I spent more of Saturday than I should have researching the Chrysler 300 CD mystery. In an earlier post, I mentioned my surprise that my Beats-equipped 300S tester didn’t have a CD player.
Other than this photo, downloaded from Chrysler’s media website, I could find nothing to suggest the 2015 300 can even be ordered with a CD player. I fired off an email query to Fiat-Chrysler’s West Coast media guy, who wrote back:
Wow, you are correct, no CD player for 300!
Chrysler substitutes a Media Hub that includes an SD card slot, a USB port and an auxiliary input.
Recent research suggests that buyers are growing increasingly features-aware. In its most recent evaluation of consumer behavior, the automotive research and ratings firm J.D. Power, said, “New-vehicle buyers indicate they avoided a model because it lacked the latest technological features at a rate of 15% in 2015, up from 4% in 2014.”
Will Chrysler’s bold CD move influence buyers away from the brand? Or, is the company channeling Steve Jobs, who changed the computer industry when he effectively killed the floppy drive with the 1998 debut of the (floppy-free) iMac?
Once I finished reading about the new Beats audio system in my 300s tester, with its trunk-mounted dual-voice coil subwoofer and 12-channel 552-watt amplifier, I grabbed my latest noisy acquisition and headed straight for the driver’s seat. Where I looked for the CD slot. And looked. And looked again. Ten minute’s of reportorial-style digging later, I’d learned only that Chrysler appears to be phasing out the CD player. None of the three available audio systems seems to include a CD player. Not even the 19-speaker H/K Logic7 system with its GreenEdge 900-watt amp and 32-volt Tracking Power Supply/(TPS). All that gear, with no CD player in sight, though I have seen one in photos. Look closely and you’ll set it just below the touch screen: I’ve only seen this once before, in a 84-horsepower, $15,000 Chevy Spark, where both weight (7 lbs) and cost were a concern. Neither amounted for all that much in my $35,000 300S tester.
Ran into a friend downtown last night. He asked what I’d driven lately that had surprised me. It’s a great question that no one ever asks.
Also, it was a spectacular set-up. “This,” I said, and pointed to the 2015 Chrysler 300S parked next to us. I’d read good things, but hadn’t given them much thought. The 300 is a much more enjoyable car than I’d expected; it’s too large to be called lithe, but it’s plenty athletic for a big (4,300 lbs) fella.
Comfortable and good-looking, too. The new mesh grille with its “floating” logo work especially well, IMO.
Engine choices include the legendary 5.7-liter “Hemi” V-8 which makes 363 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque and a 3.0-liter six that makes 292 or 300 hp, depending on trim. Both engines are paired with a very good eight-speed automatic.
My tester had the six, which tromps the eight at the box office, if not the drag strip. The six-banger has been treated to a bit of engine-audio engineering and, under throttle, offers up a reasonable facsimile of the sound of a big eight.