Strengths and weaknesses:
- luxury appointments
Chrysler 300 S can run with the wild boys
"In a previous lifetime, this would be the type of car the “Big Boss” or other shady characters would drive."
In the words of my teenage daughter and her circle of friends, the 2012 Chrysler 300 S is “gangsta,” and that’s not in relation to the Beats by Dr. Dre sound system.
They may not actually use the word, but by the way they react to the very sight of it, you know they think it. It’s big; it’s jet black with shiny accents; the interior is pimped out in red leather. This is one bada$$ (insert Samuel L. Jackson expletive here!)
As further proof, I offer the looks I get when I pull up in front of the property manager’s office (“my co-worker asked me if it was the landlord?”), the way children stop playing and stare when it creeps to a halt at the curb, the way mothers snooping out of upper floor windows rush to street level to whisk the little children inside without a word, apparently anticipating that something bad is going to go down.
In a previous lifetime, this would be the type of car the “Big Boss” or other shady characters would drive (or be driven in) – I can see Joe Pesci or Robert De Niro having one of these in one of their many organized crime films. Even Kelsey Grammer (the new thug Kelsey, not the old analyst doofus from that bar comedy).
It kind of makes me feel omnipotent driving it, rather than the way most other Chrysler products just make me feel impotent.
And why not? It’s a brute of a car that does everything powerfully.
It gets 363 horsepower (and 394 lb.-ft. of torque) from the 5.7-litre Hemi V8, putting power to the rear wheels via a six-speed AutoStick automatic. Step on the right pedal and it goes fast quickly. Step on the left pedal and it stops quickly. Yank the steering wheel clockwise when it’s going quickly and you whack your noggin off the side glass.
You can get it with the wonderful Pentastar V6, and though I’d encourage that combination for fuel economy (considering it then also gets the new eight-speed automatic that is equally awesome), why bother? Go big or go home (insert Ray Liotta expletive here)!
And though the interior seems a tad too gaudy initially, with its red-light district leather accented with white stitching, you get to the point where you can’t picture anything but red on black for this car. It only adds to the “gangster” persona (not that that was what Chrysler was after, mind you).
It’s actually a stunning interior – with lots of shiny bits, a bit of polished-up wood and fake carbonfibre, lots of animal hide and probably the best blend of ambient and accent lighting in the biz. If you can’t get street cred in this car, you’re just too nerdy.
And it’s got cushy seats for four … five actually but what little (insert Al Pacino expletive here) would want to fit in the middle rear without anywhere to put his feet?
And just to suit any self-respecting mobster who takes care of his family above all else, the trunk is big enough to fit in couple weeks’ worth of groceries … or a couple wiseguys, I suppose.
And what patriotic racketeer wouldn’t want to support the local economy instead of buying over-priced European (insert James Gandolfini expletive here) and foresaking the unionized workforces in which stereotypical movie organized criminals love to invest?
Based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and priced from $33,000 (roughly $25,000 less than the cheapest E-Class), the Chrysler 300 is one of the best value big sedans in the market. Even our 300 S V8 comes in under $44,000 (as tested, starting at $39,995), though you can get a cheaper one with a V6 ($36,095) or a more expensive one with all wheel drive ($42,245).
Granted that’s not the best vehicular investment on the money-laundering scale, but it’s still a (insert Steve Buscemi expletive here) sweet ride.