Someone likes the merger !

http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id &article_id„29&page_number=1
( fourth page of story )
AUGUST 10, 2004         
              Stateside Eights      1 2 3 4 (continued)
First Place Chrysler 300C Hemi
Chrysler 300C Hemi Highs: One mother of a motor, refined ride and handling, baby-Bentley looks, plenty of space.
Lows: Small patches of cheapness, may be too stiff-legged for some, unproven quality and reliability.
The Verdict: The winner by default also has darn few faults.
As far as we're concerned, the verdict on the DaimlerChrysler merger is in. Together, the two companies have built a gotta-get-one vehicle that neither Mercedes nor Chrysler was ever able to deliver at anywhere near this price. Case closed, jury dismissed.
Is the 300C really that good, you ask with brow deeply furrowed, or is this just typical motor-mag shill?
In a nutshell, no.
Granted, here in the company of the aged and the overheated, the newest car seems especially modern and civilized. The 300C is not the biggest, with more inches at the wheelbase but four inches fewer between the mirrors than the Crown Vic and a shorter overall length than both the Ford and Pontiac. Yet it never feels wanting for space inside until you pack three across the back seat.
The single-piece skin swathing the dash looks durable if a bit over-grained. Chrome-ringed dials—green fluorescent at night—add suavity and convey the essentials. Knobs sit where a roving hand expects to find them, even for the navigation system, which is quickly mastered. The climate control makes its climates quietly, especially when set to "low auto," a shrewd feature that restricts fan blow to hold down noise.
A thick, leather-wrapped steering-wheel rim feels substantial, serious, even with its whimsical "tortoise shell" accent (which looks like sea scallops afloat in Aunt Jemima, only better). Fake tortoises also donated fake shells to the pulls on the door panels, which despite an additional chrome sash still look a little dowdy. A fan club did develop for the 300's seats and their simple, supportive design.
The Chrysler gets nearly universal palaver. Jaded John Q. can't get enough of that Elvis-era grille, skimmed roof, and wide-set wheels. Sure, it's a new shape, but a half-dozen other cars unwrapped this year won't draw half this much attention. The 300C has got the look.
It's got the brawn, too. A growling Hemi and a Mercedes-designed, Kokomo-built five-speed automatic are a dream team. The V-8 delivers a devastating punch, and the automatic makes sure it's delivered through the appropriate ratio. Feeling playful? Your mood is read fast by the computer, which starts holding gears. If you want something different, just slap the shifter sideways from the "D" position. Nothing is simpler or more transparent.
Our 300C sucked up fuel at the rate of a gallon every 15 miles over 400 miles, even with the Hemi's seamless cylinder-deactivation system at work. Ditto the Crown Vic, and the Pontiac slurped its way to just 14 mpg. Obviously, the Hemi's cylinders weren't deactivated very much, especially during the track testing. We were unable to duplicate our initial 300C test numbers mentioned at the top. This car ran to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and turned the quarter in 14.4 at 99 mph, significantly slower for no readily apparent reason (same test site, similar test weight). Both were preproduction cars, perhaps with slightly different computer calibrations. The braking distance from 70 mph was an undistinguished 189 feet—all three cars here stopped within seven feet of that.
The electronic stability button doesn't turn the system off, it just cuts it to a reduced-intervention mode. On the skidpad, lateral g and high slip angles are an aphrodisiac to the yaw sensors, so the Chrysler herked and jerked its way to a 0.76-g performance, the lowest of the group. But in the emergency lane change, where a good stability-control system helps rather than hurts, it was fastest by a wide margin: 62.2 mph. In the real world, the 300C instills cornering confidence with negligible body lean and steering that scribes precise arcs. The ride can get a little crusty over bumps, but the chipped-from-granite structure prevents sympathetic rattles and shivers.
Grunt, grip, attitude, and comfort. Until there's a serious contender, Chrysler owns the Detroit franchise on all of it. 1 2 3 4
Copyright© 2004 Hachette Filipacchi Media, U.S., Inc. Contact Us | Revised Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions How to Advertise | Subscribe and Subscription Services
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Here's what the 300 is gonna look like in a few years:
http://tinyurl.com/3qtb3 http://tinyurl.com/6z583
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It looks like it's screaming "Aaaahhhhhh!!!"
All it's missing now are the flames and a set of big red plastic lips on the front.
Ted
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I sure hope not!
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