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by James Stanford

The Chrysler 300C has had its prices reduced and range extended for the second iteration of the bold-looking American sedan as the US brand looks to overcome its struggle in the Australian market.

The company has lowered 300C prices across the board and introduced a new entry level model for a new starting price of just $43,000, $10,000 less than the starting price of the first 300C introduced locally in 2005.

The monster SRT8 variant now costs $66,000, posing a more serious threat to local V8 muscle cars from the likes of HSV and FPV. This is a significant shift from the $71,990 price attached to the first generation.

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Chrysler’s new 300C arrives at a time when the brand has sold a pitiful 51 cars so far in 2012, not helped by a line-up that otherwise only includes the diesel-only Grand Voyager people-mover.

Three engines feature across the Chrysler 300 range, a six-cylinder petrol, six-cylinder turbo diesel and the big daddy 6.4-litre V8 powering the SRT8 – the same engine in the rip-snorting Grand Cherokee SRT8 due here later this year.

The old 5.7-litre V8 300C, which previously sat below the SRT8, is missing from the range. CarAdvice understands another V8 300 will be added to the local line-up next year, positioned as a more affordable V8 alternative to the flagship SRT8.

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Chrysler is using the new Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 in the 300 generating 210kW of power and 340Nm of torque. It’s linked up to the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, which is now used in everything from luxury European limos to the Volkswagen Amarok ute.

The diesel option is a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel from VM Motori, which makes 176kW and 550Nm. Chrysler says that is too much torque for ZF eight-speed, so the diesel has to make do with a five-speed automatic transmission.

The SRT8’s monster 6.4-litre V8 belts out 347kW and 631Nm. No official 0-100km/h time has been provided but it did record a 5.0 second dash at this week’s national launch, in the wet. It also makes do with a five-speed automatic transmission, which can be controlled with steering wheel mounted paddles.

The new $43,000 entry-level V6 petrol 300 Limited, note the C is reserved for more luxurious models, comes with a reasonable degree of standard equipment. It does miss out on leather seats though, a glaring omission for a car like this.

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Standard gear includes air conditioning, cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, an 8.4-inch information touch screen, Bluetooth phone connectivity, keyless entry and start, Xenon headlights and daytime LED running lights.

Standard safety includes seven airbags (including full length curtain airbags), electronic stability control, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and a pop-up pedestrian safety bonnet. The 300 Limited is available with the diesel engine for $48,000.

Stepping up to the $46,500 300C sees the addition of leather seats with heating and ventilation function, dynamic headlights, heated steering wheel, satellite navigation, a premium sound system, automatic wipers and heated and chilled cup holders. The 300C diesel version comes in at $51,000.

The 300C Luxury is next up the model tree and it gains 20-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel paddles, upgraded seats (with more electrically controlled functions), chrome treatment for the grille and wing mirrors, woodgrain, a 10-speaker sound system and adaptive cruise control.

This is not as advanced as many adaptive cruise systems in that it cuts out at 40km/h. And while it does warn the driver of an impending collision the system doesn’t actually brake the vehicle as many new systems do. The 300C Luxury costs $51,500 with the petrol V6 and $56,000 for the diesel.

The $66,000 SRT8 has been fitted with four piston Brembo brakes for the front and rear, two-stage shock absorbers, 20-inch alloys, a body kit with boot-mounted rear spoiler, carbonfibre interior trim elements, leather sports seats and leather trim for the doors, centre console and instrument cluster. A Harmon/Kardon 19-speaker sound system and telemetry-focused centre screen that tracks everything from g-forces to acceleration times is also included.


Chrysler 300 pricing:

300 Limited V6 petrol – $43,000
300 Limited V6 diesel – $48,000
300C V6 petrol – $46,500
300C V6 diesel – $51,500
300C Luxury petrol – $51,000
300C Luxury diesel – $56,000
300 SRT8 – $66,000




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