New PT Cruiser Cabrio Injects
NEWS ON RADIO
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16th June, 2006
Chrysler has expanded the appeal of one of motoring’s coolest cars launching, in Australia, the 4-seat PT Cruiser Cabrio.
Priced from $35,890, with its power-folding soft retractable roof, which can be raised or lowered in just 10 seconds, and versatile cargo-carrying ability, the PT Cruiser Cabrio takes the retro design of the PT Cruiser to the next level.
“Few, if any other, cabrios on sale today can rival the PT for its combination of unique good looks, immense practicality and value,” said Gerry Jenkins, managing director, Chrysler Group Australia.
"Ever since the PT Cruiser hatch was launched in Australia there has been consistently strong demand for the one-of-a-kind cruiser and now the Cabrio expands it’s appeal."
“The PT Cruiser Cabrio challenges convention and offers customers a different kind of convertible – it’s a genuine four-seater convertible and the engineers have put a lot of thought into making this one of the quietest soft-tops around."
"Nearly all PT Cruiser customers tell us that one of the key reasons they buy a PT is the stunning design, so our designers have made sure that we haven’t lost the car’s unique looks," he said.
The Chrysler PT Cruiser’s B-pillar mounted Sport Bar is shaped to guide airflow over rear seat passengers and to generate the minimum turbulence and noise. With the exceptionally low levels of noise generated when the roof is lowered, passengers can easily carry on conversations while driving. The added thickness of the three-layer, top-grade standard cloth top and state-of-the-art, best sealing ‘smart glass’ side windows also reduces road noise when the top is up.
The exterior of the new PT Cruiser Cabrio shares the new look of the hatch that was refreshed at the end of 2005. Exterior enhancements include smoother front and rear fascias – including a distinctive front grille with chrome accents and the Chrysler winged badge – and re-styled headlamps that feature a scallop along the bottom edge, plus fresh-look circular front fog lamps.
The new exterior is only part of the story – while the all–new interior is quieter and boasts a host of improvements. The PT Cruiser Cabrio gives owners the versatility of nine different seating combinations and an unusually large boot.
The interior has a tip-and-slide front passenger seat for easy access to the individually styled twin rear seats. These rear seats can be split 50/50, and folded and tumbled to greatly extend boot space.
The PT Cruiser Cabrio is powered by a 2.4-litre, normally-aspirated engine generating 105 kW. The cabrio is available as a Touring model or a Limited model, with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The PT Cabrio is available from June 2006 priced from $35,890 for the manual and $37,890 for the auto.
DESIGN AND STYLING
Engineered to be built alongside the Cruiser on the same production lines, the 4.3 metre long Cabrio shares its major dimensions with its Cruiser sibling. Wheelbase (2,616 mm), front track (1,481 mm) and rear track (1,478 mm) are identical, but in terms of overall height, the Cabrio is 62 mm lower (at 1,539 mm) than its five-door hatch compatriot.
Aerodynamic development of the Cabrio primarily concentrated on minimising the wind noise generation that is inherent with a convertible roof car, and on water flow management and component cooling.
A range of subtle exterior features reduce drag and smooth the passage of air. A new windscreen frame masks the leading edge of the folding roof, a flexible seal is fitted around each headlamp, the trailing edge of the bonnet has a raised lip to lift airflow over the windscreen wipers, side window weather seals have flow-friendly profiles, and the door mirrors have unique low-drag housings.
REFINEMENT AND NVH CONTROL
The natural vibration frequencies of the vehicle’s structure and all its components and the aerodynamic signature of the Cabrio were scrutinised with the goal of ensuring that occupants could carry on a ‘normal’ conversation while travelling at speed with the roof down.
Other benefits from the wind tunnel programme include the folded-roof ‘top cover’, door mirrors, seat belt mountings, window seals and mouldings – all shaped for the smoothest airflow and lowest noise generation.
Close attention to detail in the door and boot lid sealing, glass sealing and sealing of body panel seams, makes the Chrysler PT Cruiser Cabrio one of the most tightly sealed bodies of any DaimlerChrysler convertible cars. In the search for refinement, attention was not focused solely on the vehicle occupants. The bonnet features weather stripping around its complete perimeter, minimising engine noise outside the vehicle, reducing drive-by noise.
The strength of the Cabrio’s bodyshell structure, with its high static bending and torsional stiffness, gives a good foundation on which to develop a ‘refined’ vehicle. A full-body finite element analysis was undertaken and the natural frequencies of the bodyshell were identified and isolated from those of the powertrain, suspension and steering column. There are 47 attachment points, and fine tuning each one individually has largely eliminated noise and vibration paths to the passenger compartment.
Inside the bodyshell structure, expanding foam baffles block noise paths within the larger sections, including the door-hinge pillars, the windscreen surround and the areas between the wheel wells and the beltline.
The engine is fitted with ‘low-rumble’ intake manifolds, four-point ‘torque-axis’ mounts and upper and lower rubber-isolated bracing struts. A bracket between the engine and transmission increases powertrain stiffness, reducing noise and vibration at high rpm, and the rigid mounting of the air-conditioning compressor to the engine cylinder block prevents compressor vibrations from reaching the cabin.
In addition to these structural and engineering solutions, throughout the vehicle a total of 27 acoustic treatments are used to absorb or dampen noise and block its entry to the passenger compartment.
The fabric roof is secured to the windscreen frame by twin latches – released by a single D-ring handle – and features a glass heated rear window. For a clean appearance and low wind noise, the roof fits flush with the windscreen header rail. Made from strong, durable, soft-to-touch cloth, the three-layer roof is fully-lined and incorporates a thermal insulating pad.
An entirely new C-channel weather strip wraps the top edge of the four side windows at the sealing edge of the convertible top. The front door and quarter side glass is adjustable (on the assembly line) in three directions for a custom fit to the roof top and sealing system.
The roof’s folding mechanism is powered by a high-pressure hydraulic pump, mounted on the vehicle centreline, in a well behind the rear seats. The pump is fitted with a sound-proof cover.
The roof frame, which is mounted to the bodyshell by twin stamped main pivot brackets, incorporates a two-piece stamped header rail and four transverse, extruded high-strength steel roof bows and forged side rails. The trailing-edge steel rail is a ‘floating bow’ design that is extremely compact and helps to give the Cabrio a cleaner look when the roof is folded down.
The convertible top is designed to be a single ‘package’ and the complete mechanism – including hydraulics, insulated headliner, weather stripping and latches – is installed in a single operation during manufacturing and is attached to the body with just six fasteners.
When folded, the roof can be covered with the (standard equipment) soft tonneau cover. This fabric cover is stored in the boot and can be quickly and simply fitted using two snaps, to provide an attractive and aerodynamically efficient cover. Each tonneau cover is colour keyed to the vehicle’s interior.
Operating the top is easy. A single D-ring release handle at the centre of the windscreen/top header provides one-handed release of the two latches located at the front corners of the top. Latches at each corner of the A pillar secure the top when it is up. The power top switch is conveniently located in the accessory switch bank in the instrument panel centre stack area.
Smart Glass for a quiet life
Whenever a door is opened, that door’s glass is automatically lowered by 10 mm to prevent ‘hang-up’ with the top or upper window seals. After the door has been closed, the glass automatically rises 10 mm to its original position.
When the convertible top is lowered, the front glass is automatically lowered by 40 mm and the quarter glass by 55 mm when the first down detent is selected on the central stack mounted roof operating switch. All four windows are lowered completely when the second detent is selected.
Solar-control glass is fitted as standard in all windows to block ultra-violet light and minimise interior heating. Both the door and quarter window glass is 25 per cent thicker than in the PT Cruiser hatch, to accommodate the higher stress loads of frameless design.
"Developing a glass system that didn’t need a window frame was critical in helping retain the ‘PT-ness’ of the new Convertible," said Larry Lyons, Vice President – Small Vehicle Product Team Engineering. "Smart glass technology and some engineering ingenuity led to the same distinct Chrysler PT Cruiser profile on the Convertible as the segment-busting hatch."
As an added benefit, the system’s thicker window glass increases vehicle rigidity and contributes to noise reduction in the cabin. This technology is a key contributor to superior wind noise performance and gives the Chrysler PT Cruiser Cabrio one of the easiest door opening and closing efforts in the industry.
For 2006, the centre stack is all-new, with the new AM/FM single CD radio mounted higher for easier operation, just below the power window switches and twin air vents. Beneath the stack, the front cup holders on the Limited model feature bright accents. Mounted behind the new centre stack is a completely revised heating and ventilation system that gives as much as 20 per cent more airflow, while reducing operating noise.
A new tall centre console with a sliding armrest and covered storage space replaces the previous seat-mounted armrests and front passenger seat storage bin. This console includes a standard battery-fed power outlet for mobile-phone charging and, at the rear, two fold-out cupholders for rear-seat occupants, who will also find the powered rear window switches easier to operate now that they are positioned higher on the back of the centre console.
New convenience features for the Chrysler PT Cruiser include: courtesy map lamps, a six-way power adjustable driver seat with manual lumbar adjuster, individual overhead lighting in the B-pillar mounted Sport Bar, and an Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (EVIC). This system displays compass headings, temperature, audio information, fuel economy, distance to empty, elapsed time and personal settings in the lower half of the fuel/engine temperature dial.
The Chrysler PT Cruiser Cabrio boasts an impressive 474 litres of interior space. Seating arrangements include a position that provides a pass-through opening from the boot when the rear seats have been folded and tumbled.
The suspension design allows the wheels to be located at the extreme corners helping maximise rear legroom and increasing cargo space and functionality. The large, flexible interior is enhanced by wide-opening doors and tailgate and 50/50 split-folding rear seats.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
Limited and Touring models come with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
The optional four-speed automatic transmission features driver-adaptive shift logic, Full Automatic or AutoStick® manual gear selection and a lock-up torque converter. The transmission control computer also adapts the shift points to suit individual driving styles, driving situations and road conditions.
AutoStick allows the driver to manually select the next higher or lower ratio sequentially, by tapping the lever to the left (-) to shift down and to the right (+) to change up. The shift range [P, R, N, D] or gear range [1, 2, 3, 4] currently in use is displayed in the instrument cluster.
The Macpherson strut front suspension features a high-roll centre that contributes to responsive steering while reducing body lean during brisk cornering. Low-lean geometry achieves the desired suspension handling performance. A stiff front suspension cross member attaches the front suspension to the body structure and supports the steering gear of the power rack and pinion steering.
At the rear, coil springs support the twist beam layout. Trailing arms and a Watt’s linkage provide longitudinal and transverse location of the axle, respectively. The rear suspension’s transverse beam causes the tyres to remain vertical relative to the road during cornering, contributing to stable handling, even under load.
The Watt’s linkage is used for lateral location of the axle and includes two transverse links pivoting on the body structure at the outer end and on a third link at the inboard ends. The third link pivots at its centre on the axle, moving in a vertical plane relative to the body. This system controls lateral movement of the axle.
Compared with the more commonly used track bar, the Watt’s linkage reduces lateral suspension movement relative to the body, induces less side-to-side variation in handling, and distributes transverse loads through two links with four bushings, which substantially increases lateral stiffness for more precise handling. This also reduces body structural stiffness requirements and allows the use of softer bushings, limiting the transmission of road noise and harshness.
Also contributing to the solid ride and handling characteristics is the rigid support of the PT Cruiser’s body structure. The tightly sealed body shell lowers wind and road noise, resulting in a quiet and refined ride through all driving ranges.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The vehicle features large 280 mm diameter ventilated front disc brakes with solid rear discs and ABS. Electronically variable brake proportioning (EVBP), automatically adapts the braking performance in line with the vehicle weight and road conditions. Low speed traction control stops the wheels from slipping below 56 km/h.
The PT Cruiser also has three-point seat belts and its next-generation driver and front passenger airbags are supplemented by side airbags.
A clutch-starter interlock prevents the engine from starting until the manual transmission clutch is depressed and, for security, the PT Cruiser is fitted with DaimlerChrysler’s Sentry Key theft deterrent system and a security alarm.
The Chrysler PT Cruiser range offers enhanced occupant protection with many new and continuing safety and security features:
CHRYSLER PT CRUISER CABRIO MODEL RANGE
MODEL RANGE AND PRICING
Recommended retail prices:
SALES SUCCESS AND MANUFACTURING
All Chrysler PT Cruiser vehicles are manufactured exclusively at the Chrysler Group’s Toluca Assembly Plant in Mexico. Since starting PT Cruiser production in 2000, this facility has become one of the corporation’s most efficient plants.
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