Hi there! I just discovered these forums after hanging out on the Car and Driver forums for a while. Nice to see a dedicated 300C forum! Anyway, thought I'd share my story.
I always thought I would buy nothing but BMW (currently driving a 110k mile 92 325i manual), and I always figured my next car would be an M3. But I've had my eye on the 300 ever since I first saw it in the car magazines. I always liked the styling and the concept; big engine, RWD, supposedly first-rate quality (ala Mercedes), and inexpensive. The only problem was the lack of a manual trans.
So anyway, I went on vacation to Hawaii, and as I'm heading towards the rental car office, I noticed a few 300's in the lot. I pointed them out to my wife and said "I hope we get one of those!" She said "yeah right..." To my surprise, we got one by default! I didn't even have to ask! I instantly loved it. It was a Limited with the bigger V6, leather, and plenty of options. Anyway, we tooled around in it in Hawaii for a while and I just grew to love it more and more. It handled pretty well and was VERY smooth over bumps. I was really surprised at the quality feeling of the car. The interior switchgear felt a lot like my boss's '99 AMG C43. Much higher quality than anything else I've ever driven besides the Mercedes. I was really surprised by this, especially given that it's an American car.
I decided to get one as soon as we got back to the mainland. I figured I would get the 300C, since you can never have too much power, right? Since this is my first new-car purchase, I figured I would only get exactly the car that I want. 300C, black on black (or dark gray, in the case of the 300C), with only the stereo upgrade option. I didn't want to pay extra for a bunch of options that I would never use, like the Nav system.
I live in the Bay Area, so I have lots of dealers to choose from. I called around and NOBODY had a black 300C! Forget about options, I couldn't even find one in my color. I asked all of the dealers to call me as soon as they got a black one in stock, but they said that they would charge a $1k to $10k premium for the car. Yes, you heard that right, up to $10k over sticker for the car! So I went to my local dealer and he said the best thing to do is just order it, and wait 6-10 weeks. He would charge me sticker, nothing more, nothing less. So that's what I did.
I now have a black on black 300C with only the stereo upgrade on order. Should be here in 6-10 weeks as of last Tuesday. My dealer said that mine should go faster because I didn't order the sunroof. He said the sunroof option is holding up many of his orders, and that mine might actually come through in 6 weeks.
Anyway, just thought I'd share. I can't wait!
PS I have a couple of questions about the car. As I mentioned, I'm getting the Sound Group II upgrade. How is the subwoofer? How does it sound? Is it just a big box in the trunk, or is it integrated into the car somehow? Also, with Sound Group II and no Nav, will I get the LCD display screen in the dash, or just the regular display like on the base-level stereo?
PPS Here's a little Photoshop I did on the 300C wallpaper. Looks a lot better, IMO!