The new Chrysler Crossfire, a two-seat sports coupe which brings a combination of style and performance that will excite enthusiasts throughout the globe, arrives to world markets in the second half of 2003.
The new Chrysler Crossfire combines expressive American design and personality with technology, performance and proportions ideally suited for Europe and other international markets.
While the appearance of Crossfire is the lure to attract the hearts of sportscar fans world-wide, it has beendesigned to be much more than just a pretty face. The goal was also to produce a genuine driver’s car, the ultimate expression of the Chrysler brand essence, and a true reflection of the brand’s core values expressive, confident, romantic and refined. With its long hood and fastback boat tail, Crossfire’s profile will become instantly recognisable around the globe.
‘Chrysler Crossfire offers technology, handling and performance wrapped in a dramatic and refined package. I’m sure that Crossfire will become an icon for the Chrysler brand,’ says Thomas Hausch, Executive Director of International Sales and Marketing, Chrysler Group. ‘The front end of this coupe will engrain itself on the public mind as the new Chrysler face, and the way it drives will be the yardstick for future Chrysler products.’ Crossfire arrives in international markets in both left and right hand drive in the last quarter of 2003, and the Chrysler Group plans to build 20,000 Crossfires per year, with approximately 15 percent of production destined for markets outside North America.
Crossfire, which was designed and developed by Chrysler Group’s USA-based Advanced Vehicle Engineering team, is built in Germany in collaboration with Karmann, one of the world’s leading full-service suppliers to the motor industry.
DESIGN, STYLING & AERODYNAMICS
Chrysler Crossfire, which goes on sale in international markets in the last quarter of this year, is broadly similar to the showcar of the same name, first exhibited at the North American International Auto Show in January 2001 and later at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2002.
Press and public reaction to the car was so positive that just a few weeks after its Detroit debut, a team of DaimlerChrysler engineers was assembled and followed a brief to examine existing vehicles, components and systems. They identified those which, together with some entirely new components, could be employed to build Crossfire in just two years.
The over-riding criteria behind the selection process of the Advanced Product Creation (APC) group, within Chrysler’s Advance Vehicle Engineering (AVE) team, was that Crossfire should look as much like the showcar as possible, and perform to (or if possible beyond) the expectations that those exciting looks had generated.
Now, two years later, Chrysler Crossfire is ready for the road. The spirit and dominant aesthetic features of the original have been retained or even exaggerated. The long ribbed hood, hunkered-down roofline and sweeping rear pillars, leading to the distinctive boat tail and the massive, sculptured rear wings are all retained, as is the unique body side crossover line (which gives rise to the vehicle name). It starts as a concave, indented crease behind the front wheelarch and crosses over the car’s flanks – ‘crossing’ to a convex crease mid-door – then sweeps back to highlight the edge of the rear wings and delineate the tail lamp clusters.
More subtle detailing – like the central spine running from front bumper, via grille, hood, roofline, tailgate, into the rear bumper – is a primary vehicle signature. The large wheels and wide tyres of the concept still dominate the profile, while the deep body and shallow glasshouse, give the car a distinctive presence on the road – even when parked.
The radiator grille expresses the ‘new face of Chrysler’ with a chrome Chrysler winged brandmark forming the leading edge of the hood. Vertical ribs in the grille align with those in the hood. The headlamp modules are sculpted with four lights that appear to float against the satin silver finish of the nacelles.
Deeply sculpted, simulated air-extractor louvers behind the front wheel arches hint at a powerful engine and have race car references. Horizontal louver ribs in satin silver have a jewel-like quality and create an area which will become one of many visual icons for the car.
The doors have ‘frameless’ glass to maximise the open-air feeling when motoring with the windows down. Tinted glass is standard in all windows, and the fixed quarter windows and tailgate glass are bonded in place, with a perimeter blackout area concealing the adhesive seam.
External ornaments on Crossfire are deliberately limited to Chrysler winged brandmarks on the hood and tailgate, low-profile letters spelling CROSSFIRE across the tailgate, and satin silver finish to the windscreen frame, side louver ribs, and horizontal bars in the grille and door handles.
Extensive wind tunnel time has ensured that Crossfire is aerodynamically balanced at all speeds. Particular attention was paid to the shapes of the front and rear fascias, the underbody trim panels attached to the rear floor, the diffuser on each side of the twin exhausts and the (extendable) spoiler mounted in the tailgate below the rear window.
Powered by an electric motor, the rear spoiler deploys automatically when car speed rises above 90 km/h. Deployment takes less than five seconds and the spoiler generates 356 Newtons of downforce to the rear of Crossfire at 129 km/h. The spoiler can be deployed manually at lower speeds using a switch on the centre console. Raised edges to the sides and trailing edge of the spoiler enhance its performance and it works in conjunction with the lower venturi created by the diffusers around the dual exhausts.
The door mirror housings were developed to reduce side-window soiling and minimum wind noise and drag. Dual electric, heated door mirrors are standard – the mirror housings fold back manually for protection in car washes and when parked on crowded city streets.
ENGINEERING & PRODUCTION
The foundation for creating a car with responsive sports coupe handling combined with a supple ride is a stiff bodyshell. Crossfire’s all-steel shell boasts exceptionally torsional rigidity (20,140 Nm/deg) and has been specially reinforced to bear the loads and forces generated by the unusually large wheels and tyres. The fixed-roof coupe styling, sweeping rear pillars and tall bulkhead separating the passenger compartment from the luggage area, play key roles in the overall structural stiffness of the shell and in its resistance to side impacts.
Frontal crash protection is provided by a series of interrelated impact resistant features beginning with the steel beam bumper system which channels loads into the chassis’ side rails where most of the energy is absorbed. Remaining loads are transferred to the floor structure, doors and roof. The extremely stiff passenger cabin is designed to transmit loads with minimal deformation and the doors will operate even after a severe impact.
The 60-litre trapezoid-shaped steel fuel tank is mounted above the rear suspension and behind the rear bulkhead for maximum protection from accident damage. Rear impact forces are directed by the bumper into the chassis side members and then into the main floor structure.
Side protection is enhanced by the fitting of a high-strength steel beam within each door, which transfers impact loads to the A and B pillars. Additional reinforcements are fitted to the upper edge of the door and along the lower belt line. The transverse stability of the passenger cabin is ensured by a massive cross member between the B pillars, and three further cross members under the windscreen, the dashboard and the seats.
The front and rear bumper systems provide protection for lamps and other safety-related equipment in impacts up to 6.4 km/h. Energy-absorbing foam-backed structural steel beams are covered by a body-colour polypropylene moulding. The beams bolt to the bodyshell for easy replacement in the event of damage.
The preponderance of European-built components (39 percent of the new car’s components are adapted from existing DaimlerChrysler technology) and systems selected by Chrysler Group’s AVE team for its wish list and acknowledgment that no existing DaimlerChrysler corporate plant had the capacity to build the new model, led to the decision to build Crossfire in Europe.
Three potential suppliers were formally requested to quote for the manufacture of Crossfire’s unique parts and for the assembly of completed cars in both left and right hand drive.
Bolstered partly by the fact that it already built several of the parts chosen for the new car, German coach builder Karmann GmbH was selected and rapidly established a team of 100 engineers to complete the design and production preparation of the car in collaboration with staff at the DaimlerChrysler Technical Centre in Michigan.
Extensive reliance on computer modelling by both Chrysler Group and Karmann engineers was used to ensure that the final bodyshell structure met all existing and immediate future safety requirements. This excellent occupantprotection performance was manufactured in Osnabrück. Crossfire will be available in a choice of five exterior colours – Alabaster, Black, Blaze Red Crystal, Graphite metallic, and Sapphire Silver metallic, all with clear coat varnish finish.
POWER & PERFORMANCE
Fitted with Chrysler Group’s own design of air-intake and exhaust systems – to best fit the available space as well as give the car its own unique intake/exhaust soundtrack – the 3.2-litre V-6 engine powering Chrysler Crossfire is manufactured at DaimlerChrysler’s V-engine plant in Untertuerkheim, Germany.
This all-aluminium, SOHC, 18-valve engine weighs just 140 kg and produces 160 kW and 310 Nm of torque. Light, responsive, smooth-revving and ultra-reliable, the 90-degree power unit promises to deliver sparkling performance in the 1,388 kg Crossfire.
For effortless performance, the V-6 is designed to deliver high torque across a broad band of engine speeds. While maximum torque is generated at just 3,000 rpm, over 90 percent of maximum torque is available from 2,600-to-5,300 rpm, and 98 percent is available from 3,000-to-4,500 rpm.
The combination of engine power, balanced weight distribution, suspension design and generous tyre sizes enables Crossfire to deliver sensational performance on straight or winding roads. Acceleration from 0-to-100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 6.5 seconds. Crossfire has an aerodynamically-limited top speed of 242 km/h .
Crossfire’s wheels and tyres are staggered in size, like those of a race car, narrower at the front for crisp steering and wider at the rear to transmit more power to the road surface. Their large diameter (wheels are 18 inch front, 19 inch rear), and generous tyre width, 225 mm front and 255 mm rear, give the car four giant ‘footprints’ or contact patches to generate immense grip and very high cornering forces – over 1.0 G lateral force on a dry surface.
Both traction control and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP®) are standard fit. Operative at all speeds, traction control senses rear-wheel spin and intervenes to stop the spin by individually braking the spinning wheel or by reducing engine power. ESP® compares the driver’s intended course, via steering angle and braking sensors, to the car’s actual course (through lateral acceleration, yaw and four individual wheel speed sensors) and applies a single wheel brake to a front or rear wheel, or reduces engine power, to restore the car to its original path.
The engine designers’ adoption of three valves per cylinder (two 36 mm intake and a single 41mm exhaust valve) allows the use of a single overhead camshaft per bank, provides room for two spark plugs per cylinder, and also allows them to create an extremely compact cylinder head. A balance shaft mounted above the crankshaft in the cylinder block rotates at engine speed but in the opposite direction, to compensate for the rocking motion inherent in all 90-degree V-6 configuration engines.
Extensive use of lightweight materials results in an engine that is 30 kg lighter than similar-sized competitor’s engines. Five elements of the design played a key role in the weight control programme – die-cast aluminum cylinder block, cylinder liners in spray-compacted Silitec (silicon alloy), magnesium intake manifold and cylinder head covers, thin-wall air-gap exhaust manifolds, and a lightweight valve train with hollow camshafts.
The space between the cylinder banks allows the use of dual-length air intake manifolds, with long tubes to enhance low-speed torque and short tubes which operate above 3,700 rpm, feeding air to the two intake valves as the engine computer imperceptibly switches between long and short tubes.
Petrol is delivered to the cylinders by multi-point electronic fuel injection that is optimised to provide the best combination of performance, economy and low exhaust emissions. Crossfire employs a drive-by-wire electronic throttle control, where the engine control computer interprets accelerator pedal movements and translates them into throttle positions.
Electronic, rather than physical control, allows engine power to be reduced (regardless of accelerator pedal position) when demanded by the traction control or Electronic Stability Programme (ESP®).
Features of Crossfire engine design which enhance fuel economy and reduce exhaust emissions include two spark plugs per cylinder more complete combustion), a high compression ratio for faster combustion and an exhaust system which heats the catalytic converters to operating temperature within seconds of start up. Dual ignition cuts hydrocarbon emissions (unburned fuel) by 20 percent compared to single-ignition systems. Chrysler Crossfire complies with EU4 emission standards in Europe.
Although the manual gearbox Crossfire has a high fuel-stretching sixth gear ratio, the five-speed automatic transmission model, with lock-up converter and sophisticated electronic control of gear-change points, returns even greater fuel economy. With NEDC fuel economy figures of 10.1 l/100km (automatic) and 10.4 l/100km (manual), Crossfire achieves a comfortable 560 kilometre range from its 60-litre fuel tank.
TRANSMISSION & REAR AXLE
The standard transmission for Crossfire is a six-speed manual gearbox with top gear sixth, an overdrive ratio for quiet, relaxed, fuel-efficient high-speed cruising. The gear change action is precise, with short, low-effort throws and all ratios, including reverse, are synchronised. Multi-cone synchronisers on gears 1-to-4 and low-inertia design of the gear clusters, help to minimise shift effort.
A satin silver-finish knob with Crossfire-signature, tops the gear lever which selects gears via rod linkages. The gear lever is spring-loaded to place ‘neutral’ in the 3/4 plane and reverse is selected by lifting the gear knob (to overcome the lockout-mechanism) and moving the lever left and back. The clutch is hydraulically operated. Crossfire buyers can choose the optional five-speed automatic transmission, which features a driver-adaptive shift logic, full automatic or AutoStick™ shiftless manual gear selection, a lock-up torque converter and selectable standard and winter modes. The basic settings of the driving programs are geared for sports-style driving, but the transmission control computer also adapts the shift points to suit individual driving styles, driving situations and road conditions.
The lock-up torque converter has a 1.8:1 starting torque ratio for brisk acceleration from standstill. Lock-up is available in third, fourth, and fifth gears only and is never complete, to eliminate driveline vibrations. With the selector lever in ‘Drive’, AutoStick™ turns the transmission into a sequential-manual gearbox, allowing the driver to manually select the next higher or lower ratio by tapping the lever to the right (+) to change up, or left (-) to change down. The shift range P, R, N, D or gear range 1, 2, 3, 4 currently in use, is displayed in the instrument cluster.
A rocker switch beside the selector lever enables the driver to select standard or winter modes. In winter mode, starts are made in second gear and the higher of the two reverse gears available, is employed to reduce the likelihood of wheelspin on slippery surfaces. In this mode, upshifts also occur at lower vehicle speeds to reduce the risk of traction loss.
In both fully automatic and AutoStick™ operations, electronic safeguards ensure that selection of a particular gear ratio cannot over-rev the engine. A brake-park interlock requires the driver to apply the brakes while shifting out of Park. If an electronic system malfunction occurs, the transmission will select second gear when placed in Drive – allowing the driver to ‘limp home’ at reduced speed. The transmission fluid is engineered to last the entire service life of the car under normal operating conditions.
Drive is carried to the rear axle by a two-piece propshaft with four constant-velocity universal joints (CVJs) to minimise vibrations. The final drive ratio is 3.27:1 and articulated half-shafts deliver power from the final drive unit to each rear wheel – again with CVJs to minimise vibrations.
SUSPENSION & STEERING
Building on the major attributes of a stiff body shell and evenly balanced weight distribution, Chrysler Crossfire suspension and steering are calibrated to achieve high levels of cornering grip, with user-friendly handling characteristics while also giving the driver excellent feedback and allowing precise car control.
Crossfire’s fully independent front suspension uses double wishbones mounted on the bodyshell, with coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and a 25 mm anti-roll bar. The suspension design features anti-squat and anti-dive geometry. This set-up achieves minimum toe and camber changes under hard acceleration and braking, and delivers good straight-line stability even on bumpy roads. Total wheel travel is 155 mm, which is unusually high for a sports coupe, and contributes towards the car’s superior ride quality.
A pressed-steel subframe serves as mounting for the rear suspension and final drive unit, and also isolates the body shell from road surface imperfections. The five-link suspension features coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and a 19 mm anti-roll bar. Anti-squat and anti-dive geometry is employed and rear wheel travel is a generous 160 mm.
Power steering is standard, with a recirculating ball system. The steering ratio is 16.7:1 and the system requires 3.1 turns of the steering wheel from lock-to-lock. A hydraulic damper eliminates undesirable yaw motions and enhances straight-ahead steering feel for Crossfire drivers on the motorway.
BRAKES & BRAKE ASSIST
As appropriate for a car with Chrysler Crossfire’s level of performance, the power-assisted braking system features large diameter ventilated front discs and solid rear discs, backed up by the highly sophisticated electronic wizardry of ABS anti-lock and Brake Assist System (BAS).
The front brakes have 300 x 28 mm ventilated discs with single-piston floating callipers, the rear 278 x 9 mm solid discs with opposed-piston fixed callipers. Wear sensors illuminate a dashboard warning light if either set of front pads becomes worn. Power assistance is by a single-diaphragm vacuum booster and tandem master cylinder.
State of the art, four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock (ABS) is standard fit on Crossfire. When activated by heavy braking on a slippery surface, it applies and releases the brakes at a rate of 30 times per second, preventing wheel lock up and allowing the driver to retain steering control.
Brake Assist System (BAS) senses when a driver is braking in an emergency and immediately applies maximum available power boost. BAS overcomes the human tendency not to brake hard, or soon enough.
WHEELS & TYRES
Seven spoke, satin silver paint-finished aluminum alloy wheels are standard fit on Chrysler Crossfire. Front wheels are 18 inches in diameter, rears are 19 inches, while rim widths are 7.5 and 9.0 inches, respectively. In keeping with Crossfire’s stylish appearance, the five-bolt mountings of each wheel are hidden behind a snap-in centre cap sporting a Chrysler brandmark seal, and any wheel balance weights are ‘invisibly’ attached to the rim behind the spokes.
Ultra-low profile Michelin Pilot Sport radial performance tyres are the standard fit on Crossfire. Like the wheels, the tyres are staggered in size, much like those of a race car, narrower at the front (225 mm wide) for crisp steering and wider at the rear (255 mm wide) to transmit more power to the road surface.
Crossfire carries no spare tyre as statistics show that drivers will suffer a puncture only once in every 150,000 km of motoring. To deal with a flat, Crossfire is equipped with a TIREFIT service kit – a can of pressurised tyre sealant and an electric compressor to re-inflate the tyre.
The Y-rated Michelins are optimised for performance driving at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph), while V-rated Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip winter tyres for speeds up to 240 km/h are available in the aftermarket for customers wanting to use their cars in wintry conditions. The Goodyear tyres offer substantially improved snow traction. Customers wanting to use winter tyres or snow chains must use 225/40 tyres all around and will need to purchase two additional 18 inch diameter wheels for use on the rear axle of their Crossfire.
INTERIOR COMFORT & REFINEMENT
The overall feel of Chrysler Crossfire’s interior combines the simple functionality of a sports coupe, with the traditional elegance and refinement of a Chrysler, while echoing many of the design cues of the coupe’s exterior. Undoubtedly, Crossfire’s design and execution takes Chrysler interiors to a new level, in terms of appearance and quality, and in the precision-feel of the major and minor switchgear.
A central spine runs through the headliner, the top of the dashboard, the centre console and even the gearshift knob. Each side of the spine, Crossfire follows a twin-cockpit theme, with the curved passenger air-bag panel mimicking the instrument cluster on the other side and the large satin silver finish centre console and transmission tunnel clearly demarking the two cabin sides. The bright satin finish also highlights steering wheel spokes, door sill plates, door pull handles, speaker grille rings, and instrument surrounds.
Chrysler Crossfire buyers have a choice of three interior colour schemes – depending on their selection of exterior paint finish. The colours are dark slate throughout the cabin, or dark slate contrasted with medium slate, or dark slate with cedar.
The twin-cockpit theme means that the cabin has been tailored to accommodate two occupants in great comfort. Generous head, shoulder, and leg room ensure that the widest range of occupants will enjoy travelling in Crossfire’s cabin. The driver’s seat has eight-way power adjustment – horizontal (by up to 194mm), vertical (by 43mm), cushion tilt, and backrest angle. The passenger seat has four-way adjustment. All seats are heated and leather-trimmed and have Chrysler wing brandmarks embossed in the head restraints.
The 380 mm diameter, leather-trimmed steering wheel is adjustable for reach over a 46 mm range, and with the height-adjustable driver’s seat enables occupants to find the perfect driving position. Facing the driver, the three circular dial instrument panel houses four analogue gauges – speedometer, rev-counter, fuel level, and water temperature.
The satin silver finished centre console is a major feature of the cabin. It houses twin air-vents, heating and ventilation controls, the Infinity™ Modulus audio system, six-minor switches, and hazard warning control, electric exterior mirror adjuster, twin electric window switches and a single cup-holder. Crossfire’s standard audio system features an RDS radio and single-disc CD player with a six-channel 240-Watt amplifier and four door-mounted and two rear bulkhead-mounted speakers.
In addition to the dashboard’s lockable, 4.8-litre glove-box, interior storage facilities include full-length net map pockets in each door, two 350 x 180 mm net pockets behind each seat on the cabin’s rear bulkhead and a 4.6-litre storage compartment beneath a hinged cover on the central transmission tunnel. A parcel net on the passenger side of the tunnel provides extra storage for miscellaneous items and a detachable storage pouch (400 x 220 mm) can be mounted on the rear bulkhead between the net pockets.
The exceptional body shell stiffness of Crossfire gives it a solid feeling and contributes to the car’s high levels of interior refinement. The 3.2-litre V-6 engine achieves smoothness and vibration levels as low as a good in-line six-cylinder engine – theoretically the engine with the best possible balance.
Engine noise is subdued by certain characteristics built into the V-6 and by its installation in Crossfire. Internal rotating and oscillating masses were minimised, a counter-rotating balance shaft eliminates rocking, and dual-ignition reduces combustion noise while delivering unprecedented smoothness.
The engine is supported by two hydraulic front mounts and one rubber rear mount – the trio providing both noise insulation and suspension damping. The Chrysler branded decorative engine cover also incorporates sound insulating material to muffle noise.
To isolate the cabin from both mechanical noise and road induced vibrations, both front and rear suspensions use mounting bushings specially tuned to dampen out vibrations, while maintaining the optimum geometry for precise handling and road holding.
The front suspension is mounted on the body shell, while the differential and five-link rear suspension is mounted in a sub-frame cradle that attaches to the body shell through rubber dampers at four points. The top mounts of the coil-springs, shock-absorbers, and anti-roll bars are attached directly to the body in rubber bushings. Though undoubtedly wide, the special tyres selected by Chrysler for Crossfire have relatively soft side walls that respond progressively to road irritations and together with the long wheel travel, play a part delivering in the sports coupe’s pleasingly pliant and comfortable ride.
SAFETY & SECURITY
While passive safety (accident avoidance) is a high priority with an agile sports coupe like Chrysler Crossfire, it has a full compliment of active safety equipment, which works in conjunction with the controlled deformation of the body structure to optimise occupant protection in ‘real-world’ accidents.
Accident avoidance technology fitted as standard to Crossfire includes the very latest developments in ABS (anti-lock braking), BAS (Brake Assist System) and ESP® (Electronic Stability Programme) to help keep the car on the road and following the driver’s intended course, even in the severest of weather conditions.
Sometimes a collision may not be avoided and that’s when Crossfire’s Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) assesses the severity of an impact to determine the appropriate responses. Three-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load-limiters are fitted, together with front and side air-bags (mounted in each door) for driver and passenger, a knee bolster for the driver and special deformable padding in the headlining, covering all areas of possible head impact.
A remote key less entry system controls the standard central locking which secures the doors, tailgate and fuel-filler flap. Automatic Central Locking can be selected; this activates the system when vehicle’s speed reaches 15 km/h. To aid exit and rescue following a collision, the doors unlock automatically a short time after a major deceleration is detected.
Crossfire is equipped with a Sentry Key™ immobiliser controlled by a coded electronic transponder in each key fob supplied with the car. Whenever the key is removed from the ignition, it disables the engine computer, preventing unauthorised driving of the vehicle, because the engine will not start.
An anti-theft alarm system sounds a siren (for 30 seconds) and flashes the headlights (for three minutes) if an unauthorised attempt is made to open the doors, hood or tailgate, or to raise the car for towing. The tow-alarm may be de-activated to enable towing with the vehicle while locked.
Price this car:
MSRP: $33,620 – $33,620
Invoice: $31,158 – $31,158
Source: Chrysler Press Release