Tuesday, December 22, 2009
300C: A US odyssey
The 3.5-litre V6 starts with a slightly muted thrum and the 300C creeps forward obligingly once the 5-speed auto 'box is placed in drive. We whisk out the car park and onto International Drive with the transmission quietly slurring away. The sheer size of the thing would render it unwieldy in the UK. Fortunately, you sit quite high with a good view of its extremities as the long bonnet sweeps round corners. It does feel somewhat like captaining a boat at times, but cruising the wide palm tree lined boulevards of downtown Orlando the 300C feels perfectly at home.
The I4 widens to four lanes as we pass the outskirts of Tampa. It's a bright modern city with a cluster of silver sky scrapers looming against the hazy midday sky. It also marks a brief stint on the I275, a comparatively twisty urban freeway, which gives a bit more insight into the Chrysler’s dynamics. Once again the messages are a little mixed. The steering is quite precise with a pleasingly linear action, but it’s almost completely devoid of feel. The initial turn is distinctly floaty and the whole thing feels a touch under-damped, but the car actually feels surprisingly well balanced once its set up in the turn. Sweeping through the I275’s twists, its body roll is no worse than you’d expect from a large sedan and the car actually feels quite poised.