Chrysler Crossfire | Auto Express

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Chrysler Crossfire | Auto Express
Chrysler Crossfire


Recycling the best bits of the old SLK, the Chrysler#039;s German mechanicals and deco style mean it is certain of UK success. It doesn#039;t have sports car dynamics and the cabin disappoints, but there are no complaints about grip or performance. Be warned, though – owners will feel cheated once they drive the advanced new SLK.

It might have sold out in the UK, but Chrysler’s stunning Crossfire Coupe hasn’t done much to shatter the sales charts in the US. Now the firm is hoping a new Roadster model, coming later this year, will make the art deco-styled two-seater a bigger part of its worldwide revival.

The drop-top is, of course, based on the same previous-generation Mercedes SLK parts that underpin the Coupe. Slicing off the roof barely harms rigidity – in fact, Chrysler pitches the car against the BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster in terms of body strength. The conversion does not detract much from the Coupe’s stunning looks, either, although numerous lines around the Roadster’s rear end appear to indicate a lack of design thought.

The convertible roof itself – canvas rather than a folding hard-top – is power-operated. It tucks away in 22 seconds, and has a glass rear window that won’t scratch or steam up.

Putting the hood down removes the chief complaint of the Coupe – the lack of headroom for people over six feet tall. Minus the roof, the Crossfire Roadster feels light and airy – even without our test car’s special vanilla interior. However, you’ll need to pack much more lightly for weekends away, since the laughable boot is barely large enough for two soft bags.

The 215bhp V6 feels best mated to the five-speed auto, complete with Chrysler’s version of Tiptronic, called AutoStick. In semi-manual mode, you slap the lever left for downshifts, right for upshifts. A six-speed manual box is also available, and provides decent enough changes, but the soft-top seems more at ease when you let it shift itself.

Chrysler Crossfire

However, the car can be driven hard. Huge 19-inch rear tyres (along with 18-inchers up front) and strong acceleration might not threaten the Boxster, but they certainly put the Chrysler up with the Z4 and Audi TT.

While the steering could be more precise and the ride is not the smoothest in the class, the Crossfire is certainly good enough for drivers who rate style over dynamics.

This is no great surprise, as the SLK’s chassis was hardly class-leading even on the Merc’s 1996 launch. Safety equipment is up to date, though, with traction control, ABS and ESP as standard, along with front and side airbags.

Most complaints regard the interior. Despite a post-SLK revamp, this still suffers from a relative lack of space. Many parts look as though they’ve simply been painted rather than redesigned, and the manual climate-control switches seem very outdated.

Likewise, the steering wheel does not tilt, and the rounded roll-over protection hoops don’t quite fit the overall style. Finally, the windblocker panel on early test models had a blinding glare – although Chrysler says a fix will be ready before the car goes on sale.

However, these niggles are unlikely to worry UK buyers when the Roadster arrives in July. As with the Coupe, it’s the looks which will sell the Crossfire. With limited numbers ensuring exclusivity, this is certain to be a drop-top to be seen in this summer.

Chrysler Crossfire
Chrysler Crossfire
Chrysler Crossfire
Chrysler Crossfire

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