The project was launched at the Paris Air Show on July 13, 1999, at which time it was called the Bombardier Continental. It was a "clean sheet" design, assembled in Bombardier's Learjet plant at Wichita Mid-Continent airport, Kansas. The jet was renamed in September 2002 after much debate about which category (Learjet, Challenger, or Global) the new aircraft fit into. It entered commercial service in January 2004.
On May 20, 2013 Bombardier announced the Challenger 350, an improved version of the 300, and promised to begin deliveries in May 2014 at a price of $25.9 million. The Honeywell HTF7350 powered Challenger 350 first flew on March 2, 2013.