By Nitish S. Rele

Totally redesigned in 2011, this year’s Chrysler 300 continues to be available in a base 3.6-liter V-6 engine developing 292 and 300 horsepower.

However, under the hood of our rear-wheel-drive (all-wheel drive is also available) test car sat the legendary 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine belting out 363 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 394 pounds-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm.

Probably the biggest change for 2015 is that the antique 6-speed auto in all models has been replaced by the 8-speed gear box. Also ensuring further fuel savings is the Multi-Displacement system that shuts off half of the eight cylinders, and no more SRT8s or 5.7-liter V8 Hemis with all-wheel drive. We could live with that since the present 5.7-liter is a forceful and striking powertrain.

Suspension is handled efficiently by an independent front short- and long-arm and the rear with a multilink system. The new all-electric power steering is quick and accurate. Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, front-seat active head restraints, stability and traction control, daytime running lights and a tire pressure monitoring system are standard.

For 2015, Chrysler has ramped up the size of the already-massive grille, sans seven slats, with blacked-out trim by at least 33 percent. The rear fascia gets new LE tail lamps, exhaust tips and wheels. The redesigned instrument panel of 160-mph speedometer and 7,000-RPM tachometer holds a driver information center. Adding more class are LED ambient lights. Where’s the shifter knob? Look for a rotary dial on the center console. Other amenities include dual auto a/c, eight-way power front seats, familiar Chrysler analog clock, manual tilt/telescopic column, leather seats, Beats audio system with 552-watt amplifier and 60/40 rear seat.

Weighing well over 4,300 pounds, you would expect the bulky sedan to lack vim and vigor. But you will be surprised at its pace and agility, thanks to the effective Hemi. Of course, the revised cabin makes the 300 a strong contender in the full-size luxury car segment.

Visit Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge at 9207 E. Adamo Dr. in Tampa. For more information, call 402-0841.

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