DaimlerChrysler designer Trevor Creed and his team of stylists from the corporate design studio in Auburn Hills, Mich., charged with the mission of amplifying the Chrysler brand, created the Chrysler Imperial Concept for debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The Chrysler Imperial Concept draws on storied Imperials from the past, particularly models from the 1930’s and 1950’s. The crafted-for-the-21st-century retro Chrysler has been engineered to offer “the ultimate in comfort and creates a new definition of luxury.” If produced, the Imperial would be this marque’s new flagship model.
Chrysler’s Imperial Concept has been created as a rear-drive flagship model and sits on the same foundation as the Chrysler 300, although this four-door stretches 17 inches longer and is six inches taller than the sedan with which it shares a platform. Mounted on a 123-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 214 inches, the Imperial is painted Chrysler Bronze and is equipped with a Birch Cream/Bay Brown interior.
Styling cues on the Chrysler Imperial Concept suggest a Rolls-Royce and Bentley influence, with the massive upright grille, tall and circular headlights, bulging wheel wells, and vault-like glass-to-metal proportions. The Chrysler Imperial Concept is V-shaped at the front, with fender lines that stay tall right to the front edges and then rapidly descend, and the Chrysler wings emblazoned on the large grille. Passengers will sit seven inches higher in this concept car than they do in the 300 sedan. Chrome accenting on the lower front fascia, grille, door handles, mirrors and window trim define Chrysler’s intent to make the Imperial look upscale, as a flagship should.
The Chrysler Imperial Concept’s back doors are hinged at the quarter panels, allowing easier access to the rear seat. By integrating the front and rear door handles into one long unit, creating “French doors” according to this automaker, Chrysler simplifies the profile while letting the rear quarter bulges and side sills to positively influence the mass. The Chrysler Imperial Concept sits on bold 22-inch wheels and tires.
The Chrysler Imperial Concept’s circular taillights with floating outer rings are a departure from current corporate design themes. This powerful rear-drive concept also borrows lines from the earlier Chrysler d’Elegance and Falcon concept vehicles, and the more recent Chrysler Chronos and Firepower fantasy machines.
An attractive interior has been hand-crafted for the Chrysler Imperial Concept, with plenty of California burl wood set off by metallic accents. Back seat passengers get LED lights above, along with overhead spotlights and electro-luminescent fabric. Rear seat passengers are also treated to a console-mounted dual-view entertainment screen with wireless headsets.
Interior highlights include a full-length floor console, an attractive instrument panel and a touch-pad with intuitive controls. The Chrysler Imperial Concept’s door armrests and the map pockets appear to float above carved and recessed panels.
The Chrysler Imperial Concept’s power comes from a Hemi V8, in this application providing 340 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque from 5.7 liters of displacement. A five-speed automatic transmission drives the rear wheels, and Chrysler says the Imperial Concept can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 160 mph.