The Eagle Premier was a full-size automobile developed by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) and Renault partnership, inherited by Chrysler Corporation when it acquired AMC in 1987, and marketed from 1987 through 1992. A rebadged variant was also marketed as the Dodge Monaco from 1990 to 1992.
In 1982 American Motors and Renault, a major shareholder in AMC since 1979, began work on a new full-size front-drive passenger car, code named X-58, for introduction in late-1986. A companion two-door coupe, code named X-59, was to debut for the 1988 model year.These were to be the first large cars sold by AMC since 1978, a position in their model range traditionally occupied by the Nash and AMC Ambassador models since the 1930s, and were designed for the automaker to offer a broader product offer in the marketplace.
Rather than engineer a completely new chassis for the Premier the then-new Renault 25's monocoque underpinnings were used as a basis and adapted for the new product. Using the Renault 25 chassis the suspension was derived from the Renault Medallion (Renault 21). The suspension featured a four-wheel independent system with MacPherson struts at the front wheels and two torsion bars at each rear wheel, with stabilizer bars in both front and rear.
The exterior by Giorgietto Giugiaro's Italdesign was picked over other concepts generated by AMC's own styling department and other independent firms. The Premier's body's drag coefficient of 0.31 is slightly lower than the 1986 Ford Taurus that was well known for its aerodynamic shape. The Premier's body was finished using a baked enamel clearcoat for all the available colors. The body was covered by a 7-year, 100,000-mile (160,934 km) warranty. The car's trunk capacity was also large, offering 16.3 cu ft (462 l) of cargo space.
The Eagle also featured new technology to improve luminous efficiency of its headlamp system, afford greater styling freedom, and having a rectangular frontal aspect. The 1987 Eagle Premier was one of the first cars featuring Valeo headlamps with nonparabolic, complex-surface reflector headlamps with optic lenses.
Stretched in all dimensions, the Premier provided more interior room than any of its contemporaries. The interior was an all-new design by AMC's in-house staff under the direction of Richard A. Teague. It also included features that were considered unique at the time. The instrument panel featured "a heavy dose of electronics", with all driver controls housed within a fingertip distance from the steering wheel. For cars equipped with bench seats, an unusual dash mounted gear selector used a thin metal lever at the end of which was a grip handle; instead if the gear selector shifting downward in the traditional fashion, the lever dropped into the dash pod in which it was mounted. The climate controls used an unusual up-down button that cycled through the different heating modes, indicated by an array of lights. All of these controls were housed in a control panel on the right side of the steering column. On the left side of the column another control contained the light and windshield wiper controls. The turn signal control was also electronic returning to its centered position immediately after a driver signaled a turn, and a gong indicated its cancellation after completing a turn. The optional cruise control was built into the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Other features included intermittent wipers, as well as automatic variable-speed that adjusted wiper speed to the amount of water that hit the windshield; with less moisture, the slower they would move, but increasing their action if a passing truck splashed the windshield with a large amount of water. Standard on all Premiers was an electronically tuned stereo sound system.
There was a choice of two powertrains. Eschewing the Renault 25's French-built four-cylinder engines, the base Premier LX trim featured a standard 2.5 L AMC four-cylinder engine. Featuring electronically controlled throttle-body fuel injection, it developed a peak power output of 111 hp (83 kW; 113 PS) and 142 pound-feet (193 N·m) of torque at 1400 rpm, and was coupled to a new electronically controlled four-speed automatic gearbox, developed by ZF Friedrichshafen. Fuel economy for the base model was EPA estimated at 22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg-imp) in the city and 31 mpg-US (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg-imp) on the highway, giving it a 527-mile (848 km) cruising range with the 17 US gal (64 L; 14 imp gal) gas tank. Optional in the LX and standard in ES models was a 3.0 L version of the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) V6 engine, fitted with multiple port fuel injection, producing peak power and torque figures of 150 hp (112 kW; 152 PS) and 171 lb·ft (232 N·m). Factory acceleration estimates from standstill to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) were 11.5 seconds with the four-cylinder, and 10 seconds with the six. Fuel efficiency was rated at 18 mpg-US (13 L/100 km; 22 mpg-imp) for the city and 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km; 32 mpg-imp) on the highway. The Premier's powertrains were covered by a 7-year, 70,000-mile (112,654 km) warranty, which was longer than offered by any of the competitors at the time.
"Considered by some the most sophisticated car in Chrysler's lineup", the Eagle Premier offers an "incredible 122 cubic feet of interior room; almost unheard of for a mid-sized passenger car" along with "European handling".The Premier was "final offspring of the AMC-Renault marriage" and the new car entered the marketplace "well endowed in just about every department. It has the most powerful conventional engines in its field, state-of-the-art electronics with a first-ever feature, and is made in the newest assembly plant in the world."
The Premier was initially to be called the Renault Premier (mid-1987 production left the factory with Renault badging, and Eagle had to indicate this difference in its dealer information brochures and videos) in fitting with the other Renault products co-designed with and built by AMC for sale in North America (Alliance & Encore). It was to have been the first body-style in a series of three, along with a four-door wagon and a two-door coupe, named Renault Allure. After Chrysler purchased AMC from Renault, the wagon and coupe body styles were cancelled as was a planned Premier DL model featuring a five-speed manual gearbox. The car was renamed Eagle Premier, the new marque taking its name from AMC’s last product.
The interior of the LX featured standard six-passenger seating, with reclining 55/45 split front bench seats along with a rear seat that included a fold-down center armrest. Map pockets were standard in the front seat backs. The standard four-speed automatic transmissions were operated using a column shifter. The ES models included lower bodyside cladding, a firmer suspension and larger "touring" tires, as well as individual front bucket seats with adjustable see-through headrests and a full-length console with center armrest. The ES models had seating for five adults. The front buckets seats were optional in the LX, and a console mounted gear shift was optional in both LX and ES.