Chrysler broke new ground when it introduced its Crossfire sports coupe last year, and keeps momentum for 2005 with significant additions to the line. Or maybe that should read “significant reductions,” as the most immediately noticeable addition is the removal of the top, to form the Crossfire Roadster.
The Roadster was planned from the inception of the Crossfire program, and was developed in tandem with the Coupe. As with the Coupe, the Roadster is a product of both sides of the DaimlerChrysler combine, styled in the U.S. by Chrysler, based on the first-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK and assembled by Karmann in Osnabrueck, Germany. The SLK platform is eminently suitable for drop-top use – the original SLK was the first modern convertible with a folding metal top, after all. The Crossfire Roadster’s power folding cloth top fits neatly into the space as the SLK’s metal top disappeared into.
The Crossfire line has grown in other ways, too. The regular models are now offered in two trim levels, base and Limited. Base models have a six-speed manual transmission, cloth upholstery, and low-back bucket seats; Limiteds get standard leather and high-back buckets, an available five-speed automatic transmission, and more luxury features. All have a moveable spoiler that deploys above 60 mph, and both convertible models feature a power-operated top that disappears completely beneath a stylish metal tonneau.