Ultimate Freedom: Put Down the Top and Let the Sun and Wind Hit Your Skin. That’s Right: It’s Convertible Time – But Which Luxury Convertibles are the Best of the Best?
The convertible is the ultimate warm-weather car. Whether you choose a folding hard top or a retractable canvas top, putting down your car’s roof is sure to put you in the summertime vibe.
While a soft top is considered less secure and more susceptible to damage than a hardtop many of us have fond memories of these classic cloth convertibles and simply prefer the aesthetic. Folding hardtops don’t come with these concerns, but the mechanisms can be complicated. For these and other reasons – No. 1 being the prevalence of SUVs and pickups – the number of available convertibles has dwindled from their heyday in the mid-twentieth century.
But for convertible lovers there’s simply nothing better – or sexier – when it comes to a summertime drive. You get to have the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair and experience the elements in a way that no other type of car affords.
Recently we examined Forbes’ list of the best Convertibles for 2021 and decided to highlight a few of our own favorites from that list.
Because of the relatively small number of convertibles on the market, the Forbes list was focused on commonly available models with a base MSRP of under $100,000. Exotic and hypercars were omitted. (We’ll get to those in another blog). Forbes looked at styling, performance, comfort/convenience, safety among other considerations
Here’s a few of the convertible models they showcased:
Audi A5 Cabriolet
Forbes loved the Audi A5 Cabriolet for its sporty handling, aggressive styling and massive sport seats that are standard on the S5.
Forbes notes: The A5 offers a choice of three distinct body styles: a two-door coupe, a four-door Sportback hatchback and a summer-time ready Cabriolet. The three style of the A5 come with a a turbocharged 261-horsepower four-cylinder engine tied to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Each one is also available as an S5 performance model, with a larger twin-turbo 361-horsepower V6 paired to an eight-speed automatic. All variants of the A5 or S5 come with all-wheel drive standard.
For 2022 the Audi A5 coupe and Cabriolet convertible models more eye-catching than ever. Both A5 body styles are sophisticated, luxurious and athletic. Both the coupe and convertible are powered by a 261-hp turbocharged four-cylinder paired with standard all-wheel drive. And the A5 lineup received a style makeover this past year including a new 19-inch wheel design with all-season tires. The cabin is stylish, sleek and modern – and comfortable. The interior of the Premium Plus includes finely grained, soft-touch plastics as well as aluminum trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. It’s also high tech. For instance, a motorized arm pushes the seatbelt forward so it’s within reach of your left shoulder with little effort. There’s plenty of spaces for your phone, water, snacks and other essentials.
BMW 2 Series
Forbes called this one of BMW’s most “fun offerings” and touted the strong and quick powertrains as well as the animated rear-wheel drive chassis, noting: The BMW 2 Series convertible is a true driver’s car that loves to cut and run at every opportunity.
Along with an available all-wheel-drive system, this two-door has two turbocharged engine options: a 255-hp four-cylinder (230i models) and a 382-hp straight-six (M240i). It’s entertaining and fun to drive and has many performance add-ons you can enjoy. It also has a stand-out façade and a modern interior that is surprisingly roomy. Upscale materials and a variety of luxurious features create your dream driving experience: A leather-wrapped steering wheel and three-zone climate control as well as heated front seats and leather upholstery create comfort for you and your passengers as you enjoy that coastal drive.
The BMW Z4 has a “proper blend of class and fun” plus nimble handling and a great soundtrack in the case of the M40i.
Forbes notes: Back after a two-year break, the all-new Z4 roadster returned in 2019 poised to defend the maker’s honor in the two-door, two-passenger luxury sports car arena. Born from a partnership between BMW and Toyota, the collaboration likely inspired and pushed BMW engineers to create one of the company’s best-handling cars in years. (Toyota’s end of the deal allowed them to bring back the current Supra, which is essentially a BMW with a different skin.) Whereas the previous-generation Z4 was known better as a posh cruiser, the new Z4 roadster devours curves. Now featuring a soft-top rather than the retractable hardtop of its predecessor, it projects a classic profile graced with touches of modernity with the roof up or down.
And we all know there’s nothing better than putting the top down on a nice day and letting the sun and wind hit your face as you head out on your favorite back road. You can choose between a turbocharged four-cylinder or a twin-turbo inline-six. That latter will get you from zero to 60 in just 3.8 seconds. Rear-wheel drive is standard. All models now come standard with SiriusXM satellite radio as well as Android Auto. BMW has added parking sensors to the optional Driving Assistance package.
The sculpted exterior, powerful sonic engines and thrilling performance landed the Jaguar F-TYPE on the Forbes list of best convertibles.
Forbes: With its muscular styling, precise lines, and range of powerful engines, the refreshed Jaguar F-Type aims to recapture more of the sporting essence of its predecessor, the now long-retired E-Type classic. Available in either coupe or convertible body style, most would argue the two-seater it looks better in the latter. Three engine options and five trims in both body styles: a 296-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 296 horsepower in the base F-Type or First Edition; a 380-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6 capable of 380 horsepower found in the mid-grade R-Dynamic, and a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine producing 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque in the top-of-the-line F-Type R. In short, it is a masterpiece in both convertible and coupe configurations.
The Jaguar F-type has an assertive new look that is timeless but also pure and sculpted. It also has the latest technology and a supercharged engine make this the perfect choice for indulging your adventurous streak. Available as a coupe or convertible, the F-type provides not only good looks but agility, performance and adrenaline-pumping speed. The 2021 models sport a new exterior design and a number of interior enhancements, including state-of-the-art infotainment and a digital gauge cluster. The base model has a 296-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine but you can also choose from a 380-hp supercharged V-6 and a 575-hp supercharged V-8. An optional Climate Pack includes dual-zone automatic climate control and a heated steering wheel along with keyless entry. Eight-speed automatic transmission pairs with all engine options. Both the V-6 and V-8 models have standard all-wheel drive. The four-cylinder version is the most fuel-efficient option (with EPA ratings due out in the coming months). The V-6 coupe and convertible have government estimates of 19 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway. The V-8 coupe and convertible drop those figures to 16/24 mpg city/highway. The interior is both sumptuous and sexy. Faux-suede accents and chrome trim, aluminum pieces and embossing complete the upscale look depending on the model you choose. The 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster dazzles as you drive, providing the latest in infotainment and connectivity. You are the master of this beautiful little universe – one of both beauty and speed.
Porsche 718 Spyder
It’s lightweight, poised and balance handling earned the 718 Porsche Spyder a place on the list of best convertibles.
According to Forbes: The 718 might be the “entry-level” Porsche, but it’s not to be underestimated. It’s small, lightweight and the turbocharged flat-four sits midship, which all adds up to one finely tuned sports car in both Cayman coupe and Boxster roadster trim. Engines range from the base-level 300 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder to the 911-sourced 414-horsepower 4.0-liter boxer six-cylinder in the track-focused GT4. If a light, lithe Porsche’s lengthy and intricate option sheets have achieved near-mythical status, and the 718 Cayman and Boxster do little to disrupt the narrative.
This is Porsche’s entry-level model but the 718 is still chock full of high performance and nimble handling. If you’re searching for one of the most expertly built sportscars on the market, the Porsche 718 is just the place to start.