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Chrysler - Make Sure You're Caught Up In The Crossfire

May 22, 2008
I'm a great one for café culture and the people watching that comes free with my sun-drenched cappuccino. You learn a lot people watching too, such as why the tramp that talks to himself endlessly, talks to himself endlessly and that the shuffling old woman that goes everywhere at 1mph used to be a glamour model and has links to the mafia.

This peeking over my daily newspaper also affords me to see what car turns heads the most. At the last count most popular head-turners included: Ferrari, Lamborghini (a total of one each spotted in over three months) a rusty Vauxhall Nova - although this was partly due to the 1000000 decibels emanating from within, a Chrysler Crossfire, a couple of Porsche 911s, a Bentley Continental...hang on...Chrysler?

Yep that's right, the Chrysler Crossfire is as much a head-turner as a Ferrari or Porsche and the reasons are simple. Firstly the coupe is gorgeous to look at - more shortly - and secondly because they're as commonplace as seeing the Queen stumbling out of a nightclub drunk.

Styling firstly then and unlike the Crossfire's main rivals; the Audi TT, Porsche Boxster and Nissan 350Z you can tell which way round it is. I mean the styling on the others has other drivers throwing themselves down verges thinking the car in front is coming straight for them, with the front end being near-identical to the rear. Not so the Chrysler, which features restrained yet classy headlights sandwiching a radiator grill which is not too dissimilar to Chrysler's most popular model, the Grand Voyager. Far from making the car look like a people carrier however, it works perfectly as it gives the front end a much-needed injection of testosterone. That's not all, on the bonnet there are not one, not two, but seven bonnet bulges, all running in parallel to one another down the seemingly endless front end.

The rear end is somewhere between fighter jet, spaceship, classic car and boyhood daydreaming. The rear quarter slopes in a perfect uninterrupted curve, ending just in time to house two rectangular exhaust pipes. The rear lights almost look surprised but equally glad to be attached to this car. Huge alloy wheels adorn the Chrysler, with 18 inch at the front and 19 inch at the back giving the car a subtle drag racer vibe (boyhood daydreaming again!)

Other styling highlights include the three slashes down the side which look as though Wolverine's going to be in trouble with the X-Men when he gets home. It also comes with a speed ticket issuing machine in the form of the rear spoiler. Hidden away at low speeds, this little devil pops up at 60mph or above for added stability, or as an advert that you're doing considerably more than the 40mph you should be. If like me though you want to increase your head-turn count, manually override the function and have it showing all the time.

Did I mention this car was Chrysler's first joint venture with Mercedes Benz? That's right, underneath that astonishing exterior the chassis is pure Mercedes SLK. One slight downside to this is that although the chassis is German and therefore very efficient and reliable, it's also a decade old in design and has therefore been stiffened to compensate. Unsurprisingly then the result is not spleen shattering but not Jack Nicholson smooth either. Come on though, this is a sports car and sports cars are meant to have a firm ride so don't pick this up to be a terminal problem. Merc have also helped out under the bonnet and the Crossfire boasts a 3.2 litre V6 engine that's capable of propelling you from 0 - 60mph in 6.5 seconds and onwards to an electronically limited 155mph.

The interior is upmarket too, with enough leather to empty a field of its cows. Features such as air-conditioning are standard, although don't look backwards because that beautiful, uninterrupted rear curve has in no way, shape or form got any ideas about rear visibility. "So why the exclusivity?" I hear you cry. Upon its launch in 2003, no-one bought the Chrysler. Being a strong competitor in an already well-stocked sector of the market wasn't enough due to an asking price of £24,995 which sent everyone to Audi or Porsche with change back.

This hasn't diminished the quality of this car one iota but has slashed used prices to roughly 50% of the original price for a two year old example. Pop down to your Chrysler dealer and see which bargain head-turners they have for you. They won't be expecting you to visit but they're very nice.
About the Author
The automotive author Ieaun Knox has years of experience writing about cars but was genuinely taken a back by the value for money offered by a used Chrysler Crossfire. Ieuan is currently promoting the Chrysler range on behalf of www.cheapchryslerjeep.co.uk a Chrysler dealer.
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