Startech Chrysler Crossfire V8 Source AutoWeek
Too bad it won't be sold here in the states, too much for me anyway. Still I wonder that they'll do for the 300CSTARTECH CHRYSLER CROSSFIRE V8
ON SALE: Now (not in the United States)
BASE PRICE: $115,000 (pre-tax est.)
POWERTRAIN: 6.1-liter, 426-hp, 458-lb-ft V8; rwd, six-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT: 3400 pounds (est.)
0 to 60 MPH: 4.69 seconds (mfr.)
>> A COUPLE OF YEARS BACK BRABUS, Mercedes-Benz upgrade artists in Germany, created a sister firm, Startech, to handle power and styling upgrades for Chrysler Group rides. Startech takes Brabus’ engineering know-how and makes hairier versions of cars Americans would never dream of hot rodding. Think sinister-looking Voyager going cupholder-to-cupholder with Marauder.
More pertinent is this 426-hp, 458-lb-ft Crossfire with a 6.1-liter V8 (bore by stroke: 99.5 millimeters by 97 millimeters) based on the Mercedes 5.0-liter powerplant found in several models out of Stuttgart, including the S500. Outrageous stuff, you say? We’re among the first to test this production scorcher, and the pyrotechnics we put the tires through are still being talked about in Düsseldorf.
Remember, we are talking Chrysler Crossfire, with a stock price tag that already bugs us a touch at $34,550. To spend up to $165,000 on one seems unreal. We didn’t find out its price until after our thrill ride. Literally, the shock wiped the smile right off our collective face. But this car will never make it to the United States, so put your checkbook away, 50 Cent. Taking nothing from the old SLK-based, Austro-American-German V8 super coupe, it flies to 60 mph from a dead stop in just under 4.7 seconds and hits a top speed of 187 mph. But a Chrysler for more than $100,000—heck, $50k—is odd.
Apart from our pricing snits, this form of the Crossfire is a remarkable piece of work. Besides a remapped Mercedes ECU, 11.5:1 compression ratio, forged aluminum piston heads, shortened forged steel conrods and a crankshaft milled from billet that gives a longer valve stroke of 11.8 millimeters, Startech adds bespoke interiors that significantly redefine the driving experience. There are still a few pieces of the original car’s plastic trim visible, but the Star Blue custom leather—about $11,000 for the total cow blanket—and full Alcantara roof liner are tremendous stuff.
Turn the key to on and press the start button on the console just right of the shifter. Our German pals really do know how to tune an exhaust note, and the note from this amplified 6.1-liter engine with streamlined twin exhaust is great music. The tonal difference between this and the 330-hp SRT-6 version using the supercharged 3.2-liter from the old SLK32 AMG is night and day. Compared to this, the standard Crossfire’s 3.2-liter 215-hp mill is downright meek.
With this much pulling power the six-speed manual transmission can achieve every bit of its potential, and the Startech-tuned ride and handling are also as responsive as this price would seem to warrant. The 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rears wrapped in wide, low-profile Z-rated Pirellis certainly help all the fun. This Baby Bear’s ride, in particular, is neither too harsh nor too soft, but just right.
It was these four Italian tires that we helped age with our launch shenanigans. Unfortunately, this Crossfire retains the 6000-rpm redline from the standard car and thus peak is reached quickly when searching for smoke out the back in first gear. What you get is a steadily repeated spinout as the needle bounces off the rev limiter every two or so seconds. The rubbery smoke is fragrant and plentiful.
A version of the automatically deployed rear wing with an extended lip for added stability is here as well, instead of the fixed unit on the SRT-6. Startech is working on a compressor version of the SRT-6, which should be available through Brabus in Newport Beach next year.
Startech won’t give up Crossfire V8 production estimates, but it is available now for the rest of the earth’s people with cash to burn. If they request only the 6.1 engine, tenacious braking system, wheel/tire package and chassis tuning, they can keep the price to a low, low U.S.-dollar equivalent of $135,000.