Most of what's new in the 2011 Chrysler 200 will be recognized right away by your eyeballs and your fingertips. The Sebring's scars and warts are just...gone. Chrysler's altered every body panel, save for the roof and the doors, and as a result, the 200's calmer lines and surfaces let your brain relax long enough to absorb all its well-played details.
The slight changes are very effective. From the nose on, the 200's grille is more appealing and less warlike than the one on the Sebring. From the rear, the new taillights are faired in with casual grace. Compare the sideviews, and you'll recall the Sebring somewhat, though Chrysler's masked the carryover door cutouts with new skins. The single detail that calls attention to the transformation in the least skillful way, in fact, is the plastic "200" badge at the rear door's sail panel. It looks like a very late addition, and it's affixed in a place where a few lines meet in a compromised way.
Of course, the roofline's no problem in the 200 Convertible--until you raise the optional retractable hardtop. With the standard fabric roof, the 200 Convertible doesn't have the complex set of cutlines you get with the metal-hardtop model. Frankly, the folding hardtop doesn't look very good when it's up, but when it's tucked away the Sebring looks almost dashing.
Inside, the 200 proves that interiors are the easiest way to sell--or ruin--a car. The Sebring's multi-grain cockpit lacked any sense of upscale look or feel. In its place, the new 200 dash is a fantastic mix of tight, low-gloss plastic that gives to the touch, and thin metallic highlights that ring the major driver-control areas simply and subtly. There's even a rounded clock that mimics the shape of the grille, studded in the center of the dash. Just one or two unwelcome relics reconnect the 200 to the Sebring, tiny but noticeable details like the the green-lit displays that indicate gear choice and trip functions. They're unappealing, and they're located almost out of sight for taller drivers.