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Chrysler hasn’t forgotten the middleman.
In the past couple of years, the company has introduced a new Neon, a range of reworked minivans, four-door pickup trucks and the 300M/LHS/Concorde family of super-sized luxury sedans. But the heart of its lineup was beginning to lose the beat set by newer offerings from Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
Chrysler is hoping to change that scenario with a new trio of Sebrings. At March’s Geneva Motor Show, they debuted the first of their midsizers — the Sebring four-door sedan, formerly known as the Cirrus. At this week’s New York Auto Show, Chrysler unveiled the other two members of the Sebring family —a coupe and convertible to accompany the sedan.
Both the Sebring sedan and convertible are now being built in Chrysler’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant, while the coupe is constructed in Normal, Ill., alongside its under-the-skin twin, the Mitsubishi Eclipse. All will be on sale by the fall of 2000.
This is where it all began. The Sebring Coupe was the first in the family to be introduced, and now in its second generation, it still shares its underpinnings with Mitsu’s Eclipse coupe.
Sebring CoupeEnlarge Photo
The new design smooths out the narrow-windowed look of the previous coupe into a muscular design with more bits in common with the 300M sports sedan and other Chrysler models. With the new shape comes much better body rigidity, too – by some measures, 90 percent better, Chrysler says.
The standard engine on the coupe is a 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder with 147 hp. A 3.0-liter V-6 with 200 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque is optional. Both are available with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission. V-6-powered models also can be equipped with AutoStick, Chrysler’s shift-it-yourself automatic transmission.