2011 Chrysler 200 Begins its Striptease, Puts the Sebring to Rest

Chrysler began the tease-y reveal of a few new models that are essential to its survival. Following the Fiat 500 and the facelifted Town & Country minivan, next up is the refreshed, renamed, and Sebring-replacing Chrysler 200.

For 2011 the mid-size Chrysler gets enough new stuff to earn itself a brand new name to go along with its gangsta big brother: 200. See a similarity? You should, because Chrysler has finally gotten on the ball with family names.

The car formerly known as Sebring gets "virtually every system" replaced or improved for 2011, and hopefully more than just a few styling cues from 2009's 200C concept.

Exterior improvements include the new Chrysler grille, as well as fenders, front/rear fascias, hood, mirrors and decklid. From that list, it sounds as if all that's carrying over are the roof and doors, items the Sebring didn't make ugly.

Projector headlights and fog lamps round out the upgrades in front, while LEDs are incorporated out back in the taillights and third brake light.

Under the hood, the Sebring will finally compete with other modern players in the segment. The 2.4 liter engine still trudges on with a base 4-speed automatic (tsk, tsk), but also gains a 6-speed automatic as an option. To make up for that fleet-friendly 4-speed automatic, the big engine option in the 200 - likely standard in a highline 200C - will be a 283-horsepower / 260 lb-ft Pentastar V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic.

Ride quality and comfort should be drastically improved by using a new suspension geometry, rear sway bar, laminated glass (windshield and front doors), and "stiffened body mounts and softer ride rate." Inside, consumers can expect to see new seats, a dash/instrument panel with snazzier bezels / gauges / vents, and plenty of soft-touch surfaces.

The 2011 Chrysler 200 will be built at the company's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan and should be on dealer lots by the fourth quarter of this year. Expect more news as it becomes available.

By Phil Alex