After all the time spent with the Crossfire, it is still a little nebulous to me. For instance, try as I might to find the limits of this car, it would handily eat up any twisty road I could throw at it. That is the great tragedy of this review, in my opinion. The crisp turn-in and ferocious lateral grip of the Crossfire would be better at home on the track that around suburban sprawl.
If I had it for a few more days, perhaps I could run it through an autocross course. It would do very well, I?m
sure. And the engine produces such buttery delicious power that you?ll run out of legal cushion before you?ll want to
stop spinning its top. Before I get into a discussion of more practice concerns, it is important to relay the character
of the Crossfire. It is balanced, in that German sense. The engine is powerful, but not too powerful. The handling is
sporty, but not too sporty. It is as if every ingredient is carefully measured and applied in a formulaic manner.
The interior of the Crossfire is rather spartan. There are not many distractions, but there isn?t room for any either. Everything is laid out in a very logic manner, and there is no unnecessary stylistic fluff to mess with. Now, I have heard the Crossfire has cup holders. Either I did not look hard enough, or they aren?t there.
The Crossfire is a small car. What else is there to say? The small size makes the car fun to drive, but it can be uncomfortable for those taller than six feet. It all depends on your proportions really, but it is small. My shins were almost always in the lower part of the dash. Once inside the cockpit, the small amount of discomfort was easily ignored. I did manage to find a comfortable driving position, but when the seat is all the way back your options are limited.
As I wind down, one interesting feature to mention is the Crossfire?s deployable spoiler. At about 65 mph, the spoiler will fully extend. When you slow down below 40 mph is will automatically retract. It?s pretty cool, but at U.S. highway speeds it probably doesn?t do much. You can also manually extend it, to give your ride that high performance look (I?m not serious).
Back to our original question, does the Crossfire represent a value in the crowded sport coupe segment? If the price was lower, I would say yes. Perhaps the $25,000-$27,000 range would be a good fit for the car. That is just based on its immediate competition. If you consider the German character of the car, however, you could cast the Crossfire as a bargain. I honestly can?t see how Chrysler is making much money on these cars. Granted, the development cost of the platform is probably paid for, but they are still assembled in Germany. For the next generation, I would suggest making the interior accommodations more generous, assembling the car in the U.S., and maybe installing the 3.5-liter Chrysler V6 over the 3.2-liter Mercedes unit.
Otherwise, if you can fit in the Crossfire and want that blast for the past German feel without a lot of fluff, then this base Crossfire might be the ticket. Fuel consumption is pretty reasonable, with the Crossfire getting 21 mpg around town. Honestly, when you talk about German cars without the fuss of the current generation, there are only two options out there. They?re not even from German makes, but the Mini Cooper and the Chrysler Crossfire are two choices for those who want to terrorize some twisties without spending a lot of change or being bombarded with a lot of gadgetry. However, if you simply are looking for a beastly powerful coupe, the Crossfire probably isn?t for you.