A venerable name in Autodom is resurrecting and will soon grace the body of a large rear-wheel drive luxury car. After a successful “concept car” debut at a couple of recent auto shows, the Chrysler Imperial will be built and expected to be in US showrooms in 2010. Yes, it will be a long wait for the Imperial to return, but the car it must first wait for further changes within DaimlerChrysler before it can be compiled. Read on to find out more about the imminent return of the Imperial.
The Chrysler Imperial which is currently making rounds in various auto shows has been well received. Visitors noted the car’s Bentley-like appearance, its cavernous interior and luxury appointments favorably. Currently, the brand has nothing bigger or more luxurious to offer to buyers who may want to upgrade from the 300C, so Chrysler has regularly lost buyers to more luxurious brands, something DaimlerChrysler [DCX] wants to stem.
The Imperial name can be traced back as far as 1926, when Walter P. Chrysler decided to take on Lincoln and Packard with a luxury model of his own. Since its inception, the Imperial has always been the flagship vehicle for Chrysler and, at various times, has been marketed as its own brand. Various versions of the Imperial have appeared over the years, most of them being ultra-luxurious versions of Chrysler’s New Yorker model.
The 2011 Chrysler Imperial will be similar in design to the concept car, but without the suicide doors. Chrysler put special doors on the concept car to make it easier for auto show visitors to see inside the vehicle. However, reports from the company indicate that 22-inch wheels, Bentley grille, boxy body and leather / wood trim would be included. Pricing for the Imperial will not be announced for many years, but some reports have shown it could go as high as $ 60,000. Currently, the top of the 300C line comes in at around $ 42,000.
So why the robbery? Well, the Imperial program will be an additional expense for DCX first. Currently, the company is in the process of making its Mercedes range more profitable and that involves the expense of upgrading several models. Based on the Mercedes “R-Class” body, the upcoming Imperial is likely to be built on an updated version of the R-Class platform. Both cars would arrive in dealership showrooms at the same time as the 2011 models, hence the long lead time.
The Imperial concept sits on a frame with a 123-inch wheelbase. The car measures 214 in length, much longer than the 300C. Reports indicate that the dimensions of the concept car are likely to be maintained.
For Chrysler fans, the Imperial represents a further strengthening of the Chrysler-Mercedes relationship. Using a Mercedes platform, the Imperial can be built and will give Chrysler a much needed product. With a standard V8 mated to a five or six-speed automatic, the car will certainly not be on the fuel economy side. However, my best guess is that the car will also be optionally equipped with a thrifty Mercedes-built turbodiesel, a first for any Chrysler car.