The Chrysler Crossfire was an odd vehicle. It was only produced from 2004 to 2008, and for good reason.
It was ostensibly a sports car from an automaker not known for producing sports cars. Chrysler was known at the time for the Town and Country minivan and the PT Cruiser. The minivans were extremely capable family haulers with a long track record of success. The PT Cruiser did not fare as well.
So, why would Chrysler, of all companies, produce a sports car? It was partly due to Chrysler’s previous partnership with Mercedes-Benz. The Chrysler Crossfire actually borrowed several components from Mercedes’ much more successful SLK roadster (via Car and Driver).
On paper, the Crossfire appeared to be a smash hit, or at the very least a competent sports car. The 3.2L V6 engine was borrowed from Germany and produced more than 200 horsepower. That wasn’t so bad nearly two decades ago. Chrysler even produced a sportier variant known as the Crossfire SRT-6. This vehicle had a supercharger and 330 horsepower.
The real Crossfire killer was indecision. The car couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a sporty and light car like the SLK or a Sunday cruiser like the Sebring.
A confused Chrysler
The mechanical components of the Crossfire appeared to be squared away. The exterior was a completely different story. The Crossfire appeared sporty from the outside. The SRT-6 models even had a factory wing that looked odd at best and cheap at worst. The styling was contentious. Many years ago, publications praised the Crossfire’s exterior. Today, the design appears bizarre.
The handling characteristics of the Crossfire were praised by critics at the time. After all, it’s difficult to argue with a supercharged two-door, even if it does resemble an angry Sebring with no trunk.
The Crossfire really fell apart on the inside. According to MotorBiscuit, the interior was cramped. It had all the futuristic features of a German-engineered sports car and all the leather-clad comforts of a quarter-century-old LeBaron. As a result, the interior is perplexing.
The Crossfire is an example of trying too hard and failing miserably. Chrysler sold just over 34,000 Crossfires before retiring the model into the wild blue yonder. The press has well received the Crossfire at the time, but customers seemed to prefer sports cars that knew what they were doing.