There will be no estate version of the all-new Chrysler 300C according to new Chrysler-Lancia CEO Saad Chehab. The 300C wagon was popular in UK and Europe but Chehab stated that “sales in the US for estates are too slow to justify the development costs.”
However, Chehab did confirm that “there will be an all-wheel drive Chrysler 300C joining the line-up in the UK, complete with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.” Accordinging to Chehab, the four-wheel drive system is an improved version of a system already in use in Chrysler/Jeep.
The new Chrysler 300C competes in the large executive saloon market and is the halo model for the new Chrysler-Lancia union. It is due to go on sale in spring 2012 with a five-speed automatic gearbox, rear wheel drive and the option of either 187bhp or 236bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel motors. A ZF eight-speed auto will replace the five-speed ‘box later in 2012 on rear-wheel drive, and will bring with it the all-wheel drive model.
When asked whether there would be a V8 model to follow on from the 300C SRT8, Chehab stated that “anything is possible,” but senior sources suggested that a high-powered version of the V6 petrol motor going on sale in mainland Europe but not in the UK would be more likely.
The Chrysler 300C is a hugely important project for the Lancia-Chrysler brands (it will be badged the Lancia Thema on mainland Europe), and is said to have cost one billion US dollars over its eighteen-month development. The company maintains that it offers a “high-value, sophisticated alternative without the arrogance of the established rivals.”
It will be available in three trim levels and should start at around £35,000 when it arrives in the UK next year.