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2001 Chrysler Sebring Coupe Road Test

2001 Chrysler Sebring Coupe - It's Got Legs and a Pretty Face

During last years New York International Auto Show, Chrysler impressed me with the unveiling of the completely redesigned and redefined Sebring line. Gone was the old practice of separating their look of the sedan (Cirrus), coupe and convertible from each other. Now, each Sebring adopts a variation of the graceful Concorde grille, bringing an entry-level luxury distinction to its mid-priced category while tying the entire Sebring family together. The front end isn't the only attractive aspect of the Sebring family styling either. Each model's lines are smooth and flowing without unnecessary body cladding - the usual sign of a weak initial design.

Although each Sebring sibling looks as if it originates from the same gene pool, what lies under the skin is quite the opposite. While the sedan and convertible ride on the same platform and are propelled by identical 200 hp V6's, the coupe comes from completely different stock, sharing its underpinnings with the new Mitsubishi Eclipse. This partnership is nothing new however. Chrysler and Mitsubishi joined forces way back in the late 1980's launching Diamond Star Motors. This was a joint venture company created to produce the Eclipse and Chrysler offerings, the Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon. The original and second generation DSM coupes and convertibles (as their devotees call them) were performance-oriented machines, and justifiably developed an almost religious following - especially the turbo, all-wheel drive versions. While none of these models are currently sold new in Canada, the Chrysler Sebring Coupe acts as the spiritual successor to the Diamond Star trio on this side of the 49th parallel. Stateside, the Mitsubishi Eclipse is still available and Dodge offers the Stratus Coupe, a performance tuned-variation.