The world of supercars is dominated by the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, McLaren, and so many others – but these are not the only players in the game. You might be surprised to learn that Chrysler also tested the waters of the supercar market not long ago.
In 2004, Chrysler unveiled the ME Four-Twelve supercar, which was not a concept car but a prototype of a car that was slated to be put into production. The car debuted at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, and I caught up with it at the Arizona International Auto Show that same year.
Yes, it’s hard to believe that this exotic 12-cylinder, quad-turbocharged beast came from the company most known for its gutless passenger vehicles such as the Sebring convertible and the PT Cruiser. The ME Four-Twelve is wide, low, and it looks great from every angle!
The car’s unusual name is a reference to the mid-engine design and 12-cylinder engine with four turbochargers. The engine itself was supplied by AMG, the high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz. Chrysler was owned by Daimler AG (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) from 1998 to 2007.
The ME Four-Twelve’s all-aluminum, 6.0L V12 produces an incredible 850 horsepower and 850 ft-lbs of torque, which allows it to rocket from 0 to 60mph in just 2.9 seconds! Compare that with a Ferrari Enzo, which takes 3.1 seconds to hit 60 mph!
All of that power is delivered to the wheels via a seven-speed Ricardo double-clutch transaxle with Formula One-style paddle shifters mounted on the steering column. Chrysler engineers calculated the top speed of the car to be approximately 248 mph (this has not been confirmed in real-world testing).
So, what happened to the ME Four-Twelve? According to AllPar.com, the car was simply too good. It outperformed the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren which was introduced in 2003. Mercedes top officials did not like the idea of this car outperforming their “halo car,” and swiftly pulled the plug on its development.
Only two ME Four-Twelves were ever built. Today, they have taken up residence at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It’s a shame that this brilliant example of engineering and design was never put into production. Still, it gets my vote for “Coolest Chrysler Ever.”