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by Tim Beissmann

Images of the 2012 Chrysler 200 convertible have leaked onto the internet ahead of the vehicle’s official unveiling at the 2011 New York International Auto Show in April.

The hardtop convertible will be based on the 200 sedan variant which has already been revealed in the US.

Chrysler Australia’s Dean Bonthorne told CarAdvice today the 200 sedan and convertible would not be available in Australia in the near future as there are currently no confirmed plans to produce either vehicle in right-hand drive.

“There is no confirmation that the 200 sedan will be built in right-hand drive, and that is also the case with the cabrio,” Mr Bonthorne said.

Known as the Sebring in Australia, the sedan version was discontinued in July 2010 after never really striking a chord with local buyers. The Sebring Cabrio exists in a far less competitive market, and is still available.

Mr Bonthorne admitted the Cabrio was one of Chrysler’s best performing models in 2010, with sales increasing 57 percent compared with 2009 (230 vs 147).

“That showed there is definitely a market for it, and we will continue selling it for as long as possible, and if it does become available in right-hand drive it will be a strong possibility to be considered for Down Under.”

Like the 200 sedan, the 200 convertible is expected to be offered with two engine options: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder teamed with a four- or six-speed automatic transmission, and the brand’s new 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 with a six-speed auto.

The most powerful variant in the 200 range is expected to produce 210kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

The styling is a significant step up from the Sebring it replaces, embracing the smooth styling of its European competitors. The front it decidedly Audi while the back appears to draw inspiration from modern-day Jaguars.

The interior is also a much more modern design, and promises to offer fewer hard plastic, scratchy surfaces.

More details of the 2012 Chrysler 200 convertible will be revealed when the vehicle debuts in New York on April 22.




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