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I ended up skipping yesterday's post because I spent way to much time trying to wring the Crossfire out. In the process I found out that the huge tires fitted to this tiny sport coupe contribute to very high limits of adhesion.
Those are huge meats on the Crossfire?s seven spoke wheels. With 18-inch front wheels and 19-inchers in the back, the Crossfire has an interesting wheel combination. I?m sure it?s even more interesting to try to buy tires for this car, but that is beside the point.
What is it like to drive? It is almost like a trip back in time, but not the same trip that you would take in the Mustang. Instead of a send back to the muscle car era, the Crossfire is the essence of the Teutonic stormers of just a few years ago. Solid, predictable handling, sublime turbine-like thrust, and all in a package that is not entirely overrun with frivolous electronic gadgets. Of course, the traction control is that irritating type that halts the fun way to early, but press that override button and forget about it. The only problem is the 3.2-liter does not have the grunt off line to override the back rubber. With rear tires like these, you have to work hard to spin them. No smoky burn outs for me, and I?m sure Chrysler would love to have their precious Crossfire back with a roasted clutch.
What happens when you take a roadster platform, the previous generation Mercedes SLK, and put a roof on it. You create what has to be one of the most rigid chassis in the business. That is what the crew at Chrysler has done. Designing the Crossfire with Mercedes components may seem like an easy task, but creating a package this well integrated out with what the team had to work with is impressive. This little German-American is so tight, swing the door open and you feel it hit the stops through the seat. And try as I might to upset the Crossfire, it has some serious limits. Actually, I would love to keep it a couple weeks and take it to a track event or two. All this sportiness does not translate into a rough ride either. Under most conditions, the ride is well under control without being harsh. On some roads, the short wheel base does become a liability, but all things considered it?s more than tolerable.
Any complaints? While it has that German mid-to-redline thrust, it?s tough getting those steam rollers in the back rotating. Good luck getting them to spin, like I said. So, add 50 horsepower and this would be one mean little road demon. Of course, you could pay the coin for the SRT6 which has a lot more power, but the row your own gearbox is not available. In addition, the steering, while nicely weighted, is not as communicative as the rest of the car.
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There is a delicious character to the Crossfire. Clearly, the German influence of this car is evident. For the enthusiast who wants the feel and atmosphere of the Germans of a few short years ago without buying used or paying thousands more. For those of you who have a past with machines from Deutschland, you know what willing and enjoyable dance partners they make. I feel like the Crossfire is in the same league. Tomorrow, I plan to go over the rest of the car?s qualities before wrappiing it up Friday.