What's New for 2006
A Special Edition package is new this year, and includes exclusive Inferno Red paint and unique exterior styling enhancements.
The promise of DaimlerChrysler has often been one of cars with German engineering and American styling. As a prime example, look no further than the 2006 Chrysler Crossfire. The Crossfire's distinctive exterior styling is a hallmark of Chrysler innovation but underneath is a considerable amount of hardware cribbed from the first-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster.
Even though it's been a few years now since the car's introduction, the Crossfire still looks fresh. Alas, the regular Crossfire's driving dynamics don't quite match what the styling would seem to promise. While it can be fun to drive on a twisty road, the lack of low-end torque and imprecise steering can be letdowns for more demanding drivers. The Crossfire is better at delivering a smooth, quiet highway ride that allows either the coupe or the convertible to be an excellent candidate for an intimate weekend getaway.
If that sounds like a dull way to spend Saturday and Sunday, the 2006 Crossfire SRT-6 should better suit your fast-paced fancy. Based on the AMG version of the old SLK, the SRT-6 coupe and convertible effectively quell any complaints for lack of power. Thanks to its 330-horsepower supercharged V6, this Crossfire can get to 60 mph in about 5 seconds. In addition to its special engine, the Crossfire SRT-6 benefits from 40 percent firmer spring rates and dampers, larger brake rotors and wheels, and a prominent rear spoiler.
For buyers looking for a guilty pleasure that doesn't eat up as much of their retirement savings as European brands, the 2006 Chrysler Crossfire might be worth a look. However, the car's aged underpinnings don't do it any favors, especially in regard to driving dynamics and interior design. Make sure you test-drive competitors like the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche Cayman before making a decision.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2006 Chrysler Crossfire is available in coupe and convertible body styles, both of which seat two and come in base, Limited and SRT-6 trim. Base models come with such features as dual-zone manual air-conditioning, a four-speaker CD stereo, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, full power accessories and, on convertibles, a power top with rear glass defroster. Limited models add power-adjustable leather seats with heaters, tire-pressure monitor and an eight-speaker, 240-watt Infinity stereo system. The SRT-6 adds 18-inch wheels up front and 19-inchers in back and Nappa Pearl leather seats with Alcantara suede inserts amongst its many performance upgrades.
Powertrains and Performance
Base Crossfire models are powered by a Mercedes-engineered 3.2-liter V6 that produces 215 hp and 229 pound-feet of torque. Base coupes are available only with a six-speed manual transmission, while other Crossfires can be had with either the manual or a five-speed automatic. SRT-6 performance comes courtesy of a supercharged, 3.2-liter V6 with 330 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission choice is a sport-oriented five-speed automatic with manual-shift capability.
Standard safety equipment on the 2006 Chrysler Crossfire includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control and side airbags that protect passengers' heads and torsos. A tire-pressure monitor is standard on the Limited and SRT-6.
Interior Design and Special Features
Both the coupe and convertible offer comfortable accommodations for two adults. Getting into the coupe is a little tricky because of the low roof that curves down to meet the side windows, but once inside, headroom is plentiful due to the car's domed shape. Unfortunately, rearward visibility is seriously limited.
The handsome two-tone cockpit features basically the same layout as the first-generation SLK. Peer closely at its metallic trim and you'll see that most of it is merely plastic with a silver finish. Moreover, the outdated Mercedes stereo head unit has numerous small, unlabeled buttons that are difficult to use. As in most two-seaters, you shouldn't expect to load more than a couple of duffel bags into either the coupe or convertible. In the SRT-6, a fair amount of tire noise tends to spoil freeway cruising.
Although capable of respectable 0-to-60-mph times in the high-6-second range, neither the regular 2006 Chrysler Crossfire coupe nor roadster feels especially fast. Low-end torque is lacking, with most of the usable power available between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm. The V6's power delivery is relatively smooth, but this isn't an engine that begs to be run to redline. The Crossfire's stiff body structure and oversize tires give it crisp handling characteristics when exercised on back roads. The steering is light on feedback and precision compared to cars like the BMW Z4 and Audi TT, but as it is, the Crossfire is fun enough to toss around on a twisty road.
The SRT-6 does manage to bump the thrill meter up several notches, albeit at the cost of ride quality, as the SRT-6 has, without a doubt, one of the stiffest rides we've experienced. Power is plentiful at all speeds, with 90 percent of peak torque available from 2,300 to 6,200 rpm. The engine provides a delightful soundtrack under full throttle, yet will cruise down the highway in relative silence. Skimming off speed is no problem, as larger brakes provide excellent pedal and short stopping distances. The real fun begins when the road turns twisty, as the SRT-6 exhibits a flat attitude through the corners while its massive tires provide immense grip.