The 2011 Chrysler 300 will make its official debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month, January, but official photos of the car have just been released. The manufacturer is keeping mum on specifications for the car, but we can expect the updates received by the Dodge Charger to carry over to this Chrysler, which shares the same platform.
Most noticeable from the photos is an interior that looks a lot like the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s and will likely match the Dodge Charger’s level of fit and finish. The overall shape of the 300 is easily recognizable, although it looks as if every panel has been changed. It’s lost some of its sharp edges and square flanks, and a windshield that has been raked rearward gives the car a sleeker profile and better forward visibility. Fender flares and headlamps seem to be gleaned from the Mercedes-Benz style guide. Oddly enough, during a behind-the-scenes preview at the Chrysler design center two years ago, I wrote in my notebook that the early renderings of the 300 looked like an S-Class. Tastes are subjective, but I think the new 300 is an improvement over the past generation’s blocky styling.
Mechanically, there are sure to be many refinements. Although an 8-speed automatic is destined for the car, it likely won’t be available until the 2012 model year. For now, the 5-speed automatic of the past models will carry over, mated to the same 5.7-liter V-8 with 370 horsepower or the all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with 292 bhp. We can only theorize that an SRT8 variant will eventually arrive, powered by the new 392 Hemi of the Challenger.
From behind the wheel, expect this new 2011 Chrysler 300 to drive like the new Dodge Charger, thanks to revised suspension geometry, bushing changes and a quicker steering ratio. As before, one of the 300’s best characteristics is that it’s a rear-driver going against predominantly front-drive competition. Let’s hope Chrysler doesn’t raise the price…