Diesel version makes much more sense than thirsty V8
5.7 V8 has charisma, but isn't worth the extra costs it brings
300C is big and comfortable, if a little left-field
Gangster looks should go down well in the city centre
We averaged just 12mpg from Hemi V8
Cabin quality improved for right-hand-drive versions
Huge boot makes 300C practical
First DriveThe new Chrysler 300C is the sister car of the Lancia Thema, and continues to offer a unique charm, even if its detailing fails to match the class best
First DriveStill lacks a little polish next to the established rivals, but seriously competitive and likeable nonetheless
We have already tested the petrol V6-powered 300C in right-hand-drive form; this time round the range-topping V8 version is under the microscope on British roads.
As most of the 300Cs sold here will be diesels, this is the best way of getting a real taste of Detroit in the UK. It’s the same whopping 340bhp 5.7-litre HEMI engine fitted to a wealth of Chrysler’s American models.
Like the rest of the new Euro-focused 300C range it also majors on value, with sat-nav, electric leather seats and a posh sound system all bundled in for a shade under £33k.
What’s it like?
Frankly, not as impressive as the lesser models. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s packing 340bhp and the sort of character you might expect from a HEMI eight is missing. Yet it still only averaged 12mpg in our hands, including plenty of motorway cruising.
But it is refined, comfortable and spacious — even if it suffers the same wooden ride and lack of agility of the other members of the range. At least it feels well constructed and is likeable even compared to European execs.
Should I buy one?
We’d definitely look at the diesel version for its value, looks and character. But the running costs for the HEMI will be punitive and the small performance advantage just isn’t worth it.