Over the years, a number of fashion designers have tried their hand at enhancing the look of an existing automobile. Recently joining their ranks with a rather strong effort, Detroit native John Varvatos is the latest member of the profession to do so. For 2013, Chrysler is offering a limited edition version of its venerable 300C sedan with styling elements prescribed by Varvatos. Over the next 12 months, we’ll have one at our disposal to enable us to provide you with ongoing reports about life with the handsome sedan.
2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition Long Term Review
2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition Long Term Review: Exterior Design
The color scheme comes from the black and Satin Titanium John Varvatos cologne bottle. Those elements—when applied to a car with the presence of the Chrysler 300C take on an aggressively sinister—yet polished and sophisticated—air. Clothed confidently in its Phantom Black tri-coat pearlescent metallic paint, our new long-term 2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition (number 55 of a total run of 2000 cars) looks bodyguard tough.
Up front, the Varvatos Chrysler features a Satin Titanium-finished grille surround, a Satin Titanium Chrome Chrysler “wing” badge, and Black Chrome grille blades. Flaunting an aura of sophisticated capability, the uber-aggressive countenance of the front fascia is characterized by large air inlets, Black Chrome grille blades, and Satin Titanium-finished accents.
The finish of the cap of the Varvatos cologne bottle is reflected in the 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels, as well as the window trim and exterior rearview mirror caps—all of which are finished in Satin Titanium. Going away, the 300C’s LED taillamps flaunt blackened details for a decidedly masculine look. Rounding out the exterior Varvatos design elements are the dual-exhaust tips finished in Satin Titanium, along with John Varvatos and winged Chrysler deck-lid badges—both finished in Satin Titanium Chrome.
Calculated specifically to perfectly complement the basic lines of the 2013 Chrysler 300C, the overall effect is a singularly powerful and determined—yet wholly sophisticated appearance. Rather than shine, the trim bits glow confidently, while the spectacular pearlescent paint enticingly draws the eye.
2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition Long Term Review: Interior Design
Interior design elements fitted to our long termer are Pewter Metallic leather seats debossed with John Varvatos’ logos and trimmed with the Diesel Gray and black patterned Varvatos stitching—elements reminiscent of his fitted-jacket collection. Evocative of another Varvatos product are the gauge cluster and clock. Their Pearlescent White faces and Charcoal Black Metallic bezels are suggestive of the Varvatos watch collection done for the high-end watchmaker Ernst Benz.
Poltrona Frau black leather with Diesel Gray accent stitching defines the overall tone of the customized environment, while the heated, hand-stitched steering wheel is finished with Diesel Gray thread and Satin Titanium Chrome accents. Culminating the look with just the right elements, are our long term Chrysler 300C Varvatos Limited Edition’s interior Satin Titanium trim pieces, along with Charcoal Hydrographic Wood and Gloss Black finished secondary accents.
As you can see from the accompanying photography, it all comes together quite nicely.
This is one exceptionally handsome piece.
2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition Long Term Review: Engine & Fuel Economy
It’s powerful too; rocking Chrysler’s 363-horsepower, 5.7-liter HEMI V8. Routing power to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission, the HEMI barks authoritatively on startup, then propels the car with a great deal of confidence and verve.
Best of all, it’ll do this on regular unleaded gasoline.
Fuel economy is enhanced by the V8’s four-cylinder Fuel Saver Technology mode, which allows the V8 to operate on half its cylinders in steady state situations such as at speed on the highway. The EPA says we can expect 19 MPG in the city, 25 on the highway and 19 overall. So far, we’ve been averaging 16.1 miles per gallon in our admittedly city-biased driving. Having just hit 1,325 miles, we expect that mileage figure to improve as the engine loosens up as it broken in further.
All-wheel drive, a 300-horsepower V6 engine, and an eight-speed automatic transmission—while not fitted to our long-term test car—are available as options.
2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition Long Term Review: Features and Equipment
Mainstream Chrysler 300C options that are fitted to our test car include a Beats by Dr. Dre audio system based around a 525-watt amplifier with 10 speakers and a subwoofer. A set of adaptive bi-xenon HID headlamps with automatic high beam control and an automatic leveling system are also on board, in addition to a dual pane panoramic sunroof.
Standard equipment on every Chrysler 300C includes keyless entry and start, heated and ventilated power adjustable front seats, along with heated second row seats. Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free telephone operation, a remote start system, plus satellite radio and traffic information are also featured. Dual-zone automatic climate control, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, and a rear backup camera round out the basic package.
Our 300C Limited’s kit of safety tech includes blind spot and cross path detection, radar-based park assistance, smart cruise control, forward collision warning, and smart windshield wipers. You'll also find a full complement of airbags, coupled with antilock brakes, traction control, blind spot monitoring, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, automatic door locks, stability control, an engine immobilizer, and an intelligent battery sensor.
2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition Long Term Review: Driving Impressions
Out of deference to its newness, we have yet to “give ‘er the beans and see how she goes”. However, we can already tell acceleration, braking, and handling are going to be very inspiring when the car is suitably run-in and driven vigorously. The near relentless pull of the HEMI is already demonstrative of the Chrysler’s exceptional performance potential.
One of the things we really appreciate about the character the car has exhibited so far is even with its promise of outstanding performance; the luxurious qualities of the car are shining through to deliver exceptional comfort as well. We’re really looking forward to some long highway trips, as the 300C feels very solidly planted at speed on the highway. Further, it rides very smoothly, is appropriately quiet, and absorbs pavement irregularities with considerable dignity.
2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition Long Term Review: Pricing & Initial Thoughts
In this, the 2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition sedan, Chrysler has crafted a “designer” automobile with outstanding style, high performance potential, and a broad array of luxury features. It really is the best of both worlds. On top of all of that, when you fold in the Varvatos styling elements, you come away with something singularly unique, stylishly handsome, and decidedly bold—yet simultaneously understated.
We like it.
It’s shaping up to be a pretty good year.
Base price of our test car comes in at $40,845.
Fully optioned out, its MSRP as tested is $52,580—including a $995 destination charge.