2013 Chrysler 300 Motown review: Motown to no town

2013 Chrysler 300 Motown

2013 Chrysler 300 Motown

Brutish good looks, our 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown, all dressed up in a white tuxedo and no place to go. At least not with Dr. Dre, whoever he is. Instead, we’re deep in Pennsylvania farm country and an Amish farmer rides by in his one-horse black buggy and would think, those foolish English with both camera and flashy automobile, except that the Amish would be too polite ever to think that.

Indeed, the Bright White 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown limited edition, inspired by Motown sound originator Berry Gordy, is the polar opposite of what one might expect in rural Pennsylvania where, if not a horse and buggy with no sound system other than a patient clip-clop from a single horse, one might expect Toby Keith, Taylor Swift  or Kenny Chesney playing in the cab of a Ram 1500 pickup, rather than Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Supremes   or the Temptations—the Chrysler 300 Motown comes with 100 tracks from original Motown recording artists loaded on a USB memory stick— in  a well-dressed Chrysler 300.

2013 Chrysler 300 Motown dash

The 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown has a black and white theme. (click to enlarge)

Yet here we are.

But why not? There’s nothing about the bright chrome accents and a unique Mopar bright chrome grille that wouldn’t play in the country, although the Motown badges on the fenders are certainly an anomaly. And the 20-inch polished “heritage” design aluminum wheels? That buggy had bigger, though not at all shiny.

The Pearl White Nappa leather seats unique to the Motown 300, with black stripes and black piping contrast with a black interior treatment that includes piano black on the center stack, instrument panel, steering wheel, gauge cluster and door panel pieces, along with Black Olive Ash wood trim and satin silver finished accents. Ah, not exactly rural ready. We wouldn’t want to try to keep that white leather all pearly down on the farm.

2013 Chrysler 300 Motown logo

A 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown logo is placed on the front fenders. (click to enlarge)

How’s this? Chrysler wants  “the soul of Motown can be heard and felt,” emphasis added,  so to deliver “a sound experience as the artist intended, the segment-exclusive 10-speaker Beats Audio system with 12-channel amplifier and proprietary Beats Audio algorithm is also available.” The Motown package is just that, a $3,000 group of features atop the standard Chrysler 300, but a special $1,695 Motown Power and Sound option includes a Beats audio system with ten premium speakers including a subwoofer, along with a 552-watt 12-channel amplifier and proprietary Beats Audio algorithm. Motown? Definitely. Toby Keith? Why not?

2013 Chrysler 300 Motown back seat

The back seat of the 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown has the same black and white leather upholstery as the front. (click to enlarge)

The 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown is powered exclusively by the Chrysler Groups ubiquitous 3.6-liter V-6 used in everything from the Dodge Grand Caravan to the Jeep Wrangler—and not the V-6 in the Chrysler 300C, but the V-6 has more power than it should and performs even better. Tuned to make 292 horsepower for the 300, the 3.6 makes a smooth mechanical sound as it accelerates, and it has plenty of gumption for merging on freeway entrance ramp or dodging semis out on the Interstate.

The V-6 comes with an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, exclusive for this segment, and it has a BMW-like shift pattern, tipping to drive or reverse and then returning to a central default system. It takes a bit of acclimatization to work it correctly. It took us several tries to get the transmission in the right spot, and it requires brake application to go from neutral to drive, a challenge when coming out of our local car wash. And yes, that white exterior will require frequent washing if driven on a gravel road very often. At least the Touring suspension is as smooth on country roads as Detroit streets.