|2015 Chrysler 200. Click to enlarge.|
Chrysler introduced the revamped new 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan at the Detroit Auto Show. The mid-size sedan segment is one of the largest segments in North America, with more than 2 million sales annually. The 200 is the industry’s first mid-size sedan with a standard nine-speed automatic transmission, which enables expected highway fuel economy ratings of 35 mpgUS (6.7 l/100 km) when coupled with the 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark I-4 engine.
The standard Tigershark engine delivers 184 horsepower (137 kW) and 173 lb-ft (235 N·m) of torque, equating to horsepower improvements of 6% and torque improvements of 10% compared with the outgoing four-cylinder engine, with an overall fuel economy improvement of 13%. In addition to the standard 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark I-4 engine, a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is available, which delivers 295 horsepower (220 kW) and 262 lb-ft (355 N·m) of torque.
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
Cam drive, cam-phasing and valve-train components require no scheduled maintenance
Architecture. Fiat Group architecture—complements of the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta—is the basis for the underpinnings of 2015 Chrysler 200. 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 2015 Chrysler 200 is the third Chrysler Group vehicle in North America to utilize the Compact US 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 2015 Chrysler 200’s body structure has a high-strength steel content of approximately 60%, 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 200 features the proven MacPherson strut front suspension. 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. The stiffness and low weight of the front suspension helps reduce typical rolling noise.
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.
All-wheel drive with complete rear-axle disconnect. The 2015 Chrysler 200 provides a choice of two drivelines: standard front-wheel drive or Chrysler’s available 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.
On its own, the system accounts for a parasitic loss reduction of up to 80% 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 significantly 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% of available torque can be transferred to the rear wheels.
The experience is further intensified when sport mode is engaged, leveraging the AWD system’s full capabilities, the benefits of ESC and the 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 E-shift rotary dial. In sport mode, the 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.
9-speed. 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.
With the Tigershark engine coupled to the 9-speed, fuel economy improves by 13%. When equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, the all-new 200 sedan’s highway fuel economy improves nearly 7% 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:
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.
Internally, the transmission has four planetary gear sets, two of which are nested for economical packaging. The transmission weighs approximately 30 pounds (13.6 kg) less than a six-speed gearbox designed for a similar duty cycle. Of its six shift elements—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.
The rotary dial electronic shifting is also a segment first.
Safety and security. The 200 offers a comprehensive array of driver-warning and assist systems and advanced restraints—more than 60. The new 2015 200 features multiple segment-exclusive features, which utilize sensing elements that leverage available ultrasonic, radar, camera and other technologies for a 360-degree view of the road. Segment-exclusive available features include:
Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus: that under certain circumstances and without driver intervention, can bring the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 to full stop.
Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus: a Chrysler Group first that provides autonomous braking and, under certain circumstances, slows or brings the vehicle to a full stop when a frontal collision appears imminent.
LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus: introduces steering-wheel input as well as a warning message in the instrument cluster to alert the driver of inadvertent lane departure and assist with corrective action.
ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist: which uses ultrasonic sensors to guide the driver into parking spaces. The perpendicular park assist function is a segment first.
Also unique to the 2015 Chrysler 200 is the standard electronic park brake with Safe Hold, which secures the vehicle if the driver opens the door and unlatches the seat belt while forward or reverse gears are still engaged.
Other standard and available features include electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, ParkSense rear backup sensors, ParkView rear backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, Rear Crosspath Detection and LATCH child seat anchors. In addition, the all-new 200 is constructed with approximately 60% advanced-technology steel, which contributes to a strong safety cage and robust crashworthiness.
Manufacturing. The Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant (SHAP), home of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, is the beneficiary of a $1-billion investment including an all-new advanced paint shop and a new fully robotic body shop.
The 1,000,000-square-foot body shop features fully robotic assembly for precise fit and finish. More than 1,000 new robots in the new body shop enable precisely crafted features, such as the laser-brazed roof and trunk deck lid joints and consistent fits on every car.
The all-new paint shop features state-of-the art technologies that offer customers a beautiful palette of exterior colors from which to choose while reducing costs and the environmental impact of the paint operations. The 180-degree “rotisserie” rotating carriers ensure the best sealant coverage of all seams in the vehicle. Lasers check that the sealant is applied properly and in the right locations.
Fully robotic paint booths, and the “Round Robot” paint concept where three of the four robots paint a vehicle while the fourth is cleaned and serviced, enable world-class paint coverage for every vehicle. Each robot’s applicators are cleaned every two to three hours enabling a consistent level of high-quality paint on every vehicle built.
SHAP utilizes a powder primer paint system for the 2015 Chrysler 200, which saves cost and reduces the impact to the environment by utilizing 97% of all powder. This is achieved by recirculation of the powder.
The all-new paint shop is a “clean” facility, rivaling clean lab environments with dust and contamination control for a better quality paint. Emu feathers dust the vehicles prior to paint application. De-ionization releases the dust from the feathers after each car is dusted, reducing potential contamination prior to paint.
The 2015 Chrysler 200 is available in four different models in the United States and will arrive in volume in dealer showrooms in the second quarter, 2014. Customers can choose from the 2015 Chrysler 200 LX model, Chrysler Limited model, Chrysler 200S model and the premium Chrysler 200C.
The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 has a starting US Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $21,700 (excluding $995 destination).