The latest member of the Crossfire family, the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6… a new level of Crossfire with an infusion of race inspired, street legal American performance in both coupe and roadster forms.
By Kevin “Crash” Corrigan
When Chrysler first introduced the Crossfire, it received mixed reactions from the world’s auto journalists, some loved it, and some loathed it. Many went on and on about how visually pleasing the vehicle was, but how it lacked the performance and handling to make it a true sports car. I recently drove the supercharged SRT6 version of the Crossfire and I can tell you, performance is no longer an issue; in fact, it now leaves most of the competition wallowing in its dust.
I love the shape of the Crossfire; in fact, I think that it is possibly one of the best looking sports cars on the road today. For some time now, I have been in total awe of the Chrysler exterior design team. They are constantly pushing boundaries and have succeeded in putting some of the world’s best looking vehicles onto our roads. Take a look at the hood on the Crossfire, it has a shape that is totally unique and looks simply stunning. Take another look; it resembles the draining board on my kitchen sink. How do they do that? They take a basic, ordinary shape, and turn it into a thing of automotive beauty. Then there’s the rear of the car, with its sexy duel centre exit exhausts that you would only expect to find on an expensive, exotic Italian model. The roadster version looks wonderful with the top up, but push a button and the top disappears nicely under a hard roadster cover, revealing two stylish roll bars that make the vehicle look awesome.
The Crossfire is in many ways, one of the new “global vehicles”. It is based on the Mercedes Benz SLK rear wheel drive platform and is actually built in Germany in the plant that produces the current SLK; it even carries their 3.2 liter V6 engine. There is however a little difference in the Crossfire SRT6, “it was breathed on by good old Uncle Sam”. They’ve added a supercharger which enables the vehicle to accelerate from 0-60 mph in about 5 seconds, now that’s exotic car territory! Its SOHC 18 valve engine produces 330 hp and although quiet at low speeds, gives a pleasant growl when the accelerator pedal is pushed. The vehicle that I tested was fitted with a five speed auto box, complimented by their Auto stick feature. It is also available as a stick shift, but I think that this works best all-round. The floor pan is from Mercedes Benz but Uncle Sam strengthened the underside, improving on the MB version and giving it class leading rigidity.
The front suspension is a double wishbone setup with gas charged shocks. On the rear, independent coil springs with gas shocks again. This setup might not give the mind blowing handling of a Ferrari , but is more than adequate for the vehicle and supplies a better ride quality than some of its competitors. The car carries 18” wheels up front and 19” on the rear which certainly add a little something to the look of the vehicle. The 225/35/19 rear tires might appear like the rubber was sprayed on, but they do give amazing grip. The ride qualities however do not suffer from this, as the car has a curb weight of only 1500 kgs. The SRT6 drives like an expensive European sports car, but you are constantly aware that what’s lurking underneath is a little out of the ordinary.
This brings us to the interior of the SRT6 and I’ll be totally honest with you; I can’t say that I instantly fell in love with it. No doubt, Chrysler’s exterior design team labored through the nights to bring us this stylish roadster. Uncle Sam’s technical wizards were possibly equally busy, fine tuning it into an awesome hot rod. The interior team, in my opinion, let the side down a little. It is not that it’s a total disaster zone; it’s just that it doesn’t live up to the rest of this impressive package. The dashboard and door panels have a strange texture and a somewhat rubbery feel to them. This I think might take a little getting used to, but it’s no real issue. Running up through the centre of the interior however, is what can only be described as a large chunk of silver colored plastic. This dull aluminum-looking plastic is becoming the norm on a lot of vehicles nowadays.
When used for small accent features, it is quite acceptable, but for covering a large centre console, I think it just looks cheap and it succeeded in spoiling the whole interior for me. The SRT 6 does however, boast race-inspired seats trimmed in Nappa Pearl Leather with Alcantara suede inserts and bolsters which glue you to the seat and are just perfect in a car with the performance of the SRT6. The instrumentation layout and illumination is pleasing to the eye and the controls are mostly conveniently placed; it also carries a rather nice stereo system.
With the top up, entry and exit into the Crossfire takes some getting used to because of the low roof that curves down to meet the side windows, but once inside, headroom is plentiful due to the car’s domed shape. This of course, is totally irrelevant and I only included it to fill up some space on the page. The SRT6 looks so good with the top down, it should be driven that way, even if the sun is just peeking out, and after all, it carries a great heating system.
The true test of a car like this is how it makes you feel, and after a week spent in the SRT6, I felt great and in fact, I didn’t want to give it back. I could picture myself living with one of these in my driveway. It might take me a few weeks to get used to the interior and I’d never particularly like the centre console, but the rest of the car is absolutely amazing.
“The Crossfire SRT-6 offers driving enthusiasts outstanding, balanced performance in an absolutely stunning package, while simultaneously defining performance for the Chrysler brand,”
said Dan Knott, Director – Street and Racing Technology (SRT), DaimlerChrysler Corp. “We took an incredible car and applied street and racing technology. The result is a world-class, confident performer from Chrysler.”
The new 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 joins Chrysler Group’s SRT lineup following the 500-horsepower (372 kW) Dodge Viper SRT-10 – the ultimate American sports car; the award-winning 230-horsepower (172 kW) Dodge SRT-4, the most powerful car available for less than $21,000 and a favorite among America’s sport compact “tuner” crowd; and the world’s fastest production pickup truck, the Viper-powered Dodge Ram SRT-10.
The new 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 features a hand-built 330-horsepower (246 kW) 3.2-liter supercharged engine, performance-tuned ride and handling characteristics, world-class braking, functional performance-themed exterior design elements, and interior appointments designed to delight the performance enthusiast.
Built in Osnabrück, Germany, the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 arrives in Chrysler showrooms in summer 2004.
Race Inspired. Street Legal.
SRT is Street and Racing Technology.
Formed at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the SRT organization brings together Chrysler Group’s extensive motorsports engineering expertise, its legendary Dodge Viper development team, and its Mopar Performance Parts engineers to form SRT.
“This is an organization of enthusiasts who truly understand performance and feel they have the best job in the company,” Knott said.
SRT regularly produces winning performances on America’s race tracks and new performance parts for enthusiasts who can’t get enough. This team already has a flurry of extreme-performance Dodge SRT vehicles under its belt.
First, the ultimate American sports car, the 500-horsepower (372kW) Dodge Viper SRT-10. Next, the award-winning Dodge SRT-4, a 230-horsepower (172 kW) sub-six second (0-60 mph) rocket that has taken America’s sport compact tuner crowd by storm. And most recently, the Viper-powered Dodge Ram SRT-10 – certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Fastest Production Pickup Truck.
While Dodge SRT vehicles have resulted in eye-popping performance, Chrysler SRT vehicles exhibit a kind of performance suitable only to the Chrysler brand.
While Dodge SRT performance is extreme, SRT performance for the Chrysler brand is a refined, subdued, but very confident level of performance,‛ Knott said. ‚Chrysler SRT performance is still there but in a sophisticated and more refined manner. And drivers know it, giving them all the confidence in the world.‛
But a few things are common among all SRT vehicles.
At SRT, we will always strive to raise the performance bar and claim benchmark performance,‛ Knott said. ‚We’ll do that by focusing on five SRT cues: powertrain, ride and handling, braking, exterior, and interior appointments. This allows us to achieve our goal of creating the ultimate performance vehicle from the Chrysler Group — an SRT.‛
Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Powertrain
The heart of every SRT vehicle is its engine. The Crossfire SRT-6 is no exception.
A hand-built 3.2-liter supercharged V-6 engine boasting 330-horsepower (246 kW) and 310 lb.-ft. of torque (420 N·m) powers the ultimate Chrysler Crossfire.
Featuring a helical supercharger and a water-to-air intercooler, the 18-valve V-6 engine delivers 90 percent of peak torque across a broad range of the power band — from 2,300 to 6,200 rpm.
The Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 engine provides astounding, benchmark-setting performance,‛ Knott said. ‚From initial throttle response, all the way to cruising in high gear, power is readily available.‛
In addition to the 330-horsepower (246 kW) engine, the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 features an upgraded five-speed automatic transmission (with AutoStick®) to handle the extra power — and specifically the low-end torque — as well as a deeper, performance-tuned exhaust note.
Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Ride and Handling
To wear the SRT badge, benchmark performance must be present in every aspect of the vehicle.
Straight-line performance is important,‛ Knott said. ‚SRT vehicles offer that and so much more. SRT vehicles don’t just show their prowess in the 100-yard dash. They set out to win the decathlon of automotive performance.
We refer to it as performance throughout the dynamic range,‛ Knott added. ‚SRT vehicle owners regularly use their vehicles as everyday transportation, but as performance enthusiasts, they want to put their vehicles to the test on the world’s greatest roads, and even on the track. They’ll certainly be able to demonstrate their passion doing just that with the Crossfire SRT-6.‛
Tested on the autobahn, on high-speed ovals, race tracks, and the world’s finest and most demanding roads, the Chrysler Crossfire SRT -6 provides what performance enthusiasts demand, thanks in large part to its unique ride and handling characteristics.
To delight enthusiasts and deliver ultimate Chrysler performance, SRT engineers sought to deliver a stiffer, sportier performance ride with reduced understeer versus the original Crossfire.
They began by significantly increasing the spring rates, and SRT-6 Coupe and Roadster models are tuned differently, to their own unique characteristics. The Coupe’s spring rates are 451 lb./in. in the front and 480 lb./in. in the rear, while the Roadster’s are 434 lb./in. in the front and 491 lb./in. in the rear, compared to 303 lb./in. front and 337 lb./in. rear on the original Crossfire Coupe and Roadster models.
The suspension is further enhanced with performance-tuned damping and an aggressive compound on Crossfire’s Michelin Pilot Sport ultra-high performance 225/40 ZR18 (front) and 255/35 ZR19 (rear) tires. An Electronic Stability Program (ESP) tuned specifically for more spirited driving throughout the car’s dynamic range further contributes to Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6’s ultimate two-seater performance ride and handling.
Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Braking
The most passionate enthusiasts recognize performance is a whole lot more than just acceleration,‛ said Knott. ‚While powertrain performance is certainly essential, nothing impresses the true enthusiast more than a high-horsepower vehicle that handles well — and exhibits incredible braking performance. Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 does exactly that.‛
The SRT signature performance test is 0-100-0 mph, reinforcing that performance is more than acceleration. That’s why SRT vehicles will always be among the world’s best in braking capabilities.
To give the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 remarkably short braking distances and fade-free performance, SRT engineers utilized internally ventilated disc brakes at all four corners (330 x 32 mm front; 300 x 22 mm rear), with dual-piston calipers front (44/44 mm) and rear (42/42 mm).
Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Exterior
Subtle and functional was the mantra as designers looked at the palette — the original Chrysler Crossfire . The result: race inspired exterior appointments that deliver enhanced performance while distinguishing the SRT-6 from its predecessor.
The Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 features a fixed rear spoiler that immediately suggests speed and power, and results in reduced lift and enhanced aerodynamic balance at high speeds. An elegantly integrated front fascia ‚chin‛ spoiler also reduces lift and enhances vehicle balance, while providing greater cooling air flow.
Unique, lighter 15-spoke performance-themed SRT aluminum alloy wheels (18-in. front and 19-in. rear) add to Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6’s exterior performance characteristics.
The Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 is available in four colors for 2005: Aero Blue, Graphite Metallic, Sapphire Silver Blue Metallic and Black.
Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Interior
Exclusive premium performance-themed appointments are found throughout the interior of the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6.
A 200-mph (320 km/h) instrument cluster immediately points to the car’s performance characteristics.
The Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 features race-inspired seats, designed to provide increased support for everyday driving, as well as spirited on-track driving performance. Trimmed in Nappa Pearl Leather, the seats feature enhanced grip, thanks to Alcantara suede inserts and bolsters. ‚SRT-6‛ is embroidered on the headrests.
Subtle gray stitching on the seats and steering wheel round out the interior appointments unique to the new 2005 Crossfire SRT-6.
Crossfire SRT-6 Performance Targets
0-60 mph approximately 5 seconds
60-0 mph braking approximately 115 feet
0-100-0 mph under 16 seconds
Top speed 158 mph (electronically limited)
At-a-glance Features Unique to the Crossfire SRT-6:
- 3.2-liter, 18-valve, supercharged SOHC engine, producing 330 horsepower (246 kW) and 310 lb.-ft. of torque (420 N·m)
- Performance-tuned exhaust
- Performance-tuned suspension, featuring increased spring rates versus base Crossfire (451 lb./in. front and 480 lb./in rear for the Coupe; 434 lb./in. front and 491 lb./in. rear for the Roadster)
- Black, dual piston calipers front (44/44 mm) and rear (42/42 mm)
- Internally ventilated disc rotors front (330 x 32 mm) and rear (300 x 22 mm)
- Fixed rear spoiler
- Integrated chin spoiler
- SRT-6 badging on decklid and engine
- 15-spoke, light weight SRT aluminum alloy wheels
- 200-mph (320 km/h) instrument cluster
- Race-inspired seats, trimmed in Nappa Pearl Leather with Alcantara suede inserts and bolsters; SRT-6 embroidered on headrest
Following is an overview of features in the 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6:
Additional performance features
- Five-speed electronically-controlled adaptive automatic transmission with AutoStick®
- Rear-wheel drive
- Independent double wishbone front suspension with coil springs and gas-charged shock absorbers
- Independent five-link rear suspension with coil springs and gas-charged shock absorbers
- Dual center-mounted exhaust outlets
- Front 18-inch P225/40 ZR tires
- Rear 19-inch P255/35 ZR tires
- Tire fit system
- Power convertible fabric top (Roadster)
- Full power hard tonneau (Roadster)
- Heated glass back light
- Power eight-way heated leather driver seat
- Power four-way heated leather passenger seat
- Power windows with one-touch down driver and passenger controls
- Telescoping steering column with leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Speed control
- Infinity Modulus audio system with AM/FM/CD, and a 240-watt digital amplifier (six speakers including dual subwoofers). Sound system is based on Infinity’s Modulus home theater surround sound system
- Dual-zone semi-automatic air conditioning
- Remote keyless entry with central locking (including fuel filler door)
- Universal garage door opener
Safety and security features
- Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Brake Assist
- Front power 330 x 32 mm ventilated disc brakes and rear power 300 x 22 mm ventilated disc brakes
- Electronic Stability Program which integrates single brake application and throttle intervention for yaw control, ignition and throttle intervention for wheel spin control
- All-speed traction control senses drive-wheel slip and individually brakes the slipping wheel and/or reduces excess engine power until control is regained
- Next-generation driver and passenger front air bags
- Door-mounted thorax side air bags
- Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH/ISOFIX) child restraint system
- Sentry Key vehicle immobilizer
- Security alarm system
- Quad halogen projector headlamps
- Tow-away protection