Go ahead. Swoon over the deep burble and ample torque emanating from the 300C's big V-8. We can wait. When you're done, reality is waiting with the V-6-powered 300. Don't fret. While the base car may lack the degree of silliness that comes with a 363-horsepower family sedan, it makes up with a commonly overlooked but crucial element: value.
First, what you lose, along with the "C" moniker: Jettisoning the V-8 drops 246 pounds from the curb weight and $11,000 from the window sticker. Indeed, engine output suffers, but only by 71 horsepower. Acceleration remains respectable; reaching 60 mph in 7.2 seconds means the portly 300 will show its taillights to V-6 Dodge Charger
s and turbo Buick Regal
If the other drivers aren't looking closely, they might think this drag-racing madman is in a V-8. The 300 pays little visual punishment to the top-line model. The V-6 telltales come in missing chrome pieces here and there, different badges, and foglights. Opt for the Limited trim and the differences vanish. In this guise, the 300 opens its full options suite, meaning you can have a fully loaded car without suffering V-8 fuel economy (the 300 returns 2 mpg better in both city and highway EPA ratings). Our 300 tester arrived outfitted as such, along with a 300C, both riding on the same 20-inch wheels.
"Frankly, I like this car better than the C," road test editor Kim Reynolds said after finishing our handling tests. "The nose is noticeably lighter turning in to the corners, allowing for more adept transitions. And it still seems pretty quick anyway, able to tail-wag its way out the corners in a perfectly delightful way." We can credit the 300's 1-percent-better weight balance, at 52/48 percent. "My initial take is that this is the value proposition 300 that certainly doesn't leave you wanting for genuine handling pleasure," said Reynolds.