Lost Supercar: The Quad-Turbo, V12 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Was a German-American Masterpiece
Not long ago we took a look back at Ford's radical GT90—a concept supercar that was shown in the mid 1990s but ultimately never saw the light of the day as a production vehicle.
With its V12 engine and four turbochargers, the GT90 is easily one of the most extreme concepts ever built by an American automaker, but if there's one car that could rival it would be another supercar that Chrysler debuted nearly a decade later.
The Daimler Days
It was at the 2004 North American International Show where the ambitious, mid-engined Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept made its first appearance, arriving at the peak of the Daimler Chrysler era.
Carbon fiber was a big deal in the early 2000s, and the ME Four-Twelve used the lightweight material liberally, both as part of its chassis and its body panels.
And with their brand's close relationship with Mercedes at the time, the Chrysler team didn't have to go far to find a suitable powerplant for the car.
Four Turbochargers, Twelve Cylinders
The engine was a modified version of the AMG 6.0 liter V12, with extra work to both internally and externally to handle the boost provided by a radical quad turbo setup.
Output from the quad turbo V12 was 850hp and 850 pound feet of torque, which are relatively common hypercar figures today, but back in 2004 they were pretty astonishing.
Mated to a Chrysler-designed seven-speed gearbox the ME Four-Twelve had a claimed zero to sixty time of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 248 miles per hour.
With ambitious engineering, massive horsepower—and styling that was equal parts extreme supercar and understated luxury, it's not surprising that the ME Four-Twelve was a big deal among the press and enthusiasts.
Corporate Rivalry & Demise
And the car was much more than just a shiny model that'd be rolled around to auto shows. It was a fully functioning prototype that Chrysler engineers did both wind tunnel and track testing on, with a realistic goal for production.
But unfortunately, the same corporate relationship that allowed the ME Four-Twelve to deliver such high performance ended up being the reason the car never made it to production.
Yes, the car would have been expensive to build, but it wasn't just the costs that did it in. It was the fact that the Mercedes side of the company didn't want a Chrysler-built and branded supercar with AMG power. Especially one that would outperform Mercedes' own SLR McLaren, which had just hit the market.
Looking back on the ME Four-Twelve now—at a time when the Chrysler brand only sells two vehicles, a minivan, and the aging 300 sedan, 2004 feels like an utterly different era.
Daimler Chrylser giveth and Daimler Chrysler take it away. And now all we can do is think about what could have been—but most would agree that today's Stellantis offerings easily beat out the Daimler Chrysler days from an enthusiast standpoint.
More From Driving Line
- While the ME Four-Twelve never reached production - the rare Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 was a Chrysler/AMG product that did.