Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s vice president of design, had previously promised the new 2015 Chrysler 200 would “look unlike any Chrysler we’ve ever seen.” He wasn’t kidding, even if the new 200 doesn’t seem very radical in these photographs. Thin, tapered headlamps – accented with L-shaped LED elements along their lower edges – seamlessly carry into a very thin grille opening, which is adorned with Chrysler’s winged emblem. That grille pales in size compared to the lower air intake, which is rimmed with a chrome surround on this particular model, and flanked by long, rounded fog lamp assemblies on both sides.
The 2015 Chrysler 200’s windshield is more steeply raked than the car it replaces, but the biggest change is the roofline, which now flows gently into a stubby decklid. The side window daylight opening ends by kicking up into the C-pillars, a cue shared with no other current Chrysler model. The roofline may be reminiscent of cars like the 2014 Chevrolet Impala and the 2014 Lincoln MKZ, but it’s certainly far more elegant than the stubby two-box form employed by the current 2014 Chrysler 200. A scalloped light kicker placed above the 2015 Chrysler 200’s rockers, coupled with what appears to be a substantial shoulder along the front and rear fenders, helps add some depth and distinction to the car’s side view.
Our spy photographer also managed to peek inside a different 2015 Chrysler 200 prototype in the light of day and photograph its interior. The flowing gauge cluster and door panels seem to be in keeping with recent Chrysler design trends, but the center stack, which breaks its controls into two different arrays, is different. Chrysler’s Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system – either the basic 5-inch unit shown here or the larger 8.4-inch screen — dominates the upper section, while redundant physical controls for climate and audio systems are placed into an angled lower bank, which also incorporates a rotary shift knob and an electronic parking brake release.
Beneath the surface, the 2015 Chrysler 200, which is known within as the UF project, rides upon a modified version of the Fiat-derived Compact US-Wide (CUSW) platform, which also underpins both the 2013 Dodge Dart sedan and the 2014 Jeep Cherokee crossover. Details on the new 200 are scarce at this point in time, but the vehicle is expected to be offered with Chrysler’s TigerShark 2.4-liter four-cylinder, along with 3.2-liter and 3.6-liter variants of the Pentastar V-6. A variant from Chrysler’s forthcoming Hurricane engine family, which is expected to displace somewhere close to 2.0- to 2.2 liters, may be added to the range at a later date. The aforementioned rotary gearshift knob is a pretty good indicator that the 2015 Chrysler 200 will be offered with the new nine-speed automatic transmission, which was developed in partnership with ZF and made its production debut in the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
Although these shots only show the new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan, a new 200 convertible was once slated for development. If that model is still on track, expect it to debut shortly after production of the 2015 200 sedan commences at Chrysler’s facility in Sterling Heights, Michigan. A Lancia-badged version for Europe is a safe bet, although it remains to be seen if the European-market variant gains any unique and substantial styling cues.
We won’t be waiting long for further details on Chrysler’s new midsize sedan, as the 2015 Chrysler 200 is expected to make its formal debut at the 2014 Detroit auto show in January.