IT was somehow appropriate but rather bizarre that the huge new all American Chrysler 300C should be launched in the UK under the wings of one of the worlds largest aircraft the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress with its eight jet engines which takes pride of place in the American section of the Imperial War Museum at Duxford writes Bryan Longworth.
For Chrysler chose to hold the Press launch presentation under the big Boeing and then use the remote country roads around the museum once a Second World War air base in Cambridgeshire and the M11 motorway for road testing the latest iconic 300C.
The new 300c which is available in two models, Limited and Executive, priced at £35,995 and £39,995 respectively is instantly recognisable but it is new in every respect and is larger and sleeker than the model it has replaced.
It is also available with just one engine an all new 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel built by VM Motori and developed by Fiat who now own Chrysler which made its UK debut in the new Jeep Grand Cherokee last year with a five speed automatic gearbox.
This 176bhp power unit provides the car with a top speed of 144mph and a zero to 62mph time of 7.4 seconds with a combined fuel consumption of nearly 40mpg and CO2 emissions of 191g/km.
The Limited model has a high level of standard equipment including leather seats heated front and rear and a heated steering wheel while the Executive has 20 inch alloy wheels, forward collision warning system and blind spot monitoring system.
There is a quality interior with the seats clad in Nappa leather with real wood inserts around the instrument panel and I liked the vehicle information centre which provides a mass of details.
I thought the 300C which has a massive boot looked much better with light coloured paintwork that provides it with more street appeal as do the big 20 inch alloy wheels and which are really a must on such a car.
The new 300C has very precise steering and its handling on the fast Cambridgeshire country roads was impressive but I preferred driving it on the motorway where it is a perfect long distance cruiser and would be ideal for example for a trip to the South of France!
For on some of the more uneven rural roads the car tended to wallow a bit because of its size which was the reason why it seemed to be at its best on the smoother main roads and on the M11.
As with the previous 300C it is anticipated that the vast majority of owners will spend another £400 or so on buying an optional Bentley style grille for the front of the car to give it even more presence which begs the question as to why Chrysler do not provide it as a standard fit on all new models.
The new 300C is a car for those owners who want something different from other premium saloons such as those produced by the three quality car makers from Germany and they will not be disappointed.
My Verdict: A very stylish American automobile.
Model: New Chrysler 300C.
Engine: 3.0-litre turbo charged V6 diesel.
Transmission: Five speed automatic with manual function.
Top speed: 144mph.
Accceleration: 0 to 62mph 7.4 seconds.
Fuel consumption: Combined nearly 40mpg.
CO2 emissions: 191g/km.
Price: Limited £35,995, Executive £39,995.