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Old 02-01-2008, 07:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow Quick Review: '07 Chrysler Crossfire

WAY off topic for this site, but still for those folks out there that still like performance now and then

On a recent trip to Indy, the rental lot had 2 cars left: A Chrysler Sebring Convertible and a Crossfire. Either of these cars for the "Intermediate" vehicle price. Duh, Crossfire Convertible!

Inside: Very compact and very German (essentially many of the Mercedes SLK parts were included to design the car). Many strangely unlabeled knobs and buttons took some time to figure out. Trunk space is barely enough to get 2 suitcases into. Quality was "OK", with some cheapy plastic bits. All controls are located in the center stack or console. The seats were uber supportive and comfortable. Driving position is good. The radio was rather weak and not convenient to operate. There was a cupholder-like device in the console that popped-out, but it didn't get used. This interior isn't really the car's strong point.

Outside: This base model was equipped with 19" rims sporting 35-series tread in the rear, and 18's on 40's up front. More on handling in a moment. The look varies by angle. Soft and subtle from the rear until the spoiler deploys. From the front, somewhat aggressive -- especially from the 3/4 view with the wheels and low profile. Fast with some class sums it up.

The Drive: It was fun, but reminded me why I don't own a performance car any longer. The potential of this vehicle is at high speeds and at the limits -- designed and tested at Autobahn speeds. The spoiler deploys at 55 MPH and retracts at 40. Of course, you could manually flip it up to show off (but for safety purposes, you can't retract it at highway speeds -- or else it could go careening out of control at 50 mph???). The SOHC 2.7L V-6 makes 215 hp and 229 lb-ft torque. Most power is in the mid-range up to redline, but the fly-by-wire throttle is soft from a standing start. Further, being a Merc derivative, you can't completely turn off the stability control. Big thumbs down for "testing the limits". But it takes quite a bit to find those limits. If you do need to stop in a hurry, the brakes are excellent.

The rigidity of the structure is akin the Porsche 911 -- in fact, actually stiffer. The ride is too -- bumping along Downtown Indy was a kidney jolting adventure. Steering feedback was lacking, but the handling was rental-car best! Honestly, it grabbed onto corners, eliciting a little oversteer -- inviting that punch of the throttle to fire out of the hole. But, as soon as the "Nanny" thinks things are out of control, SC kicks in a the fun's over (even when turned-off). Acceleration was "fun" as well, but 0-60 is in the 7-second range, which isn't earth shattering. The engine sounded a lot like the Mustang V-6 until WOT, upon which it was true music (better than the stereo).

The slap shift automatic was rather odd -- consider it like the old 3, 2, 1 shifters as a gear hold or downshift -- instead of forcing into the next gear like most. A "Summer/Winter" rocker switch allowed a more efficient start in "Winter" mode, and less-aggressive operation -- which achieved some decent FE for the type of driving done. Cruising along the highway is a strong point. Supportive seats and easy-to-reach controls make it comfortable on smooth roads. Blind spots are thick, though -- so use those mirrors.

FE: With mostly city driving, rain turning to snow, then bitter cold, combined with lots of "inefficient operation" -- the final tally was 21.7 MPG! I couldn't believe the pump. Of course, this was VERY likely from regular fuel instead of the required premium, which could've upped the power and gas consumption. I expected around 15 with the "official suspension and acceleration tests performed" if you know what I mean

When compared to the Honda S2000, Nissan 350Z, Audi TT, Porsche Boxter, BMW Z4, and Merc SLK, it probably doesn't compare except in affordability and FE. The Pontiac Solstice might be another affordable choice in this range, but I really can't see owning a roadster unless I have piles of cash lying around, and an unlimited track pass for the weekends. I would vote for the Honda Insight as a my kind of "Roadster".

Note: 2007 is the last year for this car as Daimler-Benz said buh-bye to Chrysler.

RH77

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Last edited by RH77; 02-01-2008 at 07:54 PM.. Reason: Grammar, Content
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I love the looks of this car and have to stop and stare every time I see one. Always wondered how it would do on FE in the hands of a hypermiler. What are the EPA numbers for the hard top and do you know the CDa. Great report thanks.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
Depends on the Day
 
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kansas City Area
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Teggy - '98 Acura Integra LS
Sports Cars
90 day: 32.74 mpg (US)

IMA - '10 Honda Insight EX
Team Honda
90 day: 34.76 mpg (US)

Tessie - '06 Acura TSX Base
90 day: 28.2 mpg (US)
Thanks: 31
Thanked 41 Times in 35 Posts
Addl. Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
I love the looks of this car and have to stop and stare every time I see one. Always wondered how it would do on FE in the hands of a hypermiler. What are the EPA numbers for the hard top and do you know the CDa. Great report thanks.
It was always parked in the "VIP" or "Ridiculously Expensive Rental" spot, but due to the lack of availability (and phasing the '07's out), they parked it in the "average guy" section.

I have to preface the mileage that minimal hypermiling took place: speed limits on the highway and soft acceleration at times, but that should have made up with handling tests and strong acceleration at times.

The Coupe and Convertible have the same EPA ratings, but the transmission choice determines your mileage:

6-Speed Manual:
17/25

Automatic:
21/28

I would bank that 30 could be attainable, but EOC would have to be minimal. Steering is quite difficult with the engine off -- likely due to the large contact patch of those 18" wheels/tires (despite the RWD config).

The auto is geared well and uses its technology to keep the RPM down in City applications: a paradox of mileages compared to the usual expectations of stick vs. auto. Technique, mods, and a good mix of additional highway miles (with fewer aggressive accelerations) would lend itself to much better mileage.

Further: the manual and automatic has the same final drive and final gear ratios; however, the manual has shorter gearing up to final, which may account for the difference.

Drag Coefficient is a stout 0.37.

I hear that you got to drive a Bimmer lately

RH77
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Last edited by RH77; 02-02-2008 at 09:45 AM.. Reason: error correction
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
ECO-Evolution
 
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
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Iron Horse (retired) - '97 Iron horse Intrepid

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90 day: 76.23 mpg (US)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RH77 View Post
It was always parked in the "VIP" or "Ridiculously Expensive Rental" spot, but due to the lack of availability (and phasing the '07's out), they parked it in the "average guy" section.

I have to preface the mileage that minimal hypermiling took place: speed limits on the highway and soft acceleration at times, but that should have made up with handling tests and strong acceleration at times.

The Coupe and Convertible have the same EPA ratings, but the transmission choice determines your mileage:

6-Speed Manual:
17/25

Automatic:
21/28

I would bank that 30 could be attainable, but EOC would have to be minimal. Steering is quite difficult with the engine off -- likely due to the large contact patch of those 18" wheels/tires (despite the RWD config).

The auto is geared well and uses its technology to keep the RPM down in City applications: a paradox of mileages compared to the usual expectations of stick vs. auto. Technique, mods, and a good mix of additional highway miles (with fewer aggressive accelerations) would lend itself to much better mileage.

Further: the manual and automatic has the same final drive and final gear ratios; however, the manual has shorter gearing up to final, which may account for the difference.

Drag Coefficient is a stout 0.37.

I hear that you got to drive a Bimmer lately

RH77
I was afraid that the Drag Coefficient was way up there. But with those huge rims I figured you could turn some pretty low rpms. I think 35ish is would be pretty easy with out EOC just doing the norm. Thanks for the report.

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