Like the great Chrysler Imperials of the past, the 2006 Chrysler Imperial Concept was designed as Chrysler’s halo luxury sedan. Using the same elements of past models, the Imperial was designed to be elegant, provocative, and attainable.
Although, many people believe that the 2006 Chrysler Imperial Concept looks very similar to a Rolls Royce. However, the Chrysler Design Studio said that it used the inspiration from classic Imperials of the 1930s, 1950s, and even the 1980s, but also creative concept cars like the 1955 Chrysler Falcon Concept and the 1952 Chrysler d’Elegance Concept by Ghia. After looking at those concepts, you will understand the big center grille and the proportion of a big bold powerful rear-wheel-drive American car of the past.
A similar-sharped line raised up over the front wheel and flowed rearward, falling slightly as it moved into the doors. The Chrysler Design Studio wanted the Imperial to look as if it was hand-sculpted in the same tradition as the custom coach-built LeBaron bodies of the 1920s through 1950s.
Principal Exterior Designer for the Imperial Concept, Mike Nicholas said, “The Imperial’s exterior artfully blends a stately nobility, hand craftsmanship, and modern dynamic sculpture and proportion.”
To make the Imperial a true executive coach-built like sedan, the Chrysler team took the Chrysler 300’s LX platform and stretched the wheelbase 3 inches to 123 inches in total. The overall length of the Imperial was 17 inches longer and 6 inches taller than a 2006 Chrysler 300C sedan. The roof was pulled rearward to help enlarge the cabin as well as to create a more luxury car feel inside. Even the passenger seats sat 7 inches higher than the standard Chrysler 300, proving a true commanding feel of the road (like a full-size pickup or SUV).
The Imperial Concept also featured a higher hood and deck design the 2006 Chrysler 300C and with a set of large 22-inch aluminum wheels, the Imperial had a whole different stance than the 300.
The front end of the Imperial Concept has a V-shaped front end dominated by that massive grille design. Composed of narrow linear elements of brushed and polished aluminum, the grille featured the signature Chrysler winged logo but with a more V-shape to go along with the Imperial’s front end shape. A polished molding, extending from the grille header to the base of the windshield, bisected the raised hood plane and looked like it would open from the sides – but it opens conventionally.
The Imperial Concept features polished aluminum parabolic pods housing projector-beam headlights. Each headlamp is highlighted in individual free-standing housings, trying to help pull design elements from Chrysler of the 1930s and early 1960s. At the back, the Imperial utilized individual circular taillights with floating outer rings combined with modern LED lighting with a look of “gunsights” like Imperials of the past. A separate slender LED light units help provide lighting for the park, turning, and reversing light functions.
One of the highlights of the “Chrysler Bronze” colored exterior was the addition of French doors. The absence of the customary B-pillar allowed for a dramatic entrance for passengers entering the vehicle. The monochromatic bronze color was offset by the four-passenger cabin’s two-toned interior done in rich Bay Brown and buttery Birch Creme. Helping to invite passengers into the cabin was a world of supple leather and soft suede complimented by California burl wood and metallic-like accents rendered in a lustrous warm bronze.
Imperial Principal Interior Designer, Nick Malachowski said, “We wanted everything inside to be nested, fitted, and hand-crafted with every component subtly reinforcing the hand-sculpted look of the exterior.”
Aimed as a driver’s car, the team made the interior absent of non-necessary and distracting gadgetry. A simple touchpad with intuitive controls mounted close-by on the suspended center console armrest, permitted the driver to adjust settings for radio, climate, and navigation functions. The driver airbag/horn pad was fixed, allowing the radio and cruise-control switches to remain settled in the same position regardless of the turning steering wheel. Boldly bisecting the uncluttered floating wood-and-bronze instrument panel were two large circular pods encircling sculpted gauges rendered in satin with polished aluminum bezels. Reminiscent of earlier Imperials, the exquisitely-detailed gauge faces were deliberately designed to satisfy the soul as well as inform the mind.
Since the windshield glass was carried up onto the mid-point of the roof, front-seat occupants enjoyed a comprehensive view of the passing scene. All glass had a distinctive bronze tint to harmonize with the car’s color palette. Rear passengers could recline their individual seats while watching different movies, thanks to the console-mounted dual-view entertainment screen and wireless headsets. The rear seat headsets were stored in the package tray at the touch of a button when not needed.
Finally, there was the luxury of expressive illumination inspired by the artistry and elegance found in modern interior architecture. LED lighting, placed behind the “floating” elements of the instrument panel and doors, was used to enhance the sculptural elements of the interior. LED lights also provided indirect cove lighting for the headliner, which in addition offered the choice of electroluminescent-lit fabric or directed-beam spotlights located in the overhead console.
Powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 from the Chrysler 300C, the HEMI delivered 340 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. Power was sent to the rear wheels thanks to an A580 5-speed automatic transmission. Chrysler estimated that the Imperial could run from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and the standard 1/4-mile in 14.5 seconds.
There is no doubt Chrysler could have had a unique true halo luxury vehicle for its lineup if the Imperial Concept would have made it into production. Instead, Chrysler opted to build a long-wheelbase version of the Chrysler 300 in 2007 using the same wheelbase as the Imperial. That car was offered to fleets and was called the “300 Executive Series”.
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2006 Chrysler Imperial Concept Image Gallery: