Thursday, July 7, 2016

'Baby Bentley' satisfies with Hemi V-8 power

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo reviews of the latest motor vehicle models also can be seen on The Sacramento Bee’s website at

This review first appeared in the June 2016 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California In some circles, the Chrysler 300 is known as the “Baby Bentley.”

For starters, the grille of the big-shouldered 300 sedan resembles what you’ll find on some high-class Bentley models.  It’s in the recently tested 2016 Chrysler 300C Premium, however, that you get the full near-Bentley experience.

My ride, with a base price of $42,445 and plenty of extras pushing the bottom line on the sticker to $51,430, was dressed up with flashy perks that you don’t see even in name-brand luxury rides.  That includes the front-center console cupholders that will heat or cool your drink at the push of a button.  Yes, I’m serious.

And then there’s the 900-watt, premium Harman Kardon audio system with NINETEEN speakers.  The steering wheel is heated.  There’s a rotary shifter.

You get the idea.  Unique and luxo to the max.

But the true Bentley experience in the tester was the presence of a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine under the hood.   This hits the performance hot spot.

With the 363-horsepower Hemi, the 300C loses any trace of bulky sluggishness.  Accelerations are crisp and strong.  On-the-fly lane changes are executed without strain.  Uphill runs are swift, invigorating climbs.

The Hemi drove the 300C with so much authority that I sometimes asked myself, “Am I driving this big hunk of sedan too fast for my capabilities?”  Maybe.

Naturally, there’s a price to pay for the performance.  Fuel mileage comes in at only 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.  I admit without shame that I didn’t care.  I was having way too much fun aggressively putting the 300C through its paces to worry about gas mileage.

While the performance rush is satisfying, the 300C’s numerous comforts are smile-inducing.

The roomy interior cabin is functional and quiet.  There’s plenty to keep you busy, and it’s all within easy reach of the driver’s seat.  Nothing like deciding to heat up your coffee in the front driver cupholder while cruising down the highway.  This must be how the other half lives.

And you can feel secure in knowing that the driving enhancement/safety features in the 300C are state of the art.  My package of extras included automatic high-beam headlamp control, blind-spot detection, a collision-warning system, adaptive cruise control and brake-assist.

I should add that the four-wheel disc brakes were top-tier stoppers.

I’ve liked the Chrysler 300 for some time, throughout its multiple variations.  I seriously recommend it with the Hemi V-8.  The 300 is a fine, upper-level sedan as is.  With the Hemi V-8 thrown in, it’s a performance-loaded every day driver that satisfies the need for speed.

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