Chrysler's decision to team-up their full-size 300 four-door sedan with contemporary urban designer John Varvatos, has proven to be a very successful collaboration.
First introduced for 2013, the 300C John Varvatos is the fastest-selling limited-edition Chrysler 300 model.
Varvatos is a creator of men's fashion (GQ's "Designer of the Year" in 2007), known for his tailored clothing and sportswear, footwear, eyewear, limited edition watches, men's fragrances, etc.
For 2014, the 300C John Varvatos series has been expanded to two variations: Luxury Edition and even-pricier Limited Edition.
The designer's darker-tone approach to leather and metals is evident on my test vehicle, a 2014 300C John Varvatos Luxury Edition. Finished in Granite Crystal metallic clear coat paint, the muscular exterior sports a platinum-chrome mesh grille, platinum chrome accents, a John Varvatos deck-lid badge, LED tail lamps with blacken details, and dual-exhaust tips in titanium.
Within the five-passenger cabin, a tastefully-tailored combination of Dark Mocha and black high-end Italian leather is highlighted by embossed John Varvatos signature logos on the front seats. Completing the leather-trimmed interior are titanium and gloss black finished accents, hand-sanded charcoal hydrographic wood, and a power rear window sunshade.
The highly regarded Uconnect with 8.4-inch touchscreen and voice commands combine the new generation systems of Garmin navigation, 3-D map with route guidance graphics, and real-time SiriusXM Traffic.
Each '14 Chrysler 300 variant (base 300, 300S, 300C, 300 SRT8, 300C John Varvatos Luxury and Limited Edition) is outfitted with a fully-lined, premium carpeted trunk that can handle a respectable 16.3 cubic feet of cargo.
Gaining traction this model year is the availability of all-wheel drive (AWD) for the 300C John Varvatos, which came equipped on my test vehicle.
Chrysler's intelligent AWD system combines an active transfer case and front-axle disconnect which provides greater fuel economy. The company claims that it's the only major automotive manufacturer to offer the combination of these two independent technologies.
What I like about this setup is when AWD is not required, the system knows to automatically disconnect the front axle, which in turn improves overall fuel efficiency.
With AWD, the 300C rolls on 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, while the larger 20-inch wheels are reserved for rear-wheel drive only models.
Either way, the handsome rims and all-season performance tires provide the sedans with an even more planted and road-holding allure.
All models (except the SRT8) come stock with the spirited, yet fuel-efficient 3.6-liter (220-cid) Pentastar V-6. This engine includes variable valve timing (VVT), which improves the engine's performance under diverse conditions.
This 3.6L aluminum mill produces 292 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft of torque; has an enthusiast desired sport-tuned exhaust sound, cold-air induction system and comes mated with a state-of-the-art eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The addition of three more gears to the automatic transmission provides quicker acceleration, excellent passing ability, smoother shifts and improved miles-per-gallon numbers.
Drivers can use the console mounted shift lever or the pair of die-cast, steering-wheel mounted paddle controls. Gear selection can also be viewed through an all-new full-color EVIC centered in the instrument cluster.
Rear-wheel drive models are available with the V-6 or optional 363hp 5.7L Hemi V-8 mated to a five-speed automatic with die-cast paddle shifters. The Hemi is standard on the 300 SRT8.
During my week with the 300C, I put several hundred expressway and intercity miles on the V-6 engine, and found the car to provide a solid, comfortable ride, with prompt, accurate steering response and excellent performance.
While piloting the Chrysler, I was able to 'rock-on' by listening to the optional-equipped ($995) Beats by Dr. Dre high-performance audio technology that incorporates a 522-watt 12-channel amplifier with 10 Beats audio speakers and eight-inch trunk-mounted dual-voice coil subwoofer with sealed enclosure.
Front and rear seating is supportive and comfortable with good lateral embrace, and rear head and legroom is excellent for six-footers.
Overall fit and appearance is high quality, with exterior panels that line up well, and are finished in deep and lustrous paint colors.
The 2014 Chrysler 300
has earned the highest five-stars in the Federal Government 5-Star Safety
Ratings, based on the combined scores of frontal crash, side crash and rollover.
Not always something you want to think about, but reassuring to know when purchasing a new vehicle.
With a base sticker price of $43,695, the test vehicle I had included an additional $5,480 in options and $995 destination charge, bringing the total price as delivered to $50,170.
All 2014 Chrysler 300 models are assembled in the Brampton Plant, Ontario, Canada.
Vehicle: premium large-size sedan - rear-wheel and all-wheel drive
Type: four-door, five-passenger, front engine
Wheelbase: 120.2 in.
Overall Length: 198.6
Overall Width: 75.in.
Overall Height: 59.2in. (AWD)
Curb Weight: 4,029 to 4,515 lbs.
Weight Distribution: 53/47 percent F/R for V-6 AWD
Towing Capacity: 1,000 lbs.
Fuel: Unleaded regular, 87 octane
EPA (city/hwy): 16/25 (RWD) and 15/23 (AWD)
Price Range: $42,180 to $50,170
Competitors: Dodge Charger, Chevrolet SS