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rsquo12 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series benefits from Italian design
<p> <font face="Times New Roman"><span style="font-size:12pt"><b>&rsquo;12 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series benefits from Italian design.</b></span></font></p>

Chrysler 300 Luxury Series: Aggressive Opulence, Simple Electronics

This is an interior buyers would presume to see in a Bentley, if Bentley made cars normal people could afford.

There is luxury, and then there is aggressive, jaw-dropping opulence. The Chrysler 300 Luxury Series offers the latter, even though we rarely see it in vehicles with price tags less than six figures.

The 300 was new for North America last year, and Chrysler parent Fiat adapted a version for the European market for its Lancia brand. Chrysler management liked the Italian interpretation so much they decided to sell it in the U.S. as the 300 Luxury Series.

Kudos to Fiat/Lancia for the ultra-premium leather, fine stitching and exotic, matte-finish natural wood sanded by hand. And a pat on the back to Chrysler, Fiat and suppliers for safety and infotainment features that are easy to use.

Top-grade Italian Poltrona Frau leather covers the instrument panel, cluster brow, center-console side panels and upper front- and rear-door panels. Nappa, a different premium leather, covers the door armrest, bolster and center console armrest and other areas.

Driver and passenger seats feature 12-way power adjustments, and both front and rear seats are heated and ventilated. The 8.4-in (24-cm) infotainment touchscreen is among the industry’s largest.

The gauge cluster is standard on all 300 models but nonetheless is mesmerizing, illuminated by an other-worldly glow. Ambient lighting is used tastefully, both as a design element and to make it easier to locate things such as handles and cupholders. And of course, the steering wheel is heated. Even the floor mats seem extravagant.

Not what you expect from a Detroit brand starting at slightly more than $40,000. This is an interior buyers would presume to see in a Bentley, if Bentley made cars normal people could afford.

WardsAuto editors are dutifully impressed not only by the over-the-top lavishness, but by the excellent craftsmanship and detail work. The stitching throughout rivals anything we’ve seen on vehicles costing three times as much. Basic fit and finish is superb.

“First rate, from the cushy headliner to the carpet and everything in between,” gushes one editor.

“Stunning effort,” adds another. “This would be my first choice for taking a long trip with friends.”

Despite the 300’s sophistication, it is simple in all the right places. Control knobs are big, well-placed and easy to use. HMI screen controls are intuitive and react quickly to inputs, unlike some others we’ve tested. The car also features forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and a host of other features, and none gave us any trouble.

Editors at WardsAuto spend a lot of time delving into what the future of automotive luxury looks like. With the new 300 Series, we think we’ve found it.

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