Is this the new 2012 Chrysler 300 with the V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission? Nope. Then maybe it’s the all-new Chrysler 300S, in either V-6 or V-8, with upgraded suspension and black chrome trim? Uh-uh. Well, is it the new 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury, with the ultra-premium leather and other touches, equaling the premier makes and models in its size class? And it’s not the uber-power Chrysler 300 SRT8? Nah. And nah. So it’s…just the ordinary 2012 Chrysler 300C, although with all-wheel drive, making it the 300C AWD.
Of course, with a base price of $40,820 and optioned up on our test model to $47,655, it’s not ordinary in the ordinary sense. If this is a garden variety 300C, the Chrysler 300C is a rather nice garden.
There’s a window sticker for our test 2012 Chrysler 300C AWD on page three of this review, so we won’t force feed a list of features here. But we’ll cherry pick a few, including heated and ventilated front seats plus heated back seats; Chrysler’s Uconnect system with a 8.4-inch touch screen and AM/FM/SAT/CD/MP3/SD card audio, Garmin navigation and rear view camera; heated, real-wood and leather steering wheel; memory for all the power stuff; heated and cooled front cupholders that really do heat and cool; rain sensitive wipers; bi-Xenon headlamps with the now-obligatory-for-premium LED driving lights in C-shapes around either headlamps cluster; and so on and so on as standard equipment.
Then add on the SafetyTec package, a $2,420 assemblage of front and rear park assist, adaptive headlights with automatic leveling, forward collision warning and much more. Again, see the window sticker. If almost a two and a half grand seems like a lot, that’s just another six percent and it is safety, after all.
On the other hand, audiophiles will revel in the 19 Premium Speakers package, which has—naturally enough—eighteen speakers and a subwoofer, a 900-watt amplifier. Alas, it deletes the power rear sunshade. Choices, choices. It’s $1,995. Enjoy your tunes. It’s better than the audio system in your house.
The third option package is simply a panoramic sunroof, the latest indulgence that dealers will no doubt put on the lot like neighbors put candy corn in Halloween trick-or-treat bags. Except that the dealer will ask $1,495 for the treat. If it is a treat. The tinting isn’t very dark and on any sunny day the screen will stay closed.
And, yes, of course, it has a Hemi. The 5.7-liter V-8 is at once archaic, with its pushrod valvetrain, and also advanced, with its “variable displacement” system that shuts off one bank of cylinders leaving the engine operating as a four when at light throttle on highway cruise. It’s a fuel saving thing.
Yet it’s hard to argue with the output of the 5.7-liter Hemi, 363 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque. With that, who needs multiple overhead cams? The Chrysler 300C with all-wheel drive is no lightweight, but the Hemi provides enthusiastic acceleration and a neat rumble that only a V-8 can make. Because the 300C is a luxury car, it’s subdued, but still there whether accelerating or on the overrun. At a constant speed on the highway, however, it’s the proverbial dormouse who, contrary to Grace Slick, says nothing at all.