With the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier (September 14), Chrysler unveiled a swan song edition of the venerable 300 that revives the 300C moniker.
One of only two models to still wear the Chrysler badge, the other being the best-selling Pacifica minivan, the outgoing 300, which only carried the 300C nomenclature outside North America regardless of engine variant, also ends the wing Brand-to-brand dependence on Mercedes technology -Benz that comes from the DaimlerChrysler era, the 300 was conceived back in 2005.
Although the current second generation dates back to 2011, it still uses the underpinnings of the vintage W211 E-Class, which ceased production in 2009, although there have been several revisions since then.
READ ALSO: FCA-PSA Merger Official
Last updated in 2015, the latest facelift applies exclusively to the returning 300C, which will go out of production late next year along with the rest of the 300 range for good.
The likely replacement, according to Stellantis’ ten-year plan for all its brands presented by CEO Carlos Tavares after the merger of PSA Group and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) last year, is expected around 2025 or 2026, using an all-electric powertrain and is based on one of the new STLA platforms.
The 300C’s unique visual touches are more than just looks, with 20-inch forged alloy wheels, a tri-color 300C badge in the upper right-hand corner of the blacked-out grille, a new gloss black trunk lid spoiler and black chrome exterior details.
Finishing off the exterior are blacked-out headlights and taillights and a choice of three colors; Bright white, glossy black and velvety red.
Inside, the understated touches continue in the form of piano black keys and carbon fiber inserts, Laguna Black leather seats with 300C embroidered front headrests and silver stitching on the dashboard, doors and seats themselves.
Notable standard specs include an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, heated and cooled front seats, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and a heated steering wheel.
In terms of safety and driver assistance, the existing suite of technologies is complemented by autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and forward collision warning.
Bolstered under the skin by a new active exhaust system, active dampers, a new limited-slip differential and Brembo brakes, the main drawcard remains the naturally aspirated 6.4 Hemi V8, which will also be phased out when production ends in 2023.
Carried over from the long-discontinued 300C SRT, the unit has been retuned from 351kW/637Nm to 492kW/644Nm, sent to the rear wheels via a recalibrated version of the existing eight-speed automatic gearbox.
According to Chrysler, the 300C will sprint from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 258 km/h, figures nearly identical to the SRT’s despite the increased power and torque.
Available to order now, but limited to 2,000 units, the starting price is $55,000 (R961,664), with a further 200 examples destined for Canada.
Unsurprisingly, the 300C would not return to South Africa following the recall of the Chrysler and Dodge brands by the then FCA South Africa five years ago.