S Is For "Sinister": The 2016 Chrysler 300S

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Chrysler 300S
The 2016 Chrysler 300S.
It was a trick first learned decades ago, most likely by hot-rodders.  The right tires, wheels and trim can make a four-door sedan---well, some four-door sedans---look like a race car.

Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Chrysler 300S
2016 Chrysler 300S.
The effect is amplified on a car that already has a performance reputation, as do at least some trim models of the Chrysler 300.  And this year's 300S model is really all about appearances, with blacked-out accents other 300 models do not have, 20-inch Hyper Black finish wheels, sculpted side sills, and a unique decklid spoiler.  

Under the hood is the same 3.6-liter V6 found in a base 300 Limited, tuned to deliver 300 horsepower rather than the Limited's 292, with an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.  That is by no means a puny powerplant, but you can trade up, as Chrysler's press fleet did with our test vehicle.  The $35,470 base price took an immediate $3,000 leap with the subsitution of the 5.7-liter, 363-horsepower Hemi V8 we enjoyed so much in last summer's review of the 2015 Chrysler 300C.  EPA fuel economy estimates drop from 19 city/31 highway to 16 city/25 highway with that swap, but what enthusiasts call the "smile per mile" estimate goes up in compensation.

2016 Chrysler 300S interior.
There were other bumps to the price tag as well:

  • 300S Premium Group (dual-pane panoramic sunroof, power auto-dimming multi-function mirrors with built-in turn signals and courtesy lamps, GPS navigation, ParkSense front/rear parking assist, blind spot and cross path detection, and an upgraded audio system with HD Radio): $3,295.
  • Upgraded performance tires and suspension: $95
Along with the $995 destination charge, our as-tested price came to $42,855.  That's roughly $3,500 less than the 300C Platinum from last summer, with all the performance and a much more menacing look.