Press Kit: 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible Launch

2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible's Solid Structure and Systems Deliver Smooth Driving, Tight Handling and a Quiet Ride

  • High-strength steel reduces weight, improves impact performance
  • Improved torsion and bending stiffness provides solid ride and handling
  • Sealants and sound deadening materials, along with an available factory-installed windscreen, provide a quiet ride, even when the top is down 
  • First car line to offer three convertible top options, including a retractable metal hard top
Auburn Hills, Mich. March 30, 2007 Don’t let the glamorous looks fool you — the all-new Chrysler Sebring Convertible’s body has as much substance as it does style with a solid, safe structure that provides excellent impact performance, a smooth, quiet ride and solid handling. An all-new convertible top system, combined with extensive use of sealants, sound deadening materials and an available factory-installed windscreen, puts a damper on any powertrain, road or wind noise, even when the top is down.

Rigid Body Structure Delivers Superior Ride and Handling
When developing the new Sebring Convertible’s body structure, Chrysler Group engineers took extensive measures to make sure that the drop of the top doesn’t mean a drop in the overall driving experience.

“We’ve engineered the all-new Chrysler Sebring Convertible to have an extremely rigid body structure,” said Larry Lyons, Vice President – Front-wheel-drive Product Team, Chrysler Group. “For drivers, that means they’ll have a quiet, comfortable ride, excellent performance and a solid feel with an absence of cowl shake, whether the top is up or down.”

High-strength steels, reinforcements and braces used throughout the body structure contribute to the improvements. These include:

  • Reinforcements in the convertible’s rear bulkhead, behind the rear seats and in the sills provide the stiffness that the roof structure and rear structural ring provide in the sedan body
  • Adhesive-bonded, high-strength steel tubes in each sill and two sets of cross braces bolted to the underbody add strength
  • A roll-formed, high-strength beam welded to the body structure under the rear seat improves side-impact performance
  • Dual-phase steel used in the rear rails, tunnel reinforcement and sills adds body stiffness

Compared with the model it replaces, this new Sebring Convertible’s body structure is substantially stiffer than its predecessor in bending and torsion, especially in bending, due to very large sills. In fact, Sebring Convertible’s new front-wheel-drive architecture and three-box vehicle design contribute to a body that is 2.5 times stiffer in torsion and 1.5 times stiffer in bending than the previous generation of convertibles. These refinements also make the new Sebring Convertible structure stiffer than other convertibles on the market that cost thousands of dollars more.

Keeping the Wind and Noise Out
Sebring is the world’s first car line to offer three different convertible tops: vinyl, cloth or, for the first time on Sebring, a retractable metal hard top. For soft-top convertible devotees, the vinyl and cloth tops deliver a traditional convertible look when the top is up. For buyers looking for a coupe with convertible functionality, the retractable hard top provides a sleek, coupe-like appearance.

Both the hard-top and soft-top mechanisms have die-cast aluminum frames. To give it strength with less weight, the soft top includes a magnesium front header. The three-layer soft tops include a headliner backed with foam and Mylar®, which helps contribute to the Sebring Convertible’s quiet interior. The headliner also hides the insulation pad that is positioned between the outer cloth or vinyl canopy and the roof bows. The top’s steel outer panels are painted body color. Weather stripping between the panels provides additional sealing to keep the wind, road and powertrain noise outside the vehicle.

The convertible top system on both hard and soft tops is the same, so the tops fold in a similar fashion. The two rear rails are aluminum, but the front rail is steel, as are some of the inner rear panel reinforcements. The steel top provides strength when the top is locked in the raised position. When the top is stowed, each section locks in place to the one below it to prevent damage or noise.

Open Air Driving in 30 Seconds Flat
On both soft and hard tops, the easy-to-use convertible top folds in three sections. Forget leaning over to latch or unlatch the convertible top — manual roof-top latches are a thing of the past on the new 2008 Sebring Convertible, replaced with convenient automatic latching. Owners also can drop the top with a switch on the instrument panel, or (a first for Chrysler) with the press of the button on the key fob. The soft top takes about 27 seconds to raise or retract, while the hard top takes 30 seconds. Both are very competitive times in the segment. A standard automatic hard tonneau cover neatly conceals the top stowage area when the convertible top is down. When either the hard or soft top is stowed, the trunk still holds two easily accessible sets of golf clubs or other cargo.

Smart Glass Knows When to Drop
The 2008 Sebring Convertible also features “Smart Glass,” which protects the top weather strips and window seals. The system works by lowering the windows slightly whenever the convertible top is lowered or when the doors are opened or closed. When the door handle is pulled, Chrysler Sebring Convertible’s Smart Glass lowers the window 0.4 inches, which allows the door to open without resistance or damage to the window or top weather strips. The window remains in this slightly lower position until the door is closed, at which point the glass rises completely to fully close the gap.

Wind? What Wind?
No need for a hat or scarf in this new convertible. The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible features an available factory-installed rear windscreen that makes the already quiet convertible as comfortable as driving in a sedan with a sunroof. The available windscreen cuts down on turbulence and wind noise created when the faster-moving air traveling over the windshield encounters the slower-moving air inside the vehicle. The Sebring Convertible’s windscreen effectively blocks the faster moving air, making the car quieter and more comfortable for the front seat passengers when the top is down. The windscreen also makes the heating and air conditioning system more effective on cool and hot days to provide comfortable top-down operation, no matter what the weather.

“We extensively tested the convertible and the factory-installed windscreen in our Auburn Hills AeroAcoustic Wind Tunnel and achieved some impressive results,” said Jim Issner, Chief Engineer – Chrysler Sebring Convertible. “With both the top and the windows down, the windscreen reduces buffeting and wind noise by approximately 11 to 12 decibels. With the top down but the windows up, the windscreen reduced buffeting and wind noise by about 5 decibels.”

The windscreen features four folding sections with a plastic frame and mesh material. It fits into notches molded in the rear quarter trim and covers the rear seat. When not in use, the windscreen conveniently folds and stores in the trunk, still leaving plenty of room for two golf bags or similarly sized lifestyle equipment.