_"YOU _look like a gangland kingpin!"
"Are you working for the secret service?"
"Here come the Men in Black."
These were just a few of the comments aimed in my direction when I spent 11 days driving a Chrysler 300.
Luckily I resisted the urge to wear a black suit and shades while behind the wheel, especially as the mercury started to touch 40C, but there's no doubt this is a car that turns heads.
First, it's huge. The Americans like their cars big and, at just over 3m long and 1.9m wide, it's easy to see why this one comes from the land of the freeways.
Yes, all that metal does cause some problems when you're trying to get into a busy shopping centre carpark at Christmas time, but on the flipside it means there's room to stretch out and enjoy the ride there, with plenty of space in the boot, too (462 litres to be precise).
Second, the styling is so sharp you really do expect Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to jump out at any moment and shine a strange torch in your eyes.
There's so much cool chrome, from the eye-catching big grille at the front to the wing mirrors and the double exhaust at the rear, that this is one of the most striking machines on the road today - especially among the big boys.
And third, there's the ride. It is so smooth that even my daughters stopped bickering in the back seats, calmed by the way the Chrysler seemed to glide along the road.
I had the base model 300 Limited, which has an on-the-road price of $53,117. That gives you a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel with a combined fuel economy of 7.1L/100km.
In my 11 days of commuting and country driving I only used up half a tank.
You also get all the usual Bluetoothery and MP3 connectivity plus keyless entry and start, air-conditioning that can be personalised for driver and passenger and split front and rear, automatic headlights, electronic wizardry such as a tyre-pressure monitor and a fantastic clear reversing camera.
There's also something called Parksense, which lets you know with a burst of beeps if you are getting too close to the car in front of you in that Christmas carpark.
To be honest, this noise got rather annoying as I tried to concentrate on not ramming that long bonnet into another car. As was the rather tacky old-fashioned clock that sits above the high-tech multimedia touch screen.
Oh, and there's the positioning of the handle in the smooth- opening boot, which saw me almost damage my wrist as I tried to close it.
And all that money doesn't get you sat-nav. You'll need to go for the $56,992 300C for that and leather seats.
But these are only minor quibbles.
With 550 Newton metres of torque and a smooth five-speed AutoStick transmission, there's so much to like about this big American beauty that it will satisfy most company executives - or wannabe CIA agents - out there.
- CHRYSLER 300 SEDAN *
- Model *300 Limited
- Price * $53,117 on the road
- Engine * 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
- Outputs *176kW/550Nm
- Transmission * Five-speed AutoStick automatic
- Thirst *7.1L/100km
- Safety *Not yet rated