Chrysler introduced a shapely new low-slung sports coupe for 2004. Considered the first tangible result of the DaimlerChrysler merger, the Crossfire is built in partnership with Karmann in Germany. The Crossfire's bodysides are relatively tall, but glass surfaces are minimal. Either a six-speed-manual gearbox or five-speed-automatic teams with the standard 215-horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6.
A soft-top Crossfire Roadster joined the original coupe in spring 2004 as an early 2005 model. High-performance SRT6 editions of both body styles, propelled by a 330-hp supercharged engine, debuted in late summer.
(Skip to details on the: Crossfire Roadster | Crossfire SRT6)
The Crossfire's styling is a blend of edges and subtle curves. A center spine runs the full length of the coupe and serves as a dominant design feature.
A signature winged Chrysler badge up front ps the upper width of the chrome grille. The headlights have double circular elements that carve their way into the front fascia. Six grooves run the full length of the long hood. Metallic-finished side air louvers highlight the bodysides. The rear wheels are 19 inches in diameter, while the front ones measure 18 inches.
Wide rear fenders end in large, sculpted taillights above dual exhaust pipes. A tapered boat-tail shape highlights the rear end, which emphasizes the large rear wheels, tires and fender. A retractable spoiler activates when the Crossfire reaches 50 mph. Riding a 94.5-inch wheelbase, the Crossfire coupe stands 51.5 inches tall.
Only two occupants can fit inside the Crossfire's two-toned twin-cockpit interior. A metallic center console flows from the top of the instrument panel through the center of the car.
The seats are trimmed in either cloth or leather upholstery. The ignition switch is on the instrument panel. White-on-black gauges have a chrome trim ring.
Under the Hood
The Crossfire's 3.2-liter V-6 generates 215 hp and 229 pounds-feet of torque. Either a six-speed-manual gearbox or an adaptive AutoStick five-speed-automatic transmission can be installed.
Side-impact airbags, all-disc antilock brakes and an Electronic Stability Program are standard.
Exhibiting truly sporty behavior with tight, precise handling, the Crossfire clings to the pavement. Big tires pay off in curves, and body lean is minimal. Steering takes a bit of effort.
The Crossfire's suspension manages to suppress most bumps and depressions. Even though performance is vigorous, engine power is less than overwhelming. The automatic transmission responds masterfully and rapidly for quick passing.
The seats are terrific — sporty, but well-cushioned and supportive. Headroom is good, but elbowroom is tighter. The Crossfire runs quietly, but a semi-sporty exhaust note can be heard at times. Noise from the automatically rising spoiler can be annoying.
Introduced as an early 2005 model, the soft-top version of the Crossfire uses the same powertrain components as the coupe. The front ends in both models are identical, and the body styles share taillamps and a rear fascia. New elements for the Crossfire Roadster include a deck lid, rear spoiler and hard tonneau cover. Like the coupe, the Roadster flaunts a boat-tail appearance, though it's different in profile.
After loosening and raising the roof by several inches, it takes 22 seconds for the powered fabric top to retract all the way. Cargo space totals 6.5 cubic feet with the top up and 3.6 cubic feet with the roof lowered.
Satin silver sport bars go behind the seats. The tires are amply sized — P225/40ZR18 up front and P255/35ZR19 in back — but they yield a softer ride than the coupe's tires. Custom luggage is standard in the Limited model. Aero Blue is a new body color.
Other than its dramatic styling, agile handling is the Roadster's main attraction; it yields a sense of total control. Featuring superior steering feel, the car reacts almost instantaneously on twisty roads. Despite an unabashedly taut suspension, the ride is reasonably smooth — not gentle, but far short of punishing. Like the coupe, acceleration from a standstill with the manual transmission is energetic — and almost so when passing or merging.
Top-up visibility is awful, making mirror use essential when changing lanes. Wind rush is notable with the top down, which might detract a bit from the fun-in-the-sun factor. The seats are marvelous, but some controls aren't positioned where you'd expect them. Back to top
Responding to concerns about a shortage of horsepower in the Crossfire, Chrysler introduced new race-inspired SRT6 editions of both the coupe and Roadster for 2005. Rather than the usual 215-hp V-6, SRT6 models are equipped with a supercharged 3.2-liter V-6 that produces 330 hp and 310 pounds-feet of torque. That's enough power for a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of about 5 seconds, according to Chrysler.
The SRT6's five-speed-automatic transmission incorporates AutoStick manual gear selection. A performance-tuned suspension features increased spring rates. Styling touches include a fixed rear spoiler and an integrated chin spoiler. Aluminum alloy 15-spoke wheels hold 18-inch front and 19-inch rear tires. Race-inspired seats are trimmed in Nappa Pearl Leather with Alcantara suede inserts. Back to top
Cars.com Expert Reviews
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|Anita And Paul Lienert||The Detroit Newspapers||November 17, 2004|
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|Royal Ford||Boston.com||September 5, 2004|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||August 4, 2004|
|Bob Golfen||AZCentral.com||June 19, 2004|
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|Kristin Varela||Mother Proof||June 16, 2004|
|Anita And Paul Lienert||The Detroit News||April 28, 2004|
|Paul Lienert||The Detroit News||April 14, 2004|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||March 28, 2004|
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