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Motoring: Crossfire Roadster beats out Audi TT by a hair

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 29th, 2007



I know the summer is over. Soon we will wake up to cold winter mornings, and I am sure snow is not to far behind.

So I bet you want to learn about what kind of vehicle you should be buying for our harsh winter climate.

Well I have other ideas. I want to tell you about two of the more interesting cars I drove this beautiful summer, so you can start saving and line up to buy them next summer. The cars in question are the Chrysler Crossfire Roadster and the new Audi TT.


The Crossfire is the only American car I know off that has been completely made in Germany (probably will also be the last sadly). The Crossfire in my mind is the best result out of the German/American alliance that once was DaimlerChrysler. The two companies have parted ways this year, but the Crossfire remains, at least for now.

However, I bet its days are numbered, as Chrysler has already stopped production of its hotter version, the Crossfire SRT6, which in roadster form was one of my favourite cars I tested last year. Now the only engine available in the Crossfire is the naturally aspirated 3.2-litre V6, same engine you would find in a Mercedes-Benz SLK320 (the Crossfire is after all sitting on a modified platform of the old SLK320), which produces the healthiest 215 hp I have ever come across. That wonderful engine can be mated to either a five-speed Autostick automatic gearbox or as in my test car, the six-speed manual.

Having driven the Crossfire with both gearbox options, all I can say is, no matter which combination you go with, you'll like it. This might not be fastest car or the nicest sounding car, but it just feels right and you will enjoy driving it so much, you wouldn't care what anyone else is driving. I just love it, so much so that I even asked Chrysler for an extension so I can enjoy it a few extra days, and I rarely ever do that.

The only minor complaint I have regarding the Crossfire is that the interior is not very exciting to look at, and the quality of the plastics could have been a lot better. This is a shame since the exterior is wonderful.

For lessons in doing proper interiors, Chrysler should take a close look at the interior of the new Audi TT. It is not only beautifully designed, but the quality is great too. Plus the Audi, benefiting from being a new design, also offers a lot more toys, like a great navigation system. It also offers one of the best gearboxes on the planet. It's called “DSG” and it works like an automatic most of the time, but when you need to have fun, you can play with it like a manual. Yes, the Autostick in the Crossfire lets you swap gear ratios too, but the speed and quality of the shifts are much better in the Audi.

You have more engine choices with the Audi too. You can opt for the 2-litre, four-cylinder, turbo which produces 200 hp, or you can have the 3.2-litre V6 which produces 250 hp.

The turbo only comes in front-wheel drive form, and the V6 comes with all-wheel drive. Having driven both, I'd much rather save the money and buy the cheaper Turbo model.

The Turbo is more responsive, and thanks to the weight saving, just as fast as the V6. Even on the handling test, the front drive TT handled as well as the all-wheel drive TT, maybe even better. However, I do prefer the Crossfire in this area, thanks to its rear-wheel drive layout.

When you turn the traction control off, the Crossfire just becomes more nimble and more fun to toss around compared to the TT.

Also, while both the TT and Crossfire are great cars to drive, in the end, it was the Crossfire that made me smile a tad bit more. So in this comparison, my surprise pick is the Crossfire Roadster.

The Crossfire Roadster is a bit cheaper, starting at $51,900. The Audi TT Roadster Turbo starts at $53,600, while its V6 version starts at an astronomical $65,550.

Yes, in some ways, the TT is better than the Crossfire, but not when you look at the price difference.

So if I could, I'd buy a Crossfire Roadster, while I can still buy one new.
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