Road Test: Crossfire

As I pulled up to a stoplight in a low-slung silver Chrysler Crossfire, a hulking black pickup beside me blasted its horn. For a minute I wondered what I had done to provoke such road rage. But when I looked over, the driver was sticking up his thumb, not his middle finger. The Crossfire, an elegant piece of art deco automotive sculpture, inspires that kind of emotional outburst. From its long, ribbed hood to its tapered boat tail, this coupe is a stunner. It conjures up a glamorous, bygone era of car styling--inside and out. The cockpit sports stylish chrome-rimmed gauges and hand-stitched leather seats. On the road, the Crossfire handles crisply, with a stiff European ride. That's no accident, since 40 percent of its parts are lifted from Chrysler's corporate sibling, Mercedes-Benz. The Crossfire also takes a cue from Porsche, with a rear spoiler that deploys at 60mph. But the Crossfire is no Porsche. Its 215-horsepower V6 is too tame for a car that looks fast standing at a stoplight. Still, while driving the Crossfire, I discovered just how fun it is to be all the rage on the road.

Tip: It's a sweet ride--if you care more about beauty than brawn.