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Intent on raising its market profile and increasing its share of the critical midsize sedan segment, Chrysler gave its Sebring four-door a much needed makeover for the new season and marked the transition by officially renaming it the 2011 Chrysler 200. Making its debut at the LA Auto Show, this comprehensively recast package benefits from numerous cosmetic and functional enhancements, in addition to gaining a closer nominal alignment with the division's senior "300" series models.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

A new look and feel

Although basic body structure carries over, the 2011 Chrysler 200 benefits from comprehensive nose and tail tweaks that bring more aggressively styled fascias and fenders, a bolder grille, projector-beam headlights, LED tail lamps and the division's new-design Chrysler badging. Two engines will motivate the 2011 Chrysler 200. The base 2.4-iter four-cylinder World Engine, rated at 173 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft. of torque, can be linked to either a four-speed or six-speed automatic transmission. Chrysler's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 replaces the old 3.5-liter engine at the top of the range, and ships its 283 ponies and 260 lb.-ft. of twist to the front wheels solely via the six-speed autoshifter. Sometime in 2011, Chrysler will begin offering the 200 with a new dual-clutch six-speed trans, the first major component that will be supplied by its parent company Fiat.

While no acceleration estimates were offered for either engine, with 20 percent more power and 12 percent more torque on hand than before, any Chrysler 200 with the new Pentastar six is certain to enjoy a serious straightline advantage over its Sebring-badged predecessor. On the ride and handling front, the 2011 Chrysler 200's chassis tuning also underwent a major revamp that included everything from revised suspension geometry and tuning, a lowered ride height and increased track dimensions to a more positive steering feel and new, even wider tire fitments.

The cabin of the newly re-minted 200 Sedan has undergone an equally meaningful upgrading regimen. A new one-piece dash sports redesigned instruments and displays that provide a classier appearance and greater functionality. Upgraded cloth and leather choices add more of a premium look and feel, which is suitably reinforced by an increased number of soft-touch surfaces. Chrysler engineers also made major changes aimed at reducing ambient noise levels in the passenger compartment, not the least of which included the fitment of acoustic laminated glass in the 200's windshield and front door windows.

The 2011 Chrysler 200 Sedan is set to arrive in dealers later this year, and will soon be joined by a similarly renamed/recast 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible. Pricing on the new 2011 Chrysler 200 four-door will start at $19,995 for the entry-level LX, with the 200 Touring opening at $21,995 and the 200 Limited commanding $24,495. No price has yet been released on a late-arriving and range-topping "S" variant.

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