Toned. Yet classic in grace. A little burly in authority, it's capable of quick,
spontaneous maneuvers while gliding along with a fighter's nimble gait. In its
latest, top-down iteration it even won the eye of rising entertainment star and
mega-mogul Donald Trump long enough to be his first taste-of-luxury gift for his
is the vehicle with the rock-solid punch of, say, an Oscar De La Hoya jab before
the boxer-entertainer transcends into groupie-bait hunk. What else but Crossfire
could meld from dominator of the mean streets of a seething city to the valet
favorite at the toniest event?
Crossfire, Chrysler mates American road-commanding tradition with Mercedes' German
engineering. It propels through tight turns, then jackrabbits away from a stop
thanks to the 215-horses in a 3.2-liter, 90-degree, 18-valve V-6, all riding on
pressure monitored oversized tires. (A late summer STR-6 powered, 330-HP addition
for coupe or roadster promises to deliver a true knockout punch.)
Crossfire matches spirited high points with some necessary compromises for a small
sporty, rear-drive coupe on race-tuned tires with a tantalizingly affordable price
tag starting at about $30 K. (Push the price to the mid to high 40s for the upcoming
high performance versions.) A tighter-than-expected interior has less leg or head
room than optimal for the truly tall. That shortcoming disappears in the top-down,
true roadster mode for '05 when it disrobes, so to speak, in a mere 22 seconds
-- sending blind spots into oblivion in the process.
can demand a clutch pedal stretch in six-speed stick shift version, eased by an
adjustable steering column. Without optional all-weather tires (at $185), it's
a definite fair weather friend, with distaste for sloshy streets best left to
the sport utility across the garage, despite stability and traction controls and
a wealth of airbags -- just in case.
any shortcomings are quickly forgotten with the delicious color-shock leather
interior (orange in our test version), blending precision styling with comfort.
Crossfire knows its place and the drive is just thrilling. And simply no one ignores
it as you roar on by. Center stage, please.