The Car Connection Chrysler Crossfire Overview
The Chrysler Crossfire was a two-door, two-seat coupe or convertible built from the 2004 to 2008 model years. A derivative of the Mercedes-Benz SLK, the Crossfire was assembled for Chrysler by coachbuilding firm Karmann.
The Crossfire gave Chrysler a much-needed sportscar to liven up its practical lineup, and from its debut as a concept car to production, its dazzling, Art Deco-inspired look won better reviews even than the SLK itself. Distinctive and delightful, the Crossfire's almost anachronistic styling followed perfectly on the Audi TT and its yesteryear influences. The cabin wasn't so much of a success, though, rendered as it was in lots of silver-painted plastic.
Powertrains were passed down from the SLK as well. In the first year, the only powertrain was a 3.2-liter V-6, making 215 hp and 229 pound-feet of torque. It could be paired with either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. The rear-drive Crossfire rode on a 94.5-inch wheelbase, and weighed about 3000 pounds in coupe form, so straight-line performance was good, but not shattering.
Handling was fairly tame, at least in base form, thanks to a double-wishbone independent suspension. Critics complained of slow steering, but the Crossfire had good ride quality for a car riding on its short wheelbase.
The Crossfire wasn't very practical, with a snug cockpit and just 7.5 cubic feet of storage space under its hatchback. The issue was more pronounced in the roadster, which arrived for the 2005 model year; its trunk only held 3.6 cubic feet of cargo with the fabric top down--which it could do in about 20 seconds, tucking itself under a hard tonneau cover. All Crossfires had stability control, traction control, and options for high-end features such as a navigation system.Chrysler added a high-performance Crossfire SRT6 to the lineup for 2005 also; with supercharging, its V-6 made a much more interesting 330 hp, which made handling much more interesting too, in spite of brake and suspension upgrades and other tweaks. However, the SRT6 was only available with a five-speed automatic.
Chrysler paid little attention to the Crossfire through the 2006 and 2007 model years, and for good reason: the company had shed its alliance with Daimler AG, parent of Mercedes-Benz, and had been acquired by venture capital fund Cerberus. By 2008 Cerberus was looking for its own exit, and Chrysler was headed to bankruptcy. By the 2008 model year, the 330-horsepower Crossfire SRT6 version had gone away, and after 2008, so had the Crossfire itself, after cutting such a distinctive figure for the company.