Affordable luxury is hard to come by, which is part of what puts Chrysler in a good position with the beloved Chrysler 300, which you can find at your local Chrysler dealer. First of all, let’s talk a little bit about the Chrysler 300 and all its many variations. It’s important to note that there are two different model labels at play here––the Chrysler 300 and the Chrysler 300C. We want to avoid confusion by letting you know that these two labels are technically the same model, just different versions. Both historically and today, the 300C is typically the more lavish and powerful option with more design additions and standard features.
From the Chrysler 300’s start to finish, you’ll see other additions to its name, like the “300S” and the “SR8T” as well. These different labels are all just different takes and angles on an already excellent luxury sedan. Like a Jeep Wrangler comes in Rubicon, Sport, and Sahara trims, and a 4xe model, the Chrysler 300’s differing labels are just there to mark specific features and perks. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at this model’s impressive past and how it got to where it is today.
The 300’s various trim variations didn’t exactly happen right off the bat. While it seems safe to assume that the “Chrysler 300” is the basis for all other variations, that’s historically not the case. Technically speaking, the Chrysler 300C was the first 300 series car to hit the road.
The luxury car market was first blessed with the Chrysler 300C series in 1957, back when optional air conditioning, which the 300C had, was considered an advancement. It’s safe to say that this car was much different than the models that succeeded it. The 1957 300C was only a two-door model with both convertible and hardtop options that could carry up to six people on two bench seats, with optional front bucket seats. One feature that did remain similar to the modern-day 300C is the 392 V8 HEMI engine, of course. But unlike newer models, the 1957 300C’s engine was paired with a three-speed transmission.
Don’t let the luxury label fool you here. The original Chrysler 300 could pack a mean punch for those who purchased the rare high-output edition. Only 18 of these powerful models were ever made, and we now know that they could reach 390 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. The OG 300C could be adjusted to tackle the drag strips, too. To top it all off, this model was (and still is) very easy on the eyes, with a sleek design that every classic car lover can appreciate.
Thought you were already confused by all the Chrysler 300 letter variations? You might want to sit down for this one. Chrysler tried their hand at the 300C again from its 1957 debut all the way through the early 1970s under something called “The Letter Series,” producing Chrysler 300 models that include a new letter for each new year. For example, the Chrysler 300B, 300F, 300L, and many others were all part of this series. The “non-letter” series continued shortly after, but the Letter Series died, and the 300 series ceased production altogether for several years after the early 1970s.
Nostalgia We Can Almost All Understand
Most of us likely remember the Chrysler 300 series as a new model that was released in 2004. That’s partially true since the model disappeared for multiple decades, but this revamped version came with many updates and changes. In fact, the 2004 Chrysler 300C was more inspired by a 1998 concept car called the Chrysler Chronos. This concept car looked a bit too much like a spaceship and not enough like a powerful muscle car. So, the designers took the good parts of the Chronos and added their own flare to the 300C to create the 2004 Chrysler 300C––a rebirthed version of an OG name. We’ve seen this car on the streets, in movies, and in video games since its debut. This third-generation (2005 to 2010) lineup really framed the Chrysler 300 and 300C as we know it today––a luxury-level muscle sedan with a wide front grille and large body frame.
Just like the original 300C, this new version had its own high-performance variant, but this time it wasn’t limited to just 18 models. The 2005-2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8 came with a standard V8 HEMI engine that produced up to 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This model included a green-on-black LCD dash panel with G-meter monitoring and white instrument dials, plus bucket seating, made specifically with racers and speed enthusiasts in mind. Hence, the most likely reason why the Chrysler 300 was so frequently seen in street racing games, from Need for Speed to Midnight Club and Forza.
The Modern Day Chrysler 300
The second generation of the Chrysler 300 started in 2011 and still continues to the present; however, the brand dropped the 300C model for the 2021 model year. The 2022 Chrysler 300 comes in four different trim levels––the Touring, Touring L, 300S V6, and 300S V8 options. Lower-level trims offer the best fuel-efficiency ratings, while the 300S has the most power thanks to its standard V8 engine. But let’s keep in mind that these are modern, luxury vehicles, so it’s not all about the performance specs. The 2022 300 models come with up to eight different interior seating material colours and materials, 43 to 50-cm wheel options in four different designs, and paddle shifters. The dual pane panoramic sunroof and Alpine speaker system really make the driver feel like they’re in the lap of luxury. These models also offer a 461.5 L best-in-class interior space rating and a 10.3 L/100 km combined fuel economy rating.
Going Out in Style: The 2023 Chrysler 300C
While it appeared that Chrysler had abandoned the fan-favourite, high-end 300C, a recent announcement showed that the brand actually gave the 300C special attention by making it the exclusive Chrysler 300 model for the 2023 model year before the discontinuation of the 300 line. This is where the real power comes into play. The 2023 Chrysler 300C maintains a whopping 485 horsepower rating and can go from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds.
In comparison, the regular 2022 Chrysler 300 maxes out at 363 horsepower and hits 0 to 60 in 6 seconds. This is still impressive and is a best-in-class horsepower rating, but not nearly as powerful as the 2023 300C. Plus, the regular 2022 Chrysler 300 only achieves this with the available V8 engine, while the 300C comes with a standard V8 engine. The new 300C comes with several other racing-specific features, like Four-Piston Brembo Brakes with red callipers, active exhaust and active damping systems, and a 3.09 limited slip differential.
The Chrysler 300C is available for Spring 2023. If you’re going to score one of these beasts, you’re going to have to track one down at a Chrysler dealership, as pre-orders have already maxed out and closed. If you already own one and you’re here just to validate your obsession, congrats! You’ve got the most powerful modern Chrysler 300 model available.