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Chrysler Crossfire 2005 review

Holden has its HSV, Ford their FPV, Mercedes-Benz their AMG.

Now American car company Chrysler is introducing us to SRT. We are the first country outside North America to get them.

SRT stands for "Street and Racing Technology", not street racing technology. In these days of anti-hoon legislation that "and" makes an important distinction.

The first SRT-branded vehicles to hit our shores are the Crossfire Coupe and Roadster SRT-6.

As if the standard Crossfire wasn't sporty enough, this model receives the benefit of Chrysler's extensive motorsports, Dodge Viper development and Mopar Performance Parts expertise. That's the "racing" part of SRT.

That means a hand-built 3.2-litre, supercharged V6 engine with 246kW of power, up a whopping 86kW on the "base" model, and 420Nm of torque, up 110Nm.

There is much more to this German-built autobahn buster, such as race-tuned suspension, a bigger fixed rear wing, SRT badging and trim details and sportier seats, all for an extra $16,000.

The standard Crossfire was a competitive package at $69,990 for the Coupe and $75,990 for the Roadster against the Mazda RX-8 ($54,465-$63,030) and Nissan 350Z ($59,990-$73,790).

But at $85,990 for the Coupe and $91,990 for the Roadster the SRT-6 is a cheap and attractive option for those seeking a real exotic gran turismo road machine, like the 206kW Porsche Boxster S at $139,500 or the 170kW BMW Z4 ($86,000-$88,600). Especially since it is basically the AMG engine, chassis and more from the previous-generation Benz SLK roadster. And remember, the previous model SLK 32 AMG with this engine cost $154,000.

Some may say it looks even better than the SLK in its American-designed skin. I'm not a keen fan of American automobile design — too detailed and flashy. Yet it was love at first sight with most of the Crossfire . . . it took a while for the "creased" bonnet to grow on me.

Now I appreciate its distinctive look. Those crease marks up the bonnet and down the side are the sorts of lines cartoonists draw to make cars look like they are going fast. Not that it needs crease marks to look quick. Try 0 to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds.

But all that go without whoa would be simply antisocial, so SRT uprated the brakes to 330mm/300mm ventilated discs with dual calipers front and back.

Likewise stomp without handling is useless, so this one gets super-stiff suspension to match the supercharged firepower beneath the bonnet.

The suspension set-up was tested on the autobahn, race tracks and high-speed ovals (that's supposedly the "street" part of SRT), but it obviously wasn't tested in the back streets around my place where the speed bumps grow like mushrooms.

So taut are the suspenders that you can take the speed bumps at a reasonable clip without scraping the low front dam because there is simply no give in the springs.

That translates to a bone-jarring ride through the ultra-firm seats. And in the Roadster I drove it also translates to a lot of shake and rattle without the roll.

The Roadster actually has "softer" spring rates than the Coupe SRT, so that must be a real fillings rattler.

That harsh ride is rewarded on smooth surfaces where speed and adhesion go hand in hand with the electronic stability program to save you from instantaneous trauma when you touch the loud pedal and tweak the wheel.

All round, a great muscle machine in an attractive package.

My only complaints are no sound system controls on the steering wheel and volume on the left of the stereo, plus flimsy plastic switches and knobs that are typical of all Chryslers.

Pricing guides

$12,085
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$8,000
Highest Price
$16,170

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Roadster 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $8,900 – 13,420 2005 Chrysler Crossfire 2005 Roadster Pricing and Specs
SRT-6 Roadster 3.2L, PULP, 5 SP SEQ AUTO $11,000 – 16,170 2005 Chrysler Crossfire 2005 SRT-6 Roadster Pricing and Specs
(base) 3.2L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $8,000 – 12,320 2005 Chrysler Crossfire 2005 (base) Pricing and Specs
SRT-6 3.2L, PULP, 5 SP SEQ AUTO $10,100 – 15,180 2005 Chrysler Crossfire 2005 SRT-6 Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$10,100

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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