Muscles In A Tuxedo: The 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum

2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum front view
The 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum.
In the ten years the Chrysler 300C has been with us (in this incarnation), there have been endless comparisons to Bentley. Most of it was prompted by the simple visual of a big grille with a large winged badge on it. Others had to do with the smooth yet substantial shape and wide, determined stance of the 300C, which had more than a passing resemblance to the Bentley Flying Spur sedan introduced the year before.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Chrysler 300C
2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum.
While there are enormous differences between a Flying Spur and a 300C, there is one valid comparison.  Not counting the years when it was simply a Rolls-Royce with a different radiator and a slightly lower price tag, Bentleys have been what were known at one time as a "gentleman's express"---very powerful, capable machines that strove for high levels of both luxury and performance.

In an American sense, and to the degree that a $42,395 car can attain any of the attributes of a $203,725 automobile, the description fits the Chrysler 300C Platinum.  It is an American muscle car that has been to finishing school, can attend the opera without attracting attention to itself and knows which fork to use.

Under the hood is a 292-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, but for an additional $3,000 our test vehicle came with the same 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that powers the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T we reviewed two weeks ago. It produces seven fewer horsepower in the Chrysler, but 363 is still a substantial number. It has the same 8-speed automatic transmission and gets the same EPA-estimated 16 miles per gallon city and 25 miles per gallon highway.

Twins under the skin, it is execution and refinement that separates the 300C Platinum from the Charger R/T and justifies the $8,800 base price ($11,800 with the Hemi) difference.

Interior view of 2015 Chrysler 300C
2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum interior.
The interior of the 300C Platinum is a considerably more upscale environment in which to go fast than that of the Charger. The two-tone treatment you see above is a no-cost option.  Our test vehicle's interior did not have it.

Standard features include dual-zone climate control, a UConnect AM/FM/HD/SiriusXM audio system with SiriusXM TravelLink and SiriusXM Traffic, an SD/USB/Aux media hub, navigation with an 8.4-inch color touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and paddle shifters, a heated steering wheel, power 8-way heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, memory for the radio, driver's seat and mirrors, illuminated front cup holders, which can be heated or cooled, and a rotary shift knob (an idea stolen from Jaguar that strikes us as too gimmicky).

20-inch polished aluminum wheels, all-season performance tires, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, automatic bi-function halogen projector headlamps, dedicated daytime running lamps, LED fog lamps, chrome LED taillamps and dual rear exhaus with bright tips are also standard.

Apart from the engine upgrade, which also brings a 160-mile per hour speedometer, the test vehicle came without options and left us wanting nothing.  With $995 destination charge, the as-tested price was $46,390.

While the 300C is in some ways a throwback to the days of full-size American cars with serious power---and those days were half a century ago---it is by no means a dinosaur.  It is an unapologetic and beautifully balanced blend of American luxury and American muscle at a price point that, while not cheap, is a strong value.