When Chrysler launched the 300 back in 2004, the car's bold design stunned the automotive world. The rear-drive flagship had an in-your-face presence that few full-sized American sedans had pulled off in years. That it looked like a Bentley didn't hurt.
The last car created under the direction of Chrysler design chief Tom Gale was perfect for those with champagne tastes with a budget. The public loved it, buying 113,000 cars in the first partial year, more than 140,000 in the next two years and more than 120,000 in 2007.
With Daimler long gone, the new Chrysler, now run by Fiat, is hoping that lightning will strike again with the 2011 Chrysler 300, which will debut in January at the Detroit auto show.
This new 300 is a more refined version of its predecessor, with a far more buttoned-up, tailored look, especially at the rear. The windshield is more raked, and the front of the car wears the new face of Chrysler, with a redesigned Chrysler-brand grille and badge. The headlights are rimmed by C-shaped LED daytime running lamps.