DaimlerChrysler introduces the redesigned and expanded Chrysler Sebring family -- a new 2001 midsize sedan and a redesigned coupe and convertible -- on April 18, 2000, at the New York auto show.
In segments “filled with sameness,” Chrysler billed the three 2001 Sebring models as distinctive.
“Each new product we’re introducing for the 2001 model year provides evidence that Chrysler has become a more contemporary brand, with a portfolio of innovative products that match the lifestyles of our customers,” Jim Holden, president of DaimlerChrysler, said at the time. “These three new Sebring cars share the Chrysler brand lineage, yet each possesses unique characteristics that make them shine in their respective segment.”
The Sebring line was introduced in 1995 with a coupe. It was a replacement for the Chrysler LeBaron coupe. In 1996, the Sebring convertible was introduced, replacing the LeBaron convertible.
Chrysler had revived open-top driving nearly 20 years earlier with the LeBaron convertible. Since the first-generation Sebring convertible’s introduction, it became the best-selling convertible in North America. A 2004 Sebring convertible was a favorite of everyman Michael Scott for multiple seasons on the hit NBC comedy “The Office.”
The grille on the second-generation, 2001 Sebring convertible featured an egg-crate design and chrome surround molding to create a Chrysler family lineage. The convertible also featured a more dramatic wedge shape using a new front hood and raised decklid.
It was powered by a new 2.7-liter V-6 engine that delivered 32 more horsepower and 23 more pounds-feet of torque than the engine it replaced. It was eight to 10 percent more fuel efficient, while delivering 200 hp at 5,900 rpm and 193 pounds-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. It was engineered with a higher level of structural rigidity and stiffness and an active intake manifold-tuning valve that provided more usable torque for increased midrange performance.
In designing the second-generation Sebring coupe, designers aimed to create a distinct car for the sport coupe market that was more closely linked to the Chrysler brand, with a sculpted design and rear view that echoed the lines of the Chrysler 300M sedan. Chrysler offered two engines in the coupe: an optional 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 200 hp and 205 pounds-feet of torque, generating 37 more horsepower than the 2.5-liter engine it replaced, and the standard four-cylinder engine, increased to 2.4 liters from 2.0 liters and offering 147 hp.
The Sebring sedan, the newest sedan nameplate in the Chrysler brand lineup, replaced the Cirrus for 2001.