Home > Reviews > 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster

2005 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster

1.) Lower The Top
2.) Put On Sunglasses
3.) Bask In The Glare Of Jealous Drivers

    Oh, the attention you can garner driving one of these. It isn’t so much that the Crossfire is an exotic looking car as it is just plain different. A fresh design idea you could call it. Whatever it is, it grabbed our attention, and that of several members of the greater Detroit area. I personally would like to think of it as one of the classiest roadsters to come from an American automaker yet—or at least a formerly American automaker. Though by the time you read this (for the northern half of the country that is) it will more than likely be snowing and well past the season for wind in your hair driving!
     Don’t worry though, we got plenty enough breeze through the old follicles for all of us. It was a classic example of perfect timing; our Classic Yellow Pearl Crossfire Roadster arrived during one of the last really warm weekends of the summer. Once in our possession the top remained visible for all of about the 22 seconds it took to stow it. Then, the rear spoiler made an appearance. The mere fact that we wasted no time in rowing through the gears to reach excessive speeds may or may not have had something to do with it, because the wing does deploy automatically at 57 mph. The overall styling of the Crossfire is a modern take on a retro theme. The body is kept low to the ground with the sheet metal literally wrapped around the wheels. The hood is low and wide, aiding aerodynamics while accommodating a 3.2 liter power plant. Headlights, fog lights, air dam, and grille appear sculpted from the sheet metal, while the winged Chrysler badge reigns above all. Adding to the muscular look is a center spine running the entire length of the car along the hood, through the dash and center console, and into the rear bumper. Silver gills adorn the front fenders allowing heat to escape from a hot engine bay. Aft of the passenger compartment, the rear end wraps tightly into the Crossfire’s buttress. Center mounted dual outlet exhaust tips provide a classy goodbye and a soft melody.
     Jump inside and you will find an interior just as impressive as the exterior. No headroom you say? Well, that commodity does seem scarce with the black cloth top up. A quick turn of a lever and a slight push unlocks the top from its grasp upon the windshield, from there the top powers down and out of sight beneath a hard tonneau cover with the push of a button (snow belt buyers beware, the top is absent any insulation). Visibility with the top up isn’t great, but manageable; while top down, well, you can figure that out. Dressed in black and vanilla leather, the seats are as eye pleasing as they are comfortable. With just the right amount of support and side-to-side bolstering, spending hours on the road was in no way a chore. The leather wrapped steering wheel was a charm to embrace although we wish it could be adjusted for tilt. Silver metallic accents inside complement the already beautiful vanilla trimmed doors, console and instrument panel. Handles and most switchgear are smoothly pleasing to the touch. Overall, the interior is warm and inviting, even without the heated seats turned on. One feature we would suggest skipping over is the $1200 navigation radio. Directions are relegated to the radio display and its CD-based capacity is limited, buy yourself a map and earmark the savings for premium unleaded.
     By the way, thanks DaimlerChrysler for sending us a model equipped with the 6-speed manual. Being able to row our own gears increased the fun factor exponentially compared with a similar 5-speed automatic equipped Crossfire we sampled a couple weeks beforehand. Even with the manual shift feature, the automatic was unwilling to hold gears for us, because it thought it had a better idea of what we wanted to do. Thus, our 6-speed car drew more praise. The shifts were short, but were hindered by a large clunky shift linkage. Even the Mitsubishi tranny we drove the week before had a smoother operation. With this though, we are being picky, because there is little else for us to criticize. It’s not particularly quick with only 215hp, but power application was smooth and strong. This thing can go wickedly fast with a top speed somewhere around the 150 mph mark. The roadster chassis was among the stiffest we have ever driven, like it had an I-beam for a backbone. Cowl shake was null and void with the only flex coming from my Starbuck’s laden forearm. The Crossfire was a willing steed in the twisties. She tracked straight and steering application was wonderfully linear. The brakes had no problem scrubbing velocity either. The ride was a little stiff, but with rolling stock of the 18” front and 19” rear variety, that is to be expected; though they kept excellent adhesion to asphalt. When slippage occurs however, the traction control is ready to put things right, whether you want it too or not (don’t worry, it’s defeatable, mostly).
     So what is our final say on this American roadster? Sehr nett! Translated to English from German that is very nice! It is very easy to see, feel and hear this car’s German roots, because Crossfire translates to SLK in Mercedes speak. Not to worry however, the Crossfire has a decidedly American flavor to it. One that is delectably delicious. Sweet enough for the $40,520 sticker price? Where do we sign?

The Good:
Elegant styling, inviting interior, exciting powertrain.
The Bad:
Clunky shift action, steering wheel doesn’t tilt, lack of headroom with top up.
The Verdict:
A delightful semi-American roadster, beware of jealous drivers.


Categories: Reviews Tags: , , , ,
You must be logged in to post a comment.