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Chrysler ME Four Twelve

Guest brwneydtrouble

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Guest brwneydtrouble

I think its pretty fuckin bad ass.....

Car and Driver - March 2004

It's just batty, this idea of making a carbon-fiber, super-exotic racer with an 850-hp engine and affixing a Chrysler badge to it. It makes no sense whatsoever. Aren't these the guys who make Neons and Strati?

If it made any sense at all for Chrysler to unveil a half-million-dollar car at the Detroit auto show, then a $25,000 gold Timex would make sense. A $1000 Wal-Mart suit would make sense. A $70,000 VW would—okay, strike that last one.

When pushed, even Chrysler guys (sorry, DaimlerChrysler guys) say, "Yeah, it sounds crazy on paper, but who knows?"

Or they'll counter with something like, "Hey, the Viper didn't relate to anything in Dodge's lineup in 1989 when it was unveiled as a concept." And they'll be right about that. Perhaps you haven't yet purged from memory the Colt, Omni, Shadow, Aries, and Spirit included in Dodge's '89 lineup.

If the Viper, with its thundering truck engine and cartoonishly virile body, represented a uniquely American form of performance, this ME Four-Twelve represents as clearly the current reality of Chrysler, now a division of a German company.

You can't wander around any international auto show for long without tripping over a few carbon-fiber wundercars from one or another European manufacturer.

The awkwardly named ME Four-Twelve is the brainchild of Chrysler's chief operating officer, German-born Wolfgang Bernhard—a performance-car nut who was employed by Mercedes and, for a time, as managing director of the company's performance arm, AMG, before coming to the U.S.

Bernhard was the man straddling the Viper-powered, four-wheel, quasi-motorcycle fantasy called the Dodge Tomahawk at last year's Detroit show. Hard act to follow, what with his Terminator black leather jacket and all. Shortly after that bit of show biz in January 2003, Bernhard asked for a "prototype" sports car for Chrysler that could outperform every supercar on the market, including those from Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti, and yes, Mercedes. And it could not be just a "concept." It must, said Bernhard, be a "prototype."

Which is to say that this sports car could not be just sculpture but rather a vehicle that could be put into production. The resulting vehicle, Chrysler insists, is production feasible and has undergone far more engineering analysis and computer development than most concept cars. The company won't rule out the possibility of production.

The first thing needed to make a concept a reality is a workable and working engine. The ME Four-Twelve has an engine—and then some. From AMG comes a 6.0-liter V-12, with a race-car-style dry-sump lubrication system and four turbochargers blowing 20 psi of boost, mounted just behind the two seats. This engine, a pumped-up and reengineered version of the twin-turbo V-12 from the Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG, makes 850 horsepower at 5750 rpm and 850 pound-feet of torque anywhere between 2500 and 4500 rpm. (Get the name now? Mid-engined, four turbos, twelve cylinders—ME Four-Twelve.) The engine was the one given in the early design of the ME. The rest of the car was designed around it to achieve the company's performance targets. With the car's 3000-pound curb weight, that level of juice gives the Chrysler a weight-to-power ratio of 3.5 pounds per horsepower. A Ferrari Enzo burdens each of its 650 horses with five pounds.

Continued here....


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