Chrysler 300S: ‘Unflinching performance’
By Stephen Groessel
The 2012 Chrysler 300S

If you want the experience of motoring in a 300S/AWD Chrysler, be prepared for a driving machine that unveils “unflinching performance.”

Compliments of Central Garage, Chilton, I enjoyed driving a 300/AWD Chrysler endowed with a 5.7 Liter v8 HEMI @MDS VVT engine. It was equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission. This engine delivers 363 horsepower and a 394 lb-ft of torque.

An alternative engine is the 3.6 liter DOHC VVT Pentastar® v6 engine, delivering 262 horsepower, 260 lb-ft of torque and a 2012 EPA estimated 18 city/27 highway mpg with the standard five-speed AutoStick transmission and a city fuel economy of 19 city/31 highway with the available eight-speed transmission. This transmission provides greater fuel efficiency with full-power performance and is standard on the Limited, 300S V6. Available on 300 and 300S, drivers can navigate gears via the new steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which provide clutchless manual shifting.

With the HEMI® v8 engine power one had the feel that if accelerated on an airport runway the vehicle could simulate a Boeing 727 taking off. The thrust and forward advance happened without any shakiness. It is a comfortable, tight ride, as solid and smooth as one would ever imagine and want. Under less than ideal conditions, such as wet or slippery pavement, the car’s traction control and electronic stabilitrack program kicks in to make it a safer ride.

The tungsten metallic clear coat vehicle which I drove was a 300S, the sporty version of the 300 Chrysler. It had a black interior with luxury leather-trimmed bucket seats. The car’s sticker told me the annual estimated fuel cost would be about $3,211. Armed with an engine of considerable power, the miles per gallon in city driving are estimated at 15 mpg and on the highway only 23 mpg. But it must be said that a Fuel Saver Technology allows the engine to seamlessly switch from eight cylinders to four during crusing, providing a combination of power and value.

But fuel economy aside, and while the price tag of the vehicle at $47,000 is not for the faint of heart, the owner of a Chrysler 300S is getting a lot of quality automobile.

The cabin comforts and conveniences range from the steering wheel to the instrument panel. Many of the controls mounted on the front and rear of the steering wheel can be controlled by the driver with finger-tip ease, while those on the instrumental cluster can be viewed without undue distraction. Voice Command and Unconnect® controls are also available.

A new driver interactive color display in the instrument cluster relies on a sophisticated system allowing the driver to select and personalize settings and view fuel economy, average distance to empty, temperature and tire pressure from steering wheel control buttons. Cruise control and Adaptive Cruise Control buttons (setting the preferred distance from the car ahead) are also conveniently located on the steering wheel.

The Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Warning is an available system that uses a radar sensor mounted at the front of the 300 to detect objects in its path. When slower traffic is detected, your speed is automatically adjusted to allow a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. The Forward Collision Warning conveys an audible warning if the driver is approaching an object too fast, allowing the driver to take evasive action.

When viewing instrumental panel gauges, LED backlight illumination and needles provide the driver with exceptional clarity.

The car, equipped with multilink suspension, has superior handling qualities. I took a route that included smooth roadway, and roads with bumpy surfaces and roads intersected by railroad tracks and in every case road surface contact and cornering were relatively smooth experiences and road noise was minimal.

When wheel slip is detected, the car’s all-wheel drive system becomes engaged. A seamless transition occurs between rear-wheel drive and all wheel drive with no driver interaction.

The car’s Electronic Stability Control and four wheel antilock brake system are safety features that provides increased braking pressure when a panic braking event is occurring under extreme braking and/or slippery conditions.

Other available safety features include a backup camera that shows a wide-angle view on the navigation screen of the area behind the vehicle. A blind spot monitoring system alerts the driver when a vehicle is in one’s blind spot.

Besides the 300S trim, other trims available are the 300, the 300 Limited, the 300C, the 300 Luxury Series and the 300 SRT8.

For more information or to perform a test drive on the Chrysler 300, call 849-9301 (or) toll free, 1-800-234-3664, (or) visit www.vandebran.com.