From £29,480
Thirsty, but without the expected performance rewards. We'll wait for the diesel.

Our Verdict

Chrysler 300C

Can this reworked exec saloon take the fight to Europe’s finest?

  • First Drive

    Chrysler 300C

    The 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 Drive

    Chrysler 300C

    Still lacks a little polish next to the established rivals, but seriously competitive and likeable nonetheless
3 December 2005

What’s new?

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.

Chas Hallett

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