now available: the 300 Limited priced at $31,395, the 300S at $34,895, the 300C at $37,895 and the top of the line 300C Platinum at $42,395. All have a $995 destination charge.

On the outside the 2015 Chrysler 300 features a new honeycomb mesh grille and LED lighting up front. It’s a much cleaner look with the Chrysler wing badge getting more visual prominence. The rear also gets new LED taillights and a restyled rear fascia. Inside, material quality has been upgraded, there’s a standard 7-inch full-color driver information display (DID), and a new three-spoke steering wheel. The eight-speed Torqueflite is now controlled by a rotary shifter; a knob in the center console that the driver rotates to select gear position. Long gone are the push buttons of the 1957 model, but it’s just as innovative.

2015 Chrysler 300  (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2015 300 has some new available safety features. You’ve heard of autonomous or self-driving cars no doubt. One new feature is Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus, which provides autonomous braking and, under certain circumstances, slows or brings the vehicle to a full stop when frontal collision appears imminent.

Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop helps maintain distance from the vehicle ahead and, under certain traffic conditions, the system can bring the new 2015 Chrysler 300 to full stop without driver intervention. And, new Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist introduces subtle steering-wheel input to alert the driver of inadvertent lane departure and assist with corrective action.

2015 Chrysler 300  (select to view enlarged photo)

I tried the Lane Keep Assist a number of times with my hand lightly on the steering wheel. As the 300 drifted over the lane marker stripes the system automatically steered the car back in. If I removed my hands completely after a short time a warning appeared telling me to hold the steering wheel. If I ignored this warning the system shut off, forcing me to take hold of the steering wheel.

The Chrysler 300C Platinum I was driving also was equipped with all-wheel-drive (AWD), which is offered only with the V6 engine. The Chrysler AWD has an active transfer case and front-axle-disconnect system to improve real-world fuel economy. Exclusive to Chrysler, this AWD system seamlessly transitions between RWD and AWD with no driver intervention. When AWD is not required, the system automatically disconnects the front axle to maximize fuel economy, while still providing the outstanding fun-to-drive performance and handling inherent in RWD vehicles.

Briefly on fuel economy, the V6 is the way to go with EPA test rating of 19 city mpg and 31 highway mpg for rear drive models. The V6’s 292HP is plenty for the average user. The Hemi V8 with 363 HP is almost overkill with the consequence of using more fuel.

2015 Chrysler 300  (select to view enlarged photo)

You can compare the Chrysler 300 to other large 4-door sedans right here on If you would like more information and detailed specifications and to see all the standard features as well as options on the entire 2015 Chrysler 300 model line they can be found a mouse click away at

My 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum AWD evaluation car had a base price of $44,895, $2500 more than a RWD model. With options and destination the total MSRP was $52,670. The safety features I mentioned are in an option package priced at $1695. The Harman Kardon Audio group with nineteen speakers cost $1995…$100 per speaker or so it might appear.

The Chrysler brand is the flagship of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the company formerly known as the Chrysler Corporation, and continues to carry the name of its founder from 1926.

New 300s started arriving in dealerships during the first quarter of this year.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy