Chrysler Crossfire 2005

When the Chrysler Crossfire concept was first introduced at the 2001 North American International Auto Show, there was genuine interest and excitement from both the motoring press and the public. Here was the first tantalizing fruit of the DaimlerChrysler merger that would combine German engineering and American style. A production model was announced, and the first Crossfires started to appear a few years later.

Available as a two-seat coupe or roadster, the Chrysler Crossfire is largely based on the first-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK. Its exterior design still attracts attention after nearly four years of production. Part of the reason for this is that sales -- while initially white hot, cooled off quickly thereafter. Crossfires are a relatively rare sight on the road, and even heavy incentives have failed to boost sales significantly.

There are a variety of reasons for the Crossfire's lack of success. Edmunds editors have noticed that the Crossfire's steering response is lackluster. This is mostly due to the use of the previous SLK's less-than-precise recirculating-ball steering, which is inherently less accurate than a rack-and-pinion setup. Additionally, the vehicle's ride quality can often seem harsh, particularly on the SRT6 version.

Slow sales can also be attributed to an interior that doesn't look as rich as the car's exterior styling would suggest. Finally, there's the Crossfire's lack of utility. Two-seaters have a very limited appeal, and the Crossfire was introduced into a very competitive arena. While we still consider it an attractive vehicle to look at, the Chrysler Crossfire is simply outclassed by other vehicles in terms of luxury, brand cachet and/or performance.

Current Chrysler Crossfire

The Crossfire is available in coupe and convertible body styles. Both body styles are available with either a base V6 or in high-performance supercharged SRT6 guise. Base models are powered by a 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 215 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices are a standard six-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic. Edmunds editors have complained about a relative lack of low-end torque from this engine.

Chrysler Crossfire SRT6 models receive no such complaints, however, as they are powered by a supercharged version of the 3.2-liter V6. This engine delivers 330 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The sole SRT6 transmission choice is a beefed-up five-speed automatic. The SRT6 also gets enhanced suspension components to complement the added power, so expect a harsher ride.

The base Crossfire coupe and convertible come equipped with power windows and door locks (and a power top for the convertible), dual-zone climate control and the expected safety features such as multiple airbags, antilock brakes and stability control. Step up to the Limited trim for heated leather seats, an upgraded Infinity stereo and an optional navigation system.

Unique to the base Roadster is an optional Special Edition package that includes Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat exterior paint, Dark Slate Gray cloth seats, SRT6-style cast-aluminum wheels, a black windshield surround and satin silver door handles and side louvers. In addition to its engine and suspension upgrades, the SRT6 models add 18-inch wheels up front and 19-inchers out back and napa Pearl leather seats with Alcantara suede inserts with enhanced bolstering.

Past Chrysler Crossfire models

The Chrysler Crossfire was introduced in the summer of 2003 as a 2004 model, as a coupe only. The 2005 model year was a busy time for the Crossfire, as a convertible model was introduced in the summer of 2004 and the high-performance SRT6 versions were introduced in the fall of that year. In addition, and in response to pricing complaints, a base model was added, with the Limited model getting most of the higher-priced features. For the 2006 model year, a Special Edition package became available on the base model that includes exclusive Inferno Red paint and unique exterior styling enhancements.
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