First, I'd like to disclose three points.
1. This is the first car I've owned manufactured by one of America's Big 3.
2. I've never owned a car that didn't have a clutch, and this was a real hurdle concerning the "fun-to-drive" factor.
3. I loved the interior of my last vehicle, an Audi A6.
I was surrounded by real leather and wood, not the disgusting plastic so prevalent in today's cars.
My 300 Luxury Series (Pentastar V6 mated with the ZF 8-speed) truly lives up to its name.
Both the engine and the interior won Top Ten honors by Wards Auto this year.
It's absolutely gorgeous inside and out.
The Mochachino leather exceeds my expectations.
This is North American luxury at its best!
I drive the paddle shifters in Sport, controlling the engine's revs (with no electronic over-ride), and engaging AWD all the time.
So essentially, I'm driving a vehicle whose transaxle easily translates to the Audi I last drove.
Forgo the paddles, and a Benz-like RWD sedan emerges.
The Harman Kardon 19-speakers/900 Watts rocks the car in surround sound; a great value compared to other OEM super premium sound systems.
The steering and suspension are a perfect match to the vehicle.
The Uconnect media center is an ergonomic champion.
The biggest surprise is the Garmin Nav.
It works flawlessly/simply...even though the graphics hardly stand up to Google Earth found in over-priced sedans.
When driving the paddle shifters in Sport, the ZF 8-speed is really 6 forward gears.
Gear 1 is superfluous, given that you can start from a stop in second.
Moreover, at 74 MPH gear 8 brings the revs below the flat-curve threshold (1940 RPM), so the car has no power.
You engage Adaptive Cruise Control at 74 MPH in eighth; the car barely manages to maintain speed.
If you begin to climb a hill, or, if a car slows down in front of you reducing your cruise speed, you immediately have to shift into seventh.
There is no power to get you back to 74 if the car in front were to speed-up.
The fix: lower the Pentastar's torque curve threshold to 1500 RPMs similar to Ford's EcoBoost.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.