2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo GT
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Nov 17, 2002
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
CHRYSLER PT CRUISER: Cool, Versatile, Fast
By HARVEY SCHWARTZ All Photos & © by Harvey Schwartz
Just two years ago Chrysler introduced the PT Cruiser to rave reviews and created
a new category of transportation. The hot rod character of the PT Cruiser
redefined small domestic vehicles with its bold retro-modern styling, unique
interior with up to 64.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the ability to configure
the seats into more than 30 different positions.
Coming standard with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine making only 150 hp, acceleration and passing power was embarrassing slow for this 3,300-pound vehicle. Chrysler engineers were listening, and this year they have added the missing part of the package by making a turbocharged and intercooled GT model available for those who want faster acceleration, more passing power along with refined handling. The new PT Cruiser GT Turbo generates 215 hp at 5000 rpm and 245 lb.ft. of torque at 3600 rpm (with more than 90% of peak torque from 2300-5000rpm). Now PT Cruiser GT customers not only will have more than enough room for all the 2x4s and tools they'll buy at the local hardware store, they will also be the fastest getting there and back.
The engineers and designers at Chrysler added more power but didn't stop there.
They tweaked the exterior styling, added a 4-speed AutoStick automatic transmission
to go along with the standard 5-speed manual, tuned the suspension for a more
sporty ride, added a better sounding, less a restrictive, performance-tuned
exhaust system, strengthened the brakes, shod the GT with bigger tires/wheels
and put in more sporty interior touches. The new PT Cruiser GT is now
complete with too-cool-to-categorize styling, serious power and performance
with day-to-day utility.
On the outside, the looks are new with available monochromic paint schemes.
The GT that I tested was painted Electric Blue
The 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine was redesigned to be able to more
efficiently and reliably handle the increase in horsepower from the turbo.
Chrysler engineers didn't just bolt on a turbo off the shelf and close the hood.
This engine was created as a 200+hp motor for the PT Turbo from the beginning.
This fact allowed engineers to make significant reliability improvements over
turbo engines of the past. The turbo is manufactured by Mitsubishi and
has a maximum boost of 9 psi. This powerful turbo is a perfect mate to
the 2.4liter Mitsubishi engine. A redesigned engine cylinder block assembly,
cylinder head assembly and crankshaft add to the PT Turbo edgine's reliability.
Racing-style oil squirting mechanisms also cool the pistons, which allows for
higher output. Oil and water-cooling for the turbocharger was optimized
from the start of development, further adding to the edgine's reliability and
durability. Proper calibration of the turbo's waste gate and integrated
turbo/exhaust manifold resulted in quicker boost, while providing better control
of the turbo for reduced emissions and improved drivability.
Additionally, special acoustic dampeners on the turbo's intake system all but
eliminate the whine historically associated with some turbocharged engines.
The turbo's added power comes on almost instantly just after pushing 2,300rpm.
The Chrysler PT Turbo's standard heavy-duty 5-speed manual Getrag FWD transaxle
provides the same quality, reliability and precision that customers in
More quickly and safely slowing the new PT Turbo down are larger, more powerful,
power-assisted 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS. Up front are 11.5in. rotors,
and in the rear they measure 10.5in. A single caliper with high-performance
brake pads clamps each rotor. The new PT Turbo stops in just 116ft. from
Chrysler stylists gave the interior a sportier look and feel. Inside
are perforated leather high-back bucket seats with more lateral support, an
aluminum-ball topped stick shifter, thicker, perforated leather/tilting, 4-spoke
steering wheel, carbon-fiber dash/instrument panel trim plus a new gauge cluster
featuring a 140mph speedo/2.4L Turbo graphic on the tachometer and new floor
mats up front with GT embossed. Just add machined pedals and your ready
to hit the track and do some serious racing.
The new PT Cruiser GT Turbo opens a new chapter for this very unique automobile
allowing Chrysler to expand the customer base to performance-minded consumers
looking to share in the optimism and spirit that the PT Cruiser evokes.
While not perfect, the new GT Turbo takes the Chrysler PT Cruiser nameplate
to another level of performance. Price as tested is $23,250.00.