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Driven: Chrysler 300C 5.7 litre Hemi - on sale now


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Chrysler is looking to move upmarket in the UK, and the 300C is to spearhead that aspiration.

It has modest sales targets – 2,700 this year, of which around 270 will be the 5.7-litre V8 Hemi.

But far more important to Chrysler is the expected boost in profile and image with car buyers. The company claims 300C was designed with performance and quality in mind, but recognises that it is competing against established German rivals and has loaded the car with equipment.

For the £32,995 Hemi, buyers get satnav, seven-speaker sound system and walnut wood accents – worth, says Chrysler, £3,175.

Rivals like the Audi A6 4.2, BMW 550i and Mercedes E500 cost upwards of £42,000 for less spec, although it should be noted that while each has lower peak torque and, bar the BMW, lower peak power, they are quicker in a straight line sprint and in-gear. Why? Weight: the Hemi tips the scales at 1,910kg, more than 150kg than the others.

Shifting that amount of metal around twisty roads seriously impacts on hand-ling, and body roll can become an issue. It also affects fuel efficiency, with the 5.7-litre V8 officially consuming 23.3mpg (we actually achieved 22mpg, although the on-board computer claimed 19.4mpg).

The other issue relating to weight is braking: the ventilated brakes are not sharp enough to bring the heavy car to an unruffled halt. They need to be stood on for any real effect, and then it feels like parachutes have been released from the rear.

But the 300C does have a lot of positives. It’s extremely spacious for five passengers, has a gargantuan boot and is an excellent cruiser with a pliant suspension.

With its head-turning, aggressive looks and equipment levels, the 300C should win Chrysler new buyers.

Strengths: Good cruiser, comfy, easy drive, spacious
Weaknesses: Low residuals, poor brakes
Opportunity: Raise UK image/profile
Threat: Established German rivals
The USP: An executive car with attitude
Price: £32,995
Engine: 5.7-litre V8, 340bhp@5,000rpm; 387lb ft@4,000rpm
Transmission: 5sp auto
Performance: 0-62mph 6.4s; top speed 155mph
Efficiency: 23.3mpg comb; 287g/km CO2
Cap RV 3yr/30k: 29% (£9,450)
Rivals: Mercedes E-class, Lexus GS, BMW 5-series, Cadillac CTS

First drive: Chrysler 300C

Revitalised Chrysler is giving most of Britain’s business car segment a wide berth with its new 300C executive model, which went on sale in mid-June.

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