Chrysler’s Sebring convertible goes high-tech

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Auburn Hills (MI) - A Chrysler Sebring may not be on the shopping list of car or tech enthusiasts. But there is no denying that the manufacturer is among the first to embrace technologies, such as hard drives, in cars that appeal to mainstream buyers: The 2008 Sebring can be ordered with GPS, plays MP3s from a hard drive, offers a JPEG slideshow viewer and even plays videos on the in-dash TFT LCD.

Looks can be deceiving and this phrase may be very true for the 2008 Sebring convertible. On the outside, you have a conservatively styled convertible that has been derived from the even more conservative Sebring sedan. On the inside, however, there are gadgets you can’t find or buy in most midsized coupes, sedans and convertibles, including luxury models from the German and Japanese crowd.

 

 

 

The 2008 Sebring convertible can be ordered with the “MyGig” entertainment system that can display information on a 6.5” in-dash LCD. At the center of MyGig is a 20 GB hard drive that is mainly used for enabling GPS functionality, but also offers roughly 9 GB space for storing MP3 music and JPEG images. Data can be transferred either through CDs or USB memory sticks. Music tracks that are ripped from CD are automatically tagged with artist and song names through the Gracenote database, which is pre-installed in the MyGig device. Pictures can be viewed on the screen and also used as background images for the TFT LCD.

A somewhat unexpected feature of the MyGig system is the fact that the device can even play videos. However, according to Chrysler, video playback only works when when the transaxle is positioned in Park.

“The Chrysler Sebring Convertible's development team paid keen attention to details, finding ways to make life easier for the driver and passengers and making this all-new vehicle even more fun to drive," said David Rooney, director of Chrysler marketing and global communications in a prepared statement. "The result is a 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible that delivers many features that will both surprise and delight the driver and passengers."

This “more fun to drive” of course is not standard equipment and makes the 2008 Sebring convertible a car that has a list price of somewhere between $30K and $40K. MyGig is not offered on the base model and requires at least a “Touring” model with a sticker price of $28,070. MyGiG adds $1900 to the bottom line. If you also want the hands-free navigation system “UConnect”, which allows multiple cellphones to connect to MyGig simultaneously, you will have to upgrade to the “Limited” model with a base price of $31,670. Add all the goodies, including a $2000 retractable hardtop, a satellite radio and enhanced speakers and the price will quickly climb and end up at just under $40,000 – which is about the mark where BMWs and Audis begin to get interesting.   

Engine choices of the new Sebring are a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder with 172 bhp, a 2.7 liter 6-cylinder with 190 bhp, or a 3.5 liter 6-cylinder with 235 bhp.