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Future models - Chrysler - Airflite

First look: Chrysler takes Airflite

Under consideration: The Airflite may be built but it is years away from production.

A five-door hatchback previews Chrysler's future look

11 Mar 2003

IT looks like a Crossfire coupe that has been stretched this way and that to fit a couple of extra doors, but observers say the Chrysler Airflite concept introduced at Geneva is more significant than that.

The car, with styling links to the Crossfire that Chrysler does not deny, is a five-door hatchback intended to provide a solid indication of the company's new styling direction.

The Airflite continues the Crossfire's cab-back theme, complete with sloping roofline and trademark centre crease. Its sleekness is aided by the pillarless window treatment.

Will Chrysler build it? The company has a strong history of bringing its concepts to fruition and executives admitted to the press in Geneva that the numbers have been crunched.

But they say that at best it is three years away from production after the green light is given.

The Airflite is based on a shortened version of the new rear-wheel drive LX platform. Power is provided by a 3.5-litre V6 engine.

It rides on massive 20-inch wheels upfront and 21-inch seven-spoke wheels at the rear.

"Airflite is the ultimate expression of functional art," said Trevor Creed, senior vice-president of design, Chrysler Group.

"It is designed to offer true functionality in a beautifully-designed exterior and interior package that is as exciting and as elegant as any coupe on the road."Airflite was created by exterior designer Greg Howell and interior designer Simeon Kim, who were inspired by sources as diverse as contemporary furniture design, classic marine architecture and the Chrysler building, an Art Deco icon of the New York City skyline.

Styling details include a hatchback that cuts deeply into the vehicle's form, with hinges set far forward for ease of opening and access. The fuel filler cap is located inside the hatch for additional security and simplicity of the exterior lines.

The interior is dominated by a centre spine that connects the interior from front to back. The spine is brushed aluminium, the centre console is satin silver and the floor is wood.

The four leather seats appear to float, as they are attached to the horizontal centre console, while the armrests float off the door trim to enhance the roominess of the interior.

Chrysler Airflite specifications
Length: 4.838m
Wheelbase: 2.946m
Width: 1.870m
Height: 1.488m
Front Track: 1.6m
Rear: 1.63m
Engine: 3.5-litre V-6

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