dates : 13th June 2004
17th June 2004
rather brash styling of the Chrysler Crossfire Roadster
becomes easier on the eye with familiarity.
In fact in Roadster form the lines of the Crossfire are quite
harmonious compared to those of its closed coupe stablemate,
which has a rather hunchback appearance.
This is nevertheless an in-your-face car, and there is nothing
very subtle about the roadster.
However, there is more balance to the fabric-roofed Crossfire
Roadster, and this is true whether the top is down or up.
The effect of the rear wheels being larger than the fronts
makes the tail-up Crossfire attitude less pronounced and while
the Roadster is never going to have a nippy appearance, it
looks less like a retro hotrod in convertible form.
Winding tight mountain passes are not really the Crossfire's
forte, as it has a rather softly-sprung ride. Nevertheless it
is yet another new sports car with good build integrity, with
none of the dreaded scuttle shake spoiling the fun.
In fact fast cruising will be this car's strong suite, and to
this end its V6, 3,2-litre engine, a Mercedes motor beneath
its Chrysler plastic shroud, does a good job.
The engine develops 160 kW, the same as it does in the
Mercedes-Benz C320, and provides zero to one hundred in a
claimed 6,5 seconds and a top speed of 242 km/h, this once
again being a manufacturer’s claimed figure.
Cruising is also when it sounds best, as the engine has a
wonderfully fruity exhaust note. However, there is plenty of
wind noise in the car, both with the top down or up, wind
insulation not being this hood's best feature.
The wheel sizings are 18-inch diameter alloys at the front and
19 inches at the rear. In fact the wheels at either end look a
little too large for the overall proportions of the car.
But detail styling work is pleasant and this includes the
retro-look rear with its 1950s style tonnaue with faired
trailing edges, leading away from the prominent twin roll-over
The rear spoiler, which rises up automatically at speeds over
100 km/h, is another rather brash styling exercise, although
Chrysler does feel it adds extra downforce.
To fold the top away takes some 22 seconds and again the
process is not as slick as one might suspect. A rather hefty
tug at a roof-mounted lever is needed to set the whole gig in
motion, the rest of the action carried out by levers and
The interior is a mixture of rather pleasing extroversion,
regarding the seat detailing and upholstery choices, and the
kitsch. The centre console is finished in a rather
cheap-looking silver finish which almost looks like a
The interior could also do with some extra cockpit length, as
tall drivers find they cannot move the seats far back enough
for a comfortable driving position.
Nevertheless, despite its compromises in certain areas, the
Chrysler Crossfire Roadster will no doubt win a number of fans
when it arrives in South Africa, possibly as early as July.
Many people see it as a fun-filled very affordable version of
a Mercedes-Benz sports car and in essence that is what is,
albeit with, or perhaps because of, its American-cousin party
Prices are not yet confirmed, but should be about 10 per cent
more than the Crossfire Coupe, which currently sells for four
hundred and fifteen thousand rand in six-speed manual form and
an additional ten thousand rand for the automatic version.
The Roadster will be available in both manual and automatic
Car Torque is