Here’s a benefit to having some well-off Italian friends in your hip pocket:
When you need some unique high-end items to include in your new luxury car, all you have to do is call.
Such is the case for Chrysler and its new stablemates Maserati and Alfa Romeo.
In the past, Chrysler’s attempts at luxury have fallen well short of competing American brands Lincoln and Cadillac. Now that FIAT can assist in injecting some Italian flair into American luxury, Chrysler might have a fighting chance at capturing some luxo-barge buyers. While the path of evolving Chrysler into a full-blown luxury brand will be a slow one, the new Chrysler 300 Luxury Series could be the car that begins to change the brand’s perception.
Up until now, Auburn Hills marketers were forced to do their best with what they had. Because, let’s be honest here, the finishing materials in Chrysler cars have never been on the same level as Audi’s. The leather, the wood trim, the chrome bits… all acceptable, but not astounding. Now, though, Chrysler can market its top-quality Poltrona Frau leather (as found in Maserati and top-of-the-line Alfa Romeo models) and hand-sanded wood trim sent over from Italy. That has a nice ring to it, no? Looks pretty good, too.
The new-for-2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series also features “platinum-chrome” trim on the grille, door mirrors and handles, plus 20-inch polished wheels (19-inch rollers on AWD models), 12-way power seats, a heated steering wheel, an 8.4-inch UConnect touchscreen with navigation, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, a power rear-window sunshade and more.
Starting at $40,125, it’s priced right to give luxury shoppers a compelling reason to swing past the Chrysler dealership on the way to Audi, BMW and Cadillac showrooms. Combine all that with Chrysler’s 8-speed automatic transmission, available all-wheel drive, and a choice between the Pentastar V6 or Hemi V8, and Chrysler could have a real winner.
The real test, though, will happen when the performance and driving characteristics can be compared with those of the true luxury players.
Will the new Chrysler 300 Luxury Series be able to compete in the luxury segment?