Monday, October 23, 2017

Updating the 2005 Chrysler 300C

For some time now, I've been thinking that I ought to write about the 2011 facelift to the Chrysler 300 series introduced for the 2005 model year.  But I couldn't quite make up my mind what to say.  And for 2015 there came another, lesser, facelift.  Now that it's 2017, more delay is hard to excuse, so here I go.

I wrote about the 2005 Chrysler 300 here.  I mentioned that the initial photos I saw were not appealing, but after seeing the cars on the streets and roads, they interested me to the point that I actually bought one.

The 2011 facelift changed the character of the design, and not in a good way, in my opinion.  It seemed like changes were made for the sake of change.  Actually, there was a new design theme, but it was not strikingly clear to me.  I'll describe it in the photo captions below.

As for the latest facelift, it marks an improvement over the previous one.  In several respects, the 2011 facelift should have used the 2015's features.  That's because the '15 returns partway to the 2005 roots, correcting what I consider the mistakes of 2011 that never should have happened.


The 2005 Chrysler 300C.

Here is the 2011 frontal facelift.  The grille's grid pattern of bars is replaced by sculpted horizontal bars.  This softens the car's face, making it look less aggressive, a big change from what was supposed to be a "performance" car.  Apparently product planners wanted 300s to be seen as upper-medium priced town sedans rather than rubber-burning street rods.  Headlight assemblies were restyled to conform to the new fad of LED pattern creation.  Hood stampings, the strike panel and the Chrysler emblem were also changed.

The main 20015 changes were a revised strike panel, a reshaped chin air intake and a different grille.  Gone was the bright grille frame with the Chrysler wings.  The wings moved onto the grille face where the horizontal bars were replaced by a mesh design.  The overall effect is increased boldness, a partial return to the 2005 version's character.

The 2005 Chrysler 300C as seen from the rear on its way into Palm Springs, California.

The front wheel opening lip on this 2011 model is linked to a more strongly defined upper-fender character line crease.  This stronger crease destroyed the unity of the side aspect of the original design by emphasizing the contrast between the rounded wheelhouse and the rising line to the rear.  The trunk lid is new, its bottom fold aligned with the side cut line of the strike panel which also was reshaped.  The extreme rear of the fender lines are now slightly peaked, the apexes aligned with with thin, vertical accents on the tail lights.  The overall effect is increased formality and less aggression, as was the case at the front.  I always disliked these tail lights because they seemed so unlike what I expected of a 300.

For 2015, the rear features a redesigned strike panel and exhaust pipe lips.  Better yet, the tail lights revert to something like the 2005 pattern on lesser (non-300C) 300s.  As with the front, the rear seems more like a road car than a town car.  The sculpting of the side character line seems to have been reduced, bringing it more in line with 2005.


emjayay said...

The 20010 is no a facelift but a redodied car.Same basic platform Mercedes E class from a while back and probably a lot of internal structure the same, but outside of that a different car. I thought it was still too much a block and could have used an infusion of Opel Insignia/Buick Regal feeling into it.

In the original ones the awful door window frames always bothered me. Crudely shapen body color frames that made the small windows look smaller. Every time I see one I think about how they could have redone the windows and frames and made for larger more graceful window. Audis for example from that period havethe whole window part of the door opening edged on the roof in chrome and the window do now show their frame edges .

Donald Pittenger said...

I checked Wikipedia, and they too say the 2010 was a redesign. Hard to tell that by looking at it, the most visible basic body difference being the windshield. Dimensions are nearly identical. At the time it appeared, I didn't notice car magazines stressing that it was all-new. But perhaps I missed something back then. Appreciate the heads-up.