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Inside Design: 2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept:

Chrysler’s First-Ever Mid-Engine Supercar...

The spectacular quad-turbo, V-12 powered, mid-engine Chrysler ME Four-Twelve supercar roared onto the scene to shine as the most advanced Chrysler ever built.

The ultimate engineering and design statement, and a brilliant example of the Chrysler Group’s capabilities, the ME Four-Twelve was designed to establish a real-world performance record for a rear-wheel drive, mid-engine super car and may also set a record for lightening-quick vehicle development. Taking less than one year to complete from start to finish, the Chrysler Group partnered with some of the best in the business to assist in its development.

2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept. (Chrysler)

“The ME Four-Twelve has been one of the most closely guarded secrets, not only to the outside world but also within our organization,” said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President, then Chrysler Group Design. “The idea for this machine was conceived as a spectacular follow-up to the Dodge Tomahawk. The big difference is that Tomahawk was a design statement.  ME Four-Twelve, however, is as much an engineering statement as it is a design statement.”

“ME Four-Twelve adds a new aura of performance to the Chrysler brand,” Creed said. “It is aerodynamically honed, and it balances elegance and power.  It exudes strength, performance and prestige. The ME Four-Twelve is Chrysler’s own creative interpretation of the classic mid-engine super car architecture.”

2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept. (Chrysler)

AMG Powertrain and Ricardo Clutch Transmission for Unmatched 0-60 Performance:
The heart of the ME Four-Twelve is its all-aluminum, quad-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12 engine.  With electronic sequential multipoint fuel injection and a 9.0:1 compression ratio, the ME Four-Twelve’s AMG-developed engine delivered 850 bhp @ 5750 rpm, with 850 lb-ft. (1150 N-m) of torque between 2500 and 4500 rpm on premium unleaded fuel.  The specific power output translates to 142 bhp/liter, and with a curb weight of just 2880 lbs. (1310 kg), the ME Four-Twelve has the weight-to-power ratio of 3.4 lbs/bhp – each of these set new performance records and new benchmarks in the super car category.

2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept. (Chrysler)

And, befitting a machine that will play comfortably in the super car league, the performance of the ME Four-Twelve is stunning.  In projections and modeling, the ME Four-Twelve could go from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 6.2 seconds and it could blister through the quarter mile in 10.6 seconds at 142.0 mph.  The estimated top speed of the ME Four-Twelve was 248 mph (400 km/h). The vehicle was designed and packaged to achieve outstanding thermal performance under extreme operating conditions.  Its large capacity, high-efficiency engine-cooling system allowed this engine to retain optimum thermal performance – a key advantage in the super car arena.

The 7-speed Ricardo Double Clutch Transmission was developed specifically for this vehicle and featured the latest double wet-clutch technology and electronic control strategy.  The exclusive ME Four-Twelve transmission delivered uninterrupted torque to the rear wheels with 200 millisecond shift times.

Advanced Composite Structure, Cat-Quick Agility:
The ME Four-Twelve’s advanced, carbon fiber bodywork was designed to mate to a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque tub. Aluminum crush structures and chrome-moly sub-frames complete the ME Four-Twelve’s rigid support structure.  Taking advantage of its impressive racecar-like structural rigidity, the ME Four-Twelve’s suspension, steering and brakes were engineered for super car performance. Overall, the vehicle’s structure – consisting of multiple materials – achieved an ultra lightweight design with outstanding vehicle rigidity and complied with all US federal regulations related to impact testing.

The suspension was comprised of double wishbones, aluminum control arms, horizontally-opposed coil-over dampers with electronically controlled compression and rebound tuning, stainless-steel push rods and a blade configured anti-roll bar.

2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept. (Chrysler)

The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering had an overall ratio of 16:1 with 2.4 turns lock-to-lock and a turning circle of 36-feet.

The ME Four-Twelve braking system featured massive 15.0-inch (381 mm) ventilated carbon ceramic composite disc brake rotors with six-piston aluminum mono block calipers for superior braking performance during all driving conditions.  The composite discs were sixty-five percent lower in weight than comparable cast iron rotors.  That resulted in significantly reducing unsprung mass and improving shock damping response.

ME Four-Twelve wheels were cast aluminum: 19×10-inch front and 20×12.5-inch rear.  Michelin high-performance radials were 265/35ZR19 in the front and 335/30ZR20 in the rear.

Ultimate Chrysler Engineering and Design Statement – to the Last Aerodynamic Detail:
At just 44.9 inches tall, 78.7 inches wide and 178.8-inches long, the two-seat, mid-engine ME Four-Twelve had a striking presence – poised as if ready to pounce.  The ME Four-Twelve carbon fiber body work has that “chiseled all from one piece” look, honed from hours of development in the Chrysler Group wind tunnel in Auburn Hills, campus.

2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept. (Chrysler)

The computer controlled active rear spoiler articulated rearward 100 mm to increase down-force to a total of 925 lbs. (421 kg) at 186 mph (300 km/h), while achieving a competitive coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.358.  That resulted in unwavering stability at the ultra-high speeds of which ME Four-Twelve was capable.  All body openings were optimized to achieve maximum thermal performance. In addition, large vented front and rear wheel houses reduced lift as well as active and passive aerodynamic devices that have been implemented to provide stable vehicle performance at all speeds.

Those devices included:

  • A front fascia splitter for increased frontal down-force
  • A fully developed underbody with integral rear diffuser to reduce lift and provide additional rear down-force
  • Formations in the belly pan forward of each wheel to aid in reducing lift
  • The decklid rear “ski-slope” formation improves rear down-force
  • Large rear grille integrated into the fascia helps ventilate air through the engine compartment
  • Cubic section at the leading edge of the front fascia helps air attach to the underbody and reduces lift
2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept. (Chrysler)

A Tasteful and Purposeful Interior Environment:
Chrysler brand beauty and elegance was blended with the function and form that were essential in the ultimate super car.  For example, ME Four-Twelve’s interior showed the carbon fiber structure of the body tub throughout, used for its light-weight attributes but refined in texture to fulfill the Chrysler brand promise.  In addition, leather-covered sport seats, a tilt steering wheel, automatic climate control and a premium audio system were housed in a vehicle that is just as at home on the highway as it is on the race track.

Unique features and elements included:

  • Carbon fiber seat structure with a total seat weight of just 27 lbs. (12.3 kg)
  • Competitive-in-class interior roominess with 37.2 in (942 mm) of headroom, and 42.7 in (1085 mm) of legroom
  • A large glass roof panel extends from the windshield to the rear header
  • Passenger-side adjustable foot support helps keep the “co-pilot” in position during extreme cornering maneuvers
2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept. (Chrysler)

This vehicle broke the mold of the super car genre because its packaging can easily accommodate drivers in a wide range of heights.  Ease of access to driving controls was a primary focus.  For example, there were steering wheel mounted controls, including a column mounted F-1 racing styled paddle shifter with aluminum shift paddles and centrally mounted driver controls.

“In terms of advanced materials, aerodynamic efficiency and vehicle dynamic performance, the ME Four-Twelve represents the ultimate engineering and design statement from Chrysler,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, then Chief Operating Officer, Chrysler Group.  “It’s everything we’ve learned about creating exciting, desirable automobiles.  And, as such, it’s not really a concept car but is, in fact, a prototype that will be road-ready by summer.”

2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept:

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Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only a Co-Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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