The 300 got a thorough redo in 2011, but for 2015 it gets no new sheetmetal, unlike its platform-mate, the Dodge Charger. It does add another trim level, the 300C Platinum. The C, S, and C Platinum all offer the V-8 as an option but the engine is not available on the base Limited, adding a perhaps-unintended layer of meaning to that version’s name.
Checking the option box for the 5.7-liter V-8 costs $3000, which gets you not only the 363-hp Hemi, but also bigger brakes (with dual- rather than single-piston calipers up front and ventilated rather than solid rotors in back) and a 160-mph speedometer. The 300S also gains a decklid spoiler, while C and Platinum trim levels get the paddle shifters that come standard on any S. This year, the V-8 can no longer be paired with all-wheel drive, owing to that combo’s abysmal take rate; evidently, people who already commit $2500 extra for AWD are disinclined to throw another three grand at the lump under the hood.
Dial a Gear
Brand president and CEO Al Gardner’s marching orders for Chrysler are to square up more directly against the industry’s volume-sales leaders, including Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota. As Chrysler’s flagship, the 300 still has some near-luxury pretensions, but the sharpened focus gives Dodge precedence as the “performance” brand. This goes some way toward explaining the lack of a U.S.-market SRT8 version. The SRT8 will survive in some foreign markets, but its price point exceeds (and its sales volumes fall far short of) Chrysler’s targets for North America.