2015 Chrysler 200 looks to put Pentastar's cars back on track [w/videos]Mon, 13 Jan 2014
It's fair to say that Chrysler Corporation has been on a major perception upswing with its new products, but that rise has largely been centered around its trucks and utility vehicles – the car side has been somewhat left out. The outgoing 200 (previously skinned as the Sebring) never garnered any laurels, the Dart has suffered a rather cool reception both critically and in terms of sales, the second-gen 300 is a nice car yet it hasn't sold as well as its predecessor, and even the mighty SRT Viper has had its V10 bark muted by the less costly and multi-talented Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Resurgent Chrysler could use a hit car, and the 2015 200 may just be it.
For one thing, it looks great here under the lights at the Detroit Auto Show. Eschewing today's oversized headlamp and grille trend, the sleek 200 (with a coefficient of drag of just .27) displays a 'four-door coupe' sensibility with a sense of style that the old 200 with its gawky greenhouse and forced details never did. The new 200's exterior may look a bit like a greatest hits compendium of other high-style cars (see also: Audi A7, Tesla Model S, etc.), but it doesn't come off as a pastiche, it's all well-integrated and organic all the same.
It looks great here under the lights at the Detroit Auto Show.
It also appears to have the goods under the skin, employing the same Alfa Romeo compact-wide platform that's been pushed and pulled to form the basis of the Dart and Jeep Cherokee and a segment-first all-wheel-drive system with rear axle disconnect for improved fuel economy. Power will come from a 184-horsepower, 173 pound-feet-of-torque Tigershark 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine or Chrysler's well-regarded 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 295 hp and 262 lb-ft, the latter coming with standard all-wheel drive.
At first blush, the 200S is our pick of the litter, and not just because it looks sportier sitting on 18-inch alloys with its more sinister trim. It also gets a firmer suspension and standard paddle shifters, which should be particularly fun on the AWD V6 model, as that system can divert 60 percent of the engine's torque to the rear axle.
It all looks pretty promising. Could this be the hit car that Chrysler needs? Review our galleries, watch the videos and check out the press release by scrolling below... then place your wagers in Comments.
All-new 2015 Chrysler 200 Engineered with Pride for an Exceptional Driving Experience
Segment-first standard nine-speed automatic transmission, innovative all-wheel-drive system, choice of two engine options, fuel economy improvements of up to 13 percent and spirited ride and handling characteristics equal a driving experience customers will look forward to
- Innovative, world-class powertrain is the basis for the extraordinary driving experience and improved fuel economy in the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan
- All-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is the industry's first mid-size sedan with a standard nine- speed automatic transmission, contributing to an estimated fuel economy improvement of up to 13 percent
- First mid-size sedan with innovative all-wheel-drive system that delivers best-in-class efficiency
- Segment-exclusive, standard e-shift rotary knob connects driver and driveline with precision; enables available sport mode
- Modern, state-of-the-art engines power the Chrysler 200
- Standard 2.4-liter MultiAir®2 Tigershark I-4 producing 184 horsepower and 173 lb.-ft. of torque while contributing to estimated fuel economy improvements of 13 percent compared with the outgoing model
- Award-winning available 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine producing best-in-class 295 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque
- All-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is developed from Chrysler Group's Compact U.S.-wide (CUS-wide) platform – the basis for superior, smooth on-road performance
- Improved aerodynamics helps reduce noise, vibration and harshness while benefitting the fuel economy boost
Exquisite style meets exceptional performance. The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan leapfrogs expectations in the mid-size sedan segment for comfort, ride and handling. Engineered to provide premium driving dynamics, improved fuel economy, a quiet cabin and an enthusiastic driving experience, the all-new Chrysler 200 will surprise and delight drivers and passengers alike.
The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan represents an efficiency milestone, combining world- class engines with a groundbreaking standard nine-speed automatic transmission and available innovative new all-wheel-drive system that includes a "sport" driving mode and significantly reduces parasitic losses while delivering excellent performance in all driving conditions. With a world-class architecture and state-of-the-art technology, the new Chrysler 200 is engineered to exceed customer expectations in every category.
"Chrysler engineers used the latest technological advances combined with a passion for excellence when developing the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan," said Mitch Clauw, Vehicle Line Executive, C and D Segment Engineering - Chrysler Group LLC. "With an all-new body structure, a standard nine- speed transmission and an innovative all-wheel drive system, the 200 sedan has an amazing road presence and is so much fun to drive, we can't wait for our customers to get behind the wheel."
Engineered from the ground up
The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan was developed and engineered to exceed customer expectations for satisfaction, quality and reliability. FIAT Group architecture – complements of the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta – is the basis for the underpinnings of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200. The Giulietta is renowned for satisfying the most demanding customers in terms of exceptional driving dynamics and agility, and that DNA carries over to the all-new Chrysler 200 sedan.
The Giulietta's proven modular architecture means many models can be built using the same basic underpinnings. The result is better quality and reliability, as well as lower costs and less development time and tooling. The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is the third Chrysler Group vehicle in North America to utilize the Compact U.S. Wide (CUS-wide) architecture.
The common, modular and interchangeable components allow for modularity of the wheelbase, front track, rear track, front overhang, length and width across vehicle lines. The front-wheel drive platform was engineered to accommodate compact or mid-size vehicles, cars, CUVs or SUVs, as well as front- wheel drive, all-wheel drive or 4x4 drivelines.
The all-new 2015 Chrysler's body structure has a high-strength steel content of approximately 60 percent, among the highest in the industry. Hot stamped-, high-strength- and ultra-high-strength steel are used to construct a strong, lightweight, solid vehicle architecture.
The Chrysler 200's chassis was engineered to deliver sporty European handling dynamics and steering precision with ride and comfort characteristics tuned for North American roads, resulting in excellent handling for the driver with maximum comfort for both the driver and passengers.
The exceptional balance of fun-to-drive dynamics, ride comfort, emergency handling and a quiet cabin is accomplished through the suspension bushing tuning and the exceptional body structure, including the front aluminum cradle, rear upper/under body structure reinforcement and superior suspension attachment stiffness.
The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 features the proven MacPherson strut front suspension, which is renowned for its packaging efficiency and lightweight. Chrysler engineers specifically tuned the front suspension geometry to minimize camber loss, resulting in more responsive steering and handling characteristics and a smooth ride with little to no road noise – all qualities drivers will appreciate.
The stiffness and low weight of the front suspension helps reduce typical rolling noise, keeping the road noise where it belongs – on the road and out of the 200's passenger cabin.
Many key front-suspension components improve ride quality, durability and safety.
Ride quality is improved, in part, thanks to the use of:
- Split dome anti-sway bar that optimizes the exchange of forces between the suspension and body, filtering out vibrations
- Telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers with high lateral stiffness
- Solid half-shafts throughout the range that help reduce weight and vibration
- Side load coil springs that optimize the thrust axis and help transfer loads on the shock absorber to improve comfort
- High-strength springs
Durability and perceived vehicle quality are improved in part by:
- Spring isolators interposed between the springs and their support bases to eliminate running noise
- One-piece cast-aluminum lower control arms to enhance durability
A third load path, which provides additional safety benefits for drivers and passengers, is created with attachments on the cast-aluminum, flat cross member that are strong enough to absorb loads in the event of an impact. The flat cross member enhances vehicle rigidity.
The 2015 Chrysler 200's front suspension cradle is constructed of high-pressure, die-cast aluminum, which is lighter than more conventional front cradle applications. The cradle also is stiff, helping stop the transmission of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) into the passenger compartment, contributing to the 200 sedan's quiet interior.
A twist blade multi-link independent rear suspension enables European handling capability for those drivers who love to lean into corners and the smooth ride North American drivers covet.
Many key components of the rear suspension improve vehicle handling, reduce road noise and improve durability:
- Handling performance is improved, in part, thanks to the use of:
- An aluminum cross member with an optimized weight/stiffness ratio that improves the reaction to lateral loads
- A stabilizer bar with torsional stiffness that delivers sporty handling
- Bushings with stiffness characteristics that are designed to maximize handling
- Road and running noise is reduced through the use of:
- Spring isolators between the springs and their support bases
- Bushings with low dynamic stiffening ratios that minimize the noise levels transmitted from the road
- Vehicle durability is improved with the use of:
- Steel springs with high fatigue durability that allow for weight containment
- Chrome guide rods enable very long durability even under extreme use conditions
The rear suspension cradle is purposely isolated from the body, to reduce the transmission of NVH into the passenger compartment.
The 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan's all-season tires provide exceptional grip and balanced performance and contribute to the vehicle's excellent ride comfort. The standard 17-inch and available 19-inch tires were picked with an emphasis on fuel efficiency. The Chrysler 200S model's standard 18-inch tire puts a priority on steering and handling.
Exceptional handling on the road and in all weather conditions
The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 provides a choice of two drivelines for exceptional driving dynamics in all road and weather conditions, standard front-wheel drive or Chrysler's available innovative all-wheel drive (AWD) system. The 2015 Chrysler 200 is the first mid-size sedan to feature complete rear-axle disconnect, which reduces energy loss to improve fuel efficiency. The rear-axle disconnect seamlessly switches between front- and all-wheel drive for full-time torque management and does not require input from the driver.
"The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is a showcase of powertrain engineering," said Mircea Gradu, Vice President, Transmission, Powertrain, and Driveline Engineering - Chrysler Group LLC. "In addition to exhilarating performance, it delivers the deep satisfaction that comes with owning a dazzling car packed with pioneering technology."
The available all-wheel-drive system uniquely disconnects and reconnects the rear axle – automatically and seamlessly – as needed and at any speed.
On its own, the system accounts for a parasitic loss reduction of up to 80 percent compared with competitive part-time all-wheel-drive systems, which are limited by conventional technology.
The power transfer unit (PTU) and rear-drive module (RDM) are the lynchpins of the system, which proactively engage and then disengage depending on road and environmental conditions. This dramatically reduces spin losses.
As a result, components that would normally contribute to the greatest parasitic loss – driveshaft, ring/pinion, input clutch plates, servo-hydraulic pump assembly and planetary gear sets – are all stationary when the vehicle is in front-wheel drive.
When AWD is engaged, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan benefits from improved traction and enhanced driving dynamics. Sensors gather vehicle data that compel sophisticated algorithms to smoothly distribute torque fore and aft as required.
System triggers range from road-surface changes to electronic stability control (ESC) activation. As much as 60 percent of available torque can be transferred to the rear wheels, contributing to a total driving experience that inspires confidence and ignites passion.
The experience is further intensified when sport mode is engaged, leveraging the AWD system's full capabilities, the benefits of ESC and the unique character of the available award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine.
Sport Mode activation is achieved via the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan's segment-exclusive, standard, E-shift rotary dial. The stylish, console-mounted shifter functions electronically.
In sport mode, the all-new 200 sedan's drivetrain is configured to deliver all-wheel-drive when needed, with torque biased toward the rear. It also modifies the ESC's yaw response for more dynamic handling, while seamlessly adjusting the Pentastar V-6 engine's pedal map for livelier performance feel.
Most significantly, the shift schedule of the segment-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission is altered for firm, quick engagement – a level of responsiveness further intensified by paddle-shifter activation.
Segment-first nine-speed transmission, world-class engines
The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is the world's first mid-size sedan to feature a nine-speed automatic transmission, which comes standard.
The benefits of the advanced-technology transmission are manifested in a range of characteristics as wide as its 9.81 ratio spread. Most noticeably, the addition of more gear ratios optimizes both fuel economy and performance by precisely matching the gear state to the most efficient engine operating condition.
Paired with the standard 2.4-liter MultiAir®2 Tigershark I-4 engine, the all-new Chrysler 200's fuel- economy improves by up to 13 percent in highway driving, compared with outgoing 4-cylinder engine in the previous model.
When equipped with the available award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, which delivers best-in- class 295 horsepower, the all-new 200 sedan's highway fuel economy improves nearly seven percent compared with the outgoing model.
The high-tech transmission dispenses power smoothly for elevated refinement. Such performance is made possible because the ratio steps between its gears are smaller than those of other transmissions.
The nine-speed's first-gear ratio of 4.71 accommodates the superior low-end torque required for more aggressive launch performance. Six-speed automatic transmissions – the segment norm – offer first- gear ratios closer to 4.0.
The transmission ratios for the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan are:
1st – 4.71
2nd – 2.84
3rd – 1.91
4th – 1.38
5th – 1.00
6th – 0.81
7th – 0.70
Precise shift schedules combine with the transmission's four overdrive ratios to reduce overall NVH levels.
Owners will appreciate an innovative rotary e-shift dial that replaces the traditional console shifter. The exclusive rotary e-shift enables intuitive operation with a direct and confident feel. The convenient, center-mounted, easy-to-understand and operate system provides total control of the sophisticated nine-speed transmission. This new design allows easy shifting and also yields space for more functional and usable storage in the center console.
Fully electronic, the standard nine-speed automatic transmissions features on-the-fly shift map changing, with manual shifting capability via the available paddle shifters. More than 20 individual shift maps for very specific conditions optimize shift quality and shift points for fuel economy, performance and drivability. The intelligent software takes into account variables, such as engine torque gradients, kick down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, hill detection, friction detection and downshift detection to determine the appropriate shift map. Additional parameters integrated into the control strategy include vehicle speed control, electronic stability control interaction and temperature. The result is automatic shifting ideally attuned to the performance requirements of almost any driving condition.
Internally, the transmission has four planetary gear sets, two of which are nested for economical packaging. The transmission weighs approximately 30 pounds less than a six-speed gearbox designed for a similar duty cycle.
Of its six shift elements, which comprise four multi-disc clutches and two dog clutches, only three are open at any time. With fewer open shift elements, drag losses due to multiple rotating parts are reduced, further improving fuel efficiency.
Tale of the Tigershark
Efficiency and refinement also are hallmarks of Chrysler Group's 16-valve, 2.4-liter Tigershark
I-4 engine with the MultiAir2 electro-hydraulic fully variable valve-lift system. The high-tech engine, which comes standard in the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, churns out 184 horsepower and peak torque of 173 lb.-ft. at 4,600 rpm.
MultiAir technology, which is exclusive to Chrysler Group in North America, uses a column of oil in place of the traditional mechanical link between the camshaft and intake valves. The resulting precision maximizes intake manifold pressure, significantly reducing pumping losses.
MultiAir2 takes the innovation further by simultaneously controlling both valve opening and closing events to more effectively manage combustion quality. This ensures the appropriate, effective compression ratio and efficient internal exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) for improved fuel economy.
Refinement was a key consideration in the design of every Tigershark component, from its fully isolated aluminum head cover with integrated oil-separation system, to its high-pressure, die-cast aluminum block.
Sandwiched between the block and the steel oil pan is a lightweight, aluminum ladder frame with integral oil filter and oil cooler adapter. This lends additional structural rigidity.
The oil pan itself benefits from refinement. Acoustic material is sandwiched between its outer and inner stampings.
The Tigershark's polymer-coated piston skirts and tighter piston-to-bore tolerances contribute to reduced NVH. The cast-aluminum piston, combustion chamber and ports align with the MultiAir2 system for optimal combustion and fuel economy.
Cast-aluminum pistons with a compression ratio of 10:1 are designed specifically for the engine and MultiAir system.
Each bore is fitted with individual oil-squirters in the block that spray oil on the bottom of the pistons and bore walls to maintain cylinder-wall and piston temperatures. This feature also helps prevent hot spots that could lead to knock, while improving performance and fuel economy.
Fitted to the forged-steel crankshaft are new powder-forged-steel connecting rods that feature a full- floating piston pin with diamond-like carbon coating. This further reduces friction and improves fuel efficiency.
Vibration is minimized with the use of a balance shaft module. And to maintain adequate oiling at all engine speeds, the 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark features a two-stage oil-pressure relief system that reduces engine-oil pumping loads at low engine speeds for better fuel efficiency.
Other key features of the 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark I-4 engine include:
- 360-degree engine-to-transmission attachment
- Coil-on-plug ignition with dual precious-metal spark plugs
- Front-end accessory drive with automatic tensioning single-belt drive
- Similar to the Pentastar, the Tigershark delivers reduced operating costs because its cam drive, cam-phasing and valve-train components require no scheduled maintenance
Acclaimed for its power and refinement, the available 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine has been listed multiple times among Ward's 10 Best Engines. In the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, it boasts best-in-class 295 horsepower and generates peak torque of 262 lb.-ft. at 4,250 rpm.
Its defining feature: individual exhaust-manifold runners integrated into the aluminum cylinder-head casting. This not only reduces weight and produces packaging benefits, it increases manufacturing efficiency.
To boost fuel efficiency and volumetric efficiency across the torque band, the celebrated Pentastar V-6 engine boasts variable-valve timing (VVT) with dual-independent cam phasing.
The 24-valve engine's 10.2:1 compression ratio also aids in lowering fuel consumption and improves performance while the variable-displacement oil pump further maximizes fuel efficiency by reducing parasitic losses. The pump is programmed to operate as needed, staying in low-pressure mode below 3,500 rpm, and then bumping up pressure as demand follows engine-speed.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine features a centrifugal oil separator that reduces operating costs by cutting oil consumption.
Its cam drive and valve-train components require no scheduled maintenance. A 60-degree, deep-skirt, die-cast-aluminum cylinder block with six-bolt main caps affords optimal stiffness for mitigation of NVH.
Additional features that benefit NVH control are:
- A structural windage tray to complement block stiffness
- A structural aluminum oil pan
- Direct-mounted alternator and air conditioning compressor that increases stiffness
- Select-fit pistons with polymer-graphite-coated piston skirts
- "Silent chain" timing drive with inverted teeth for minimal sprocket contact
- Contoured composite cylinder-head covers
- Glass-reinforced nylon composite intake manifold
Further enhancing the Pentastar driving experience is the specially designed intake manifold, which features low-rumble tuning.
The Pentastar's benefits extend beyond the 2015 Chrysler 200's engine compartment to the environment. A unique paper cartridge replaces the conventional spin-on oil filter and can be incinerated.
Since its introduction in model-year 2011, Chrysler Group has produced more than three million 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engines that have provided customers with billions of miles of reliable service and driving enjoyment.
Power steering system
The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan's steering system is designed and engineered for the best performance for the driver in sporty driving conditions, as well as excellent handling and reduced effort during parking maneuvers. With a 15.2:1 steering ratio, the 2015 Chrysler 200 is one of the fastest- steering vehicles in the mid-size sedan segment.
The all-new 200 employs standard electric power steering (EPS). All of the power assist is provided via an electric motor system rather than a traditional hydraulic system. Because the system is fully electronic, the driver experiences optimal steering effort at all vehicle speeds, and there is less noise and better fuel efficiency since there is no parasitic loss from a power steering pump.
The boost, or assist, is variable and speed sensitive, responding to sensors monitoring steering torque, steering wheel speed and angle and vehicle speed. The steering system is fully integrated with the vehicle's ESC system and helps to compensate in split-traction, torque steer and pull-drift (crowned road) situations.
NVH and passenger comfort
Drivers and passengers will enjoy conversations when traveling in the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 complements of the available acoustic windshield and side glass, dash construction with inner and outer acoustic pads, and premium NVH insulation.
The 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan offers outstanding heating and cooling performance, including heat up, cool down and defrost, as well as quiet performance.
Engineers used Computational Fluid Dynamics to deliver just the right amount of airflow through the ductwork. A variable displacement condenser continually matches the requested cooling load, which keeps the system stable and helps it operate quietly and efficiently. The central unit doors of the system are electronic; there are no cables, so drivers and passengers experience a more consistent feel when the system is on.
The air outlets are adjusted with rack-and-pinion vein adjusters, which make them both feel pleasant to the touch and give a consistent feel when they're repositioned. Models equipped with automatic temperature control also include a humidity sensor, which creates an automatic defog capability.
By Chris Paukert
See also: 2015 Chrysler 200 sheds its frumpy past, V6 comes with AWD standard, Mopar opening Custom Shop at Cobo, Mopar celebrates 50 years of the 426 Hemi.