: Test drive: 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT6 - AMG 3.2 SC



Jesda
11-23-08, 12:59 AM
I went down to Tampa for a minivacation. Did the usual eating, driving, drinking, and more eating. Helped a friend move.

Anyway, while I was there, I took his little Crossfire for a spin.

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27,000 low miles and a spotless body. The cheap plastic on the center console is covered in nicks and scratches, however.

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The Infinity-branded head unit looks like a K-Mart special, but it sounds pleasant and works with RDS. Unlike most Bose car audio systems, the presentation is subtle. Bass is there, but not booming, and treble is present but not screeching. Unfortunately, there's no available auxiliary input, so all you have are single CDs and AM/FM. Seems lacking for a $45k premium sports car. It would be difficult to find an aftermarket head unit that matches the rest of the bright center console.

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Visibility from any direction but the front is terrible. You can't see other cars, and other cars can't really see you.

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The dashboard material is some kind of awful. It feels like the sole of a cheap pair of beach sandals.

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The door panels, conversely, feel nice but look cheap. The door pull and handles are REAL metal, not painted plastic, and the section surrounding the upper handle is real padded leather. The design is plain, but it works.

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You could call the styling cartoonish, and you would be right. Its also childishly satisfying, like a bright yellow Hummer. I favor the looks.

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The 3.2 AMG badge is optional. Ebay-optional.

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19" wheels all around.

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Room for only one dead hooker, but even a chubby one would fit. There's a factory subwoofer back there too.

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Jesda
11-23-08, 12:59 AM
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Its 20F in St Louis and 69F in Tampa, so it seemed prudent to enjoy the bay view and guzzle down a half dozen fresh oysters at Landry's.

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The seats aren't typical sports car firm. Chrysler probably anticipated selling these cars to older drivers. Ingress and egress are actually quite easy, and seats are wide and supportive. I can't tell if I'd enjoy them over a long distance, but I felt no discomfort.

So, let's talk about raw impressions.

THIS CAR SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME. I'm still a bit jittery after the last little car accident I had, and my distrust of other drivers is at an all-time high. In the Crossfire, you can't see back, can't see to the side, and worst of all no one can see YOU. It might be below the mirrors of vans and SUVs.

Driving through Tampa during rush hour, among the transplanted guido retards who ran south from New Jersey to escape the winter, is a hair-raising experience. People always joke about the elderly population in Florida, but I hardly notice them. Its the folks from up north who muck up the works.

Fears aside, the ride quality is shockingly decent, for what I expected. With 45-inch wheels spanning a two-inch wheelbase, I was worried about having to see the chiropractor, but I was wrong. Except for major potholes, blemishes, and expansion joints, the ride was fairly smooth. It was never supple, but it wasn't jittery either. Mercedes-Benz left the big bumps in while smoothing out the tiny ones.

That brings me to another issue, the Mercedes influence. This is, for all intents and purposes, an SLK 3.2 AMG. The interior, except for the silver plastic, is directly out of the SLK. The switches are from the SLK. The turn stalks are from the SLK. The engine and transmission are too. The difference is that it was assembled by a coachbuilder in Germany (Karmann) who attached a Chrysler-designed hatchback shell.

The Mercedes influence unfortunately introduces some flaws. The vacuum locks are faulty, there was a water leak that has been resolved, the trunk doesn't lock, and the cruise control stalk is right next to the turn stalk. This means that half the time, when attempting to use the signal, you end up hitting ACCEL. Speeding up when trying to slow down and turn is unnerving. People on the Crossfire forum have reported rust in the doors due to a flawed door seal design that retains water.

The SRT6 doesn't have the handling slop that Top Gear complained about with the base Crossfire. Cornering is firm, if somewhat daft.

Just because the SRT6 manages to avoid body roll doesn't mean it handles very well. It really, honestly does not. The Mazda Miata, which has an MSRP of just over $20k, puts you in the dead center of gravity. Balance from bumper to bumper means that you, the driver, are the pivot around which the Miata rotates.

It's a satisfying feeling, one that you will never experience in a Crossfire. Without Mazda's thorough engineering, it has to achieve the result with brute force: big, fat, wide tires. And indeed, there's enough grip to wrap its hands around the earth and squeeze all the juice out, but none of it feels natural, delicate, or interesting. Typical AMG brute over brains.

I do like the car, however. I might even love it. There's charm in its child-like stupidity. Everything from the gimmicky body to the supercharged 330hp engine say "LETS ROB A BANK AND GO TO A TITTY BAR!"

When I stomped on the throttle, the supercharger whined aggressively, the exhaust roared like an angry midget, and I chuckled like I was six years old, playing tag outside with my best pals.

I can definitely imagine myself owning this car. It would give me an excuse to buy a 454 SS:
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That's 7.4 liters of pure joy.

Powertrain: 5/5 The transmission behaves oddly, but not enough to interrupt the fun. Apparently this is by design. 0-60 in under 5 seconds.

Audio/Electronics: 4/5 The Infinity audio is pleasant. Not perfect, but pleasant. There aren't really any other luxuries to mention. Stuff works.

Steering/Suspension/Handling: 3/5 Rides hard without being terribly uncomfortable. Steers quickly enough but lacks feedback. Handling? Imagine a big fat guy roped to a pole, spinning in circles like a tetherball. How's that for an analogy?

Overall: 4/5 It was terribly overpriced when new, but poor resale makes it a tremendous bargain. A low-mileage SRT6 and a low-mileage Miata might be nearly the same price... something to seriously consider.

Playdrv4me
11-23-08, 01:12 AM
Great review. I'd say that's very accurate.

One interesting note about the SRT6... Chrysler never submitted a separate VIN designation for the SRT model, so insurance for both the SRT and the regular Crossfire is IDENTICAL. You don't pay one cent more for the performance model as the insurance companies have basically no idea it even exists.

creeker
11-23-08, 01:17 AM
I looked at a 300-C a few years ago and the first thing that hit me was the cheap looking interior,the center consul and radio unit looked like a
$20.00 ghetto blaster design. cheap-cheap-cheap.

Playdrv4me
11-23-08, 01:23 AM
I looked at a 300-C a few years ago and the first thing that hit me was the cheap looking interior,the center consul and radio unit looked like a
$20.00 ghetto blaster design. cheap-cheap-cheap.

This is true, however frankly even the Crossfire is in an entirely different ballpark than the 300, as the design studios and materials for both cars have nothing to do with eachother. The Crossfire is fully german with some details for the Chrysler brand changed (i.e. the gawdawful bright plastic trim).

gary88
11-23-08, 01:27 AM
Nice review. I once drove a C32 AMG with the same supercharged 3.2L motor, and it definitely moves like hell. Though I have heard of people having a ton of reliablity problems with them, mostly with different parts of the supercharger not working, and the intercooler pump breaking due to a mounting design flaw. Still a real fun car to drive.

Though ever since Clarkson said the Crossfire looks like a dog hunched over about to do it's business, well that pretty much ruined the SRT6 forever for me hah.

Cliff8928
11-23-08, 01:43 AM
Jesda. Did you notice that the cupholder in the center console is nearly useless. To use it you have to reach around with your left hand. Also, did you have a hard time getting in and out due to the opening of the door seemingly too far back? It's quite easy to crack that speaker grille on the door with your foot.

Jesda
11-23-08, 01:49 AM
The cupholder was hilarious. A tiny perch with a couple plastic notches.

I didn't have any serious issues getting in and out. My method is to slip in and plop down on the seat, and sort of roll out when I'm exiting.

Playdrv4me
11-23-08, 01:52 AM
Nice review. I once drove a C32 AMG with the same supercharged 3.2L motor, and it definitely moves like hell. Though I have heard of people having a ton of reliablity problems with them, mostly with different parts of the supercharger not working, and the intercooler pump breaking due to a mounting design flaw. Still a real fun car to drive.

Though ever since Clarkson said the Crossfire looks like a dog hunched over about to do it's business, well that pretty much ruined the SRT6 forever for me hah.

Gary, the main problem is the intercooler pump as you stated. Luckily there's a huge aftermarket and there's both a larger IP AND an IP swap from the F150 SVT Lightning that's easy to do.

ted tcb
11-23-08, 10:48 AM
Jesda, aren't you glad that you guys weren't driving the Crossfire when you went offroading, looking for late night Pizza?

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-23-08, 11:46 AM
I wish my Mercedes-built 3.2 liter six cylinder was supercharged. :(

Jesda
11-23-08, 12:19 PM
Jesda, aren't you glad that you guys weren't driving the Crossfire when you went offroading, looking for late night Pizza?

The result would have been the same LOL

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-23-08, 12:25 PM
Jesda, when you say that transmission behaves oddly, but by design, what exactly do you mean?

Jesda
11-23-08, 01:32 PM
Jesda, when you say that transmission behaves oddly, but by design, what exactly do you mean?

Light little jerks/ticks/vibrations, usually right after hard acceleration.

ryannel2003
11-23-08, 02:04 PM
I always liked the design of the Crossfire, though with that large wing on the back it looks kinda awkward. Chrysler really misinterpreted the market with that car though. The concept was well received, but by the time the car came out people had moved on.

If I had the choice between the Crossfire or 350Z, I'd take the Z anyday. I loved the Z when they first came out. Nissan f'ed up with the 370.

Night Wolf
11-23-08, 03:43 PM
It's a slushbox :(

Man those pics of Tampa make me wanna make a trip down there.... soon.... that's one of the main reasons why I got the BMW convertible.

I sat in a base Crossfire... it was cool, but I dunno if I could live with one... guess I'd have to spend some time with it first.

Destroyer
11-23-08, 09:26 PM
Nice looking ride. The interior with the exception of the seats is dissapointing to look at. Its the same in the MB version you say?. Damn!. The stock wheels aren't very attractive either. Looks like fun anyway, make mine a vert!. :thumbsup:

96Fleetwood
11-23-08, 10:27 PM
All that gorgeous weather and no time to clean the brake dust off the wheels? :(

I wish I had temps like that here in Chicagoland to work on the cars...

Good review on the Crossfire. I never liked those cars.. never really liked the SLK either. Too small and for the money I would rather have a Audi TT or VW R32.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-23-08, 10:32 PM
I'd take the R32 or 350Z over that beast.

Playdrv4me
11-23-08, 10:44 PM
350Z is really heavy and slow, and the interior is just as, if not more cheaply put together. The 370Z improved most of the failures of the 350 but the styling is pretty subjective (I like it). The R32 is interesting but it is pretty nose heavy since it isn't really anything more than a V6 thrown in the Golf. The SRT Xfire can do some pretty amazing things with very little modification.

In fact, the only REAL drawback to the Crossfire is Mercedes reliability (although the R32 isn't any better) and the stupid lack of Xenon Headlights.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-24-08, 12:23 AM
Compared to the S, the 350Z would be PLENTY fast lol.

Cliff8928
11-24-08, 01:36 AM
I wish my Mercedes-built 3.2 liter six cylinder was supercharged. :(

You just need to get one of those twin-turbo kits.

CIWS
11-24-08, 10:03 AM
Hey Jesda, when are you going to set up a YouTube channel with video reviews of your various Test Drives ?

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-24-08, 02:27 PM
You just need to get one of those twin-turbo kits.


:yup:


Or an S500....

96Fleetwood
11-24-08, 06:10 PM
:yup:


Or an S500....

Want to buy a '99 S500 Grand Edition ;) ?

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-24-08, 11:33 PM
:yup: :yup: :yup: Yes, but funds are lacking. :( :( :(

Destroyer
11-25-08, 12:32 AM
350Z is really heavy and slow....Ah yes but they are sooooo much fun to screw with!. I love racing them in the Cobra because for some reason they always think they will win and ah, well, they dont. Not by a long shot!. Its great. :D