What's New for 2000
Now available on the 2000 Chrysler 300M are five new colors, interior upgrades such as rear-seat cupholders and color-keyed switches and a four-disc in-dash CD player. The rear suspension has been improved for less noise, vibration and harshness. The 2000 has the brake-shift interlock safety feature, which won't allow the driver to shift out of "Park" unless his foot is on the brake.
The 300M is the year-old iteration of Chrysler's sport sedan. Its styling and letter-series designation pick up where the original '55-'65 muscle cars left off--take one look at its big center grille and fin-like taillights, and you'll be just a notch ahead of your flashback.
For this driver-oriented modernized muscle car, there's a 3.5-liter aluminum, high-output V6 (shared with the Chrysler LHS and the Prowler), and it offers respectable power for its size: 253 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 255 foot-pounds of torque at 3,950 rpm. That's more power than you'll find in such performance sedans as the BMW M3 (a 3.2-liter making 240 horses) and the Buick Regal GS (a supercharged 3.8-liter V6 with 240 horsepower).
The performance theme of the 300M continues underneath. The fully independent suspension has a soft-ride setting as standard, but there's an optional, more aggressive European-tuned performance choice should you want to let the car strut its stuff. We'd opt for the European suspension, just for the promise of enhanced driving experience. In either soft or taut setting, however, the steering remains first-rate.
The 300M is affectionately known as a 5-meter car (its length is 197.8 inches, or 5.02 meters)-- Chrysler says that the length was an important consideration from the start, and claims that it can be parked in smaller European garages. The 300M's platform is shared between the Dodge Intrepid and the Chrysler Concorde and LHS, but the 300M is the most fun to drive, thanks in part to its tidy dimensions.
We're disappointed that the 300M's only transmission is an automatic. Chrysler tried to make up for it with the AutoStick, which gives manual control of an auto transmission. But it's definitely not the same thing. In addition to the automatic, other standard features include a leather interior, air conditioning, four-wheel ABS, an Infinity 240-watt sound system, heated eight-way power seats, and 17-inch wheels. New-for-2000 colors are Dark Garnet Red, Inferno Red Tinted Clear Coat, Shale Green Metallic, Steel Blue and Bright Silver Metallic.
Says Chrysler chief engineer Bob Rodger, "The 300 idea is the idea of a powerful, nimble, responsive automotive machine." Of course, Rodger made those comments more than 40 years ago. Amazing how history really does repeat itself.