Chrysler gets ready to launch the Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300C. BY FRANK MARKUS February 2004 Chrysler is finally ready to talk about the production versions of the Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300 rear-drive, full-size sedans and wagons that it showed in concept form early in 2003. The so-called LX cars will replace the front-drive LHs (the Chrysler Concorde and 300M, the Dodge Intrepid) in the next few months. The new sedans use as their basis the previous-generation Mercedes E-class sedan, including its five-speed automatic transmission. Both production models differ from last year's concept cars only in trim detail. Three engines will be offered: 2.7- and 3.5-liter V-6s and the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. All-wheel drive will join the Magnum and 300 lines late this summer. Weight distribution on the rear-wheel-drive versions will be 52/48 percent front to rear. The V-8 will make 340 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 365 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm, good for 0-to-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, the quarter-mile in about 14.7 seconds, and a top speed higher than 150 mph. That's almost two seconds quicker to 60 mph than the current, V-6-powered 300M. The 3.5 makes 245 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 245 pound-feet of torque at 4000 and hits 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, says Chrysler. The 2.7 is reworked for slightly less horsepower but a much broader torque curve than it makes in the Stratus/ Sebring line: 190 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 190 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm—good for 10.7 seconds to 60. The Chrysler comes in base (2.7), Touring and Limited (3.5), and C (Hemi). At Dodge it's base, SXT, and R/T. Production starts about the time you're reading this. The Chrysler will go on sale in April. Dodge won't begin selling Magnums until "late spring." A 300 with the small V-6 will start at about $25,000. A well-equipped 300C (that's with the Hemi) will cost less than $35,000. The all-wheel-drive versions will ride one inch higher than rear-drivers. And hey, the Hemi V-8-powered versions can even tow up to 3800 pounds.