Chrysler picked desperate housewife Eva Longoria to help launch one of our favorite cars from day one, the Chrysler Imperial concept.
Like the great Imperials of Chrysler’s storied past, the 2006 Imperial concept vehicle is designed as Chrysler’s flagship, a luxury sedan that is elegant, provocative, aspirational, yet attainable.
"The Imperial’s exterior artfully blends a stately nobility, hand craftsmanship, and modern dynamic sculpture and proportion," says Mike Nicholas, principal exterior designer.
o realize the proportions the designers sought, the Imperial, mounted on a 123-inch wheelbase, is 17 inches longer and six inches higher than a 300 sedan. The roof was pulled rearward to enlarge the cabin as well as to create the luxury of length in side view. Most importantly, passengers sit nearly seven inches higher. Combined with the higher hood and deck and the large 22-inch aluminum wheels, this gives the Imperial the noble stance the designers envisioned.
The interior is characterized by the interplay of harmonious, expressively curving shapes in which the fuller forms of the instrument panel, door armrest and map pocket elements appear to "float" above sculpted recessed cavities. Even the seats seem to float above the floor. Their elliptically-curved bronze-and-burl side shields echo similar elements recessed into the full-length floor console.
"We wanted everything inside to be nested, fitted and hand-crafted," says Nick Malachowski, principal interior designer, "with every component subtly reinforcing the hand-sculpted look of the exterior."
This is a driver’s car, with a minimum of distracting gadgetry. A simple touch pad with intuitive controls, mounted close-by on the suspended center console armrest, permits the driver to adjust settings for radio, climate and navigation functions. The driver air bag/horn pad is 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 are two large circular pods encircling sculpted gauges rendered in satin with polished aluminum bezels. Reminiscent of earlier Imperials, the exquisitely-detailed gauge faces are deliberately designed to satisfy the soul as well as inform the mind.
Drawing on the rich heritage of its memorable predecessors and endowed with modern dynamic proportions, this newest Imperial, crafted with a nobility of stance and purpose, is the finest expression of the Chrysler marque.