The 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series
Patrick Rall's picture

2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series review: premium luxury combines with efficiency

There was a point in time when getting all of the high end luxury features in the Chrysler 300 meant that you had to order a 300C, which includes the Hemi V8 and the price increases that come with that pricier drivetrain but with the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series – owners can have all of the luxury amenities available on the 300 with the efficiency and power of the Pentastar V6.

Since being introduced, the Chrysler 300C has been an award winning full sized luxury sedan with many features more commonly found in far more expensive vehicles but if a buyer opted for the “non-letter” Chrysler 300, which has always been powered by a V6 engine, the car didn’t exhibit the same number of amenities. Essentially, if you didn’t want to buy a Chrysler 300C powered by the Hemi V8, you had to settle for a lower level of luxury in those sedans equipped with the V6. However, that is a thing of the past thanks to the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series. In fact, the V6-powered 300 Limited Luxury Series packs luxury not just equal to the 300C – but equal to some of the most expensive luxury sedans available in the US market.

The Exterior
The 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series is an elaborate package that makes a significant impact on the exterior appearance of this sleek, roomy luxury sedan. The classy upfittings begin across the front end where the sharp platinum chrome finish adorns the big, bold grille (including the Chrysler “wing logo”), the headlight trim bars and the fog light trim while black inserts fill the rest of the fog light area. The passenger’s side fog light bezel also houses the mysterious black globe that provides input to the adaptive cruise control and crash avoidance systems. The headlight bezels feature tons of chrome wrapped around the automatic leveling HID projection headlight assemblies while a row of small LEDs wrap around the inner portion of the headlight lens. All of this platinum chrome is spread across the large front fascia that gives the 300 a powerful stance – leaving no question to the luxurious nature of this roomy sedan.

The long, flat hood of the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series combines with the low, flat roofline to give the 300 a low, sinister silhouette that has been a stable of the 300 sedan’s deisgn since being introduced. The top line of the 300 meets a quickly angling rear window and a very short trunk lid before flowing down over the inward angling rear face of the sedan. Along the side, the Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series has a very linear shape with a very high body line broken up only by the bulging, muscular wheel openings. Those wheel openings are filling with 20” platinum chrome wheels that are unique to the Luxury Series with more platinum chrome on the side mirror caps, the door handled and on the chrome trim piece that traces the outer edges of the side glass.

The natural lines of the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series give this large sedan a very high rear end position which almost gives the roofline that “chopped” look as well as allowing the vertical LED tail lights to be mounted very high on the body for better visibility. Like all of the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedans, our test car featured a molder rear spoiler on the trunk while a platinum chrome trim piece running along the width of the rear end and the platinum chrome Chrysler logo tie in the whole vehicle with the unique satin silver finish. The back end of the 300 is punctuated by a set of large, oval exhaust tips mounted in the rear fascia.

While chrome is a common feature on all luxury sedans, more and more luxury automakers are looking for classy ways to set themselves apart from the competition and the platinum chrome trim found all around the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series does a great job of doing just that. Even though there is no actual “chrome” on the car outside of the lighting assemblies, the 300 Limited Luxury still offers an eye-catching look that comfortably fits in – yet proudly stands out – in the luxury crowd. The unique trim and the large wheels do away with any concern of the V6-powered Chrysler 300 from looking less luxurious than the V8 powered counterparts.

The Interior
As soon as you open the door of the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series, the level of luxury jumps up and slaps you in the face like no other V6-powered Chrysler 300 before. Literally everything that you can touch from the driver or passenger seat is wrapped in leather – from the door panels to the center console to the entire dashboard – with contrasting stitching found throughout the interior to make sure that you can see the attention to detail that went into this high end luxury trimline. My 2012 300 Limited Luxury Series sedan was fitted with the two tone Dark Frost Beige/Light Frost Beige finish that really gives the interior a super premium look and feel. The dash, center console, upper door panels, seat sides and front-seat backs all sport the dark brown while the seating surface, the entire headliner, the carpeting and the majority of the door panels are finished in the light brown tones. In addition to this two tone leather package that extends from the seats to the doors to the dash, the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series offers more platinum chrome inside in the form of trim pieces found throughout the interior along with a touch of wood trim on the shift console, on the door panels and along the middle of the dash. All in all, the leather wrapped, two-tone interior finish of the 300 Limited Luxury Series presents a luxury layout that can stand alongside some of the most expensive luxury sedans in the market.

Looks and materials aside, the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series does what a full size luxury sedan should do…and that is offer plenty of room and comfort for everyone up front and in the back. The large, soft front seats both offer both heating and cooling features with power adjustment controls that allow for an incredible amount of seat travel in every direction. This adjustment allows for a comfortable driving position for both very, very short drivers and very, very tall drivers while the front passenger seat offers just as much travel to offer more rear leg room or a higher seating position for the front passenger. The width of the car inside allows for plenty of elbow room for two adults in the front and back with the center console offering room for both the driver and front passenger with a pair of hideaway cup holders that feature both heating and cooling options.

The rear seat of the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series features a middle third seat that folds down to create a rear armrest and cup holder with gobs of elbow room, head room and leg room for two larger adults. Those rear seats also featuring the heating feature and on especially sunny days – there is an electric rear sunshade that rides out of the rear deck. This is perfect for keeping the sun out of a baby’s face or from keeping passersby from seeing a high profile passenger in the back seat who wants his or her privacy.

On top of offering a roomy, comfortable interior, the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series features a high tech infotainment system that is controlled by a massive 8.4” touch screen mounted high in the middle of the dash. This touch screen controls nearly all of the interior features, including the radio (AM/FM/Sirius satellite, CD, Auxiliary), the heated/cooled front seat and steering wheel controls, the dual zone climate control system, the navigation system, the hands free phone system and the general settings for the interior functions. The “buttons” on the touch screen are large and easy to use when driving but the driver will also find that the system works well via spoken voice commands or by using the buttons mounted both on the front and rear of the steering wheel. There are also traditional knobs and buttons located just below the touch screen that allows for quicker access to the basic HVAC controls along with the power and volume control of the stereo system. The buttons on the steering wheel that control the infotainment system also allow the driver to change the readout on the customizable screen mounted between the two large gauges in the driver information center with a variety of options including fuel economy and a digital speedometer. The gauges themselves also add a touch of class with a gorgeous light blue glow with a very classic font style used for the numbers – all of which offers a look that is very attractive and inviting. The gauge cluster is one of the features of the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series that draws that “wow, that is nice” response when people first get into this full sized luxury sedan. Finally, the “cherry on top” of the Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series is the optional panoramic sunroof that allows for a sky view for front and rear passengers. As sunroofs go – the one found in the 300 is one of the more impressive in the segment.

There are very few features that you will not find inside of the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series and with leather wrapping pretty much everything in a smooth two tone brown finish, accented by platinum chrome trim here and subtle wooden trim, this large sedan has an interior that just oozes luxury from every pore. This is an interior package that allows the V6-powered Chrysler 300 Limited to compete with the best from the likes of Lincoln, Cadillac, Acura, Lexus and Infiniti.

The Drive
My 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series test vehicle was fitted with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine mated to the new 8-speed automatic transmission. This drivetrain sends 292 horsepower and 260lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels while also offering fuel economy figures of 19 miles per gallon around town and 31mpg on the highway. During my time driving the 300, I averaged 22.7 miles per gallon and while this is a shade under the 23mpg average expected by the EPA – my time with the 300 Limited Luxury Series included a drive along Detroit’s Woodward Avenue for the Woodward Dream Cruise. During that tank of gas, I averaged just 18 miles per gallon but during the other tanks of gas – I always averaged at least 23mpg with a mix of highway and city driving. Had I not spent time sitting in the Dream Cruise, I suspect that I would have averaged closer to 24mpg.

While I am a massive fan of the 5.7L Hemi V8, the 3.6L Pentastar V6 found in the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series offers a ton more power than the old 3.5L V6 and this new engine is far more fitting of a large luxury sedan. The Pentastar doesn’t offer the bone crushing power or high performance potential of the Hemi but it offers enough power to allow the 300 to accelerate hard from a stop along with offering plenty of power when the need arises to step out and pass slower moving highway traffic. While some voice concern about the new 8-speed automatic transmission, I would guess that the average driver would not be able to tell the difference between this transmission and a modern 6-speed unit without the aid of the gear indicator in the driver’s information center. When the transmission is left in normal self-shifting mode, the shifts are so smooth that it is hard to notice under normal driving circumstances around town. The concern that the 8-speed will “always be shifting around” is not a valid one as – even if it is shifting a great deal – those shifts are subtle enough that most drivers won’t take any notice of them. This is especially true when you are traveling at highway speeds in the 6th, 7th and 8th gears but compared to a 6-speed automatic transmission, this new 8-speed unit is one of the reasons that the 300 is able to easily top 30mpg on the highway. For those who want a little more driving fun out of their 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters allow the driver to select the desired gear for some electronically controlled gear banging fun.

In terms of ride quality, the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series is all luxury with a whisper quiet ride…even when traveling at higher speeds on the highway. The roughness of the Detroit highways was barely transferred into the cabin and other high speed sounds like wind noise are non-existent; making for a very quiet, serene interior setting. The 300 does offer smooth, confident handling around town and on the open road and while you won’t get the road-hugging grip of the Chrysler 300C SRT8 – the V6 300 does a great job of offering comfortable handling and a smooth ride that is a must from a modern luxury sedan.

The Final Word
The 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series offers all of the amenities that you would expect from a high end Chrysler luxury sedan with the exception of the powerful 5.7L Hemi. Those prospective luxury sedan buyers who want a classy look on the outside, high end luxury features on the inside and an efficient (yet still powerful) V6 engine – the 300 Limited Luxury Series is the sedan for you. The high tech infotainment screen, heated/cooled leather seats and high end interior finish leaves no question that this is a premium luxury sedan but unlike the previous 300C models, this new Luxury Series package offers all of this luxury and better than 30 miles per gallon.

Inside and out, the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series is a gorgeous full sized luxury sedan with all of the leather and gadgetry that you could want with a price just over $42,000 – thousands less than comparably equipped models. If you are more worried about luxury amenities and fuel economy than you are power – the 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited Luxury Series could be the ideal luxury sedan for you.

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