more car love less car hassle

Car Confessions

A Pretty Place for Ugly Secrets

Confess Here
Home > Ultimate Car Guide > Convertibles

Convertible Guide

There are convertibles in a wide range of prices and styles, from the Mini Cooper Roadster to the McLaren MP4-12C. Therefore, this category includes cars at a lot of different price points. But if the top comes down, you’ll find it here.

Smart fortwo

Year: Starting at $17,890 MPG 34-38 The Smart is still a curiosity in the American market, despite the increasing manufacture of ultracompact and electric cars. The Smart ForTwo is great for what it was designed for – short trips in big cities where parking and gas are too expensive to warrant a full-sized vehicle. It does a fantastic job of parking in tight spaces, and can park with its nose to the curb where a normal car would have to parallel park. The gas mileage is good – 34 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway – but not a huge jump over some fuel-efficient or hybrid sedans. The Smart makes up for this by being much cheaper than most hybrids, starting just above $13,000. The very small package assumes certain sacrifices, and the long-legged among us might feel claustrophobic in the Smart’s tiny interior. Luckily, a convertible model is available for those who like to feel the breeze in their hair or need extra headroom. Smart made the wise choice of keeping the interior sparse and not cluttering the already tight space. With a top speed under 70 mph, the Smart won’t get your blood pumping, but it is a good option for city dwellers, and fits well with an environment-friendly lifestyle. …
Share
Share
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Year: Starting at $105,500 MPG 16-24 In creating a new-generation SL-Class, Mercedes engineers devoted an inordinate amount of effort to making the car lighter. The aluminum body weighs 275 pounds less yet provides better crash protection and is stiffer than the previous steel body, which results in superior ride and handling characteristics. That’s like finding a pair of lightweight shoes that are comfortable and good-looking. The SL is a hardtop coupe and open-top roadster with a power top that folds away in twenty seconds, but when it’s up, the optional Magic Sky Control lets occupants control the darkness of the glass panel’s tint. For top-down comfort, vents in the seats deliver heat around your neck during the fall color tour. As beautiful as the SL is on the outside, it’s every bit as alluring and voluptuous inside. The seats are heated and actively ventilated (optional) for comfort. Nearly every driver assist and active safety feature you could think of except incoming missile avoidance is included. Under the long, creased hood is the SL550’s turbocharged 4.6-liter V-8 making 429 horsepower; this is outfitted with automatic stop/start for fuel economy purposes. Pusillanimous V-8 and V-12 units are in the two AMG models. A seven-speed automatic harnesses the output of all three engines. …
Share
Share
Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Year: Starting at $42,900 MPG 22-32 The SLK shows how Mercedes-Benz has refined the luxury roadster experience. It’s available with three powertrains, which emphasize characteristics ranging from frugality to brutality. Yes, just like a trip to Walmart! The lowest-priced SLK250 has a turbocharged four-cylinder and standard six-speed manual transmission that yields 31 mpg highway. On the other hand, the SLK55 AMG must be gagging on the huge 5.5-liter V-8 under its hood: the 415-horsepower car roars from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. Of course the V-8, being equipped with cylinder deactivation and automatic stop/start, tries its best to achieve polite fuel economy. In between, a 3.5-liter V-6 makes 302 horsepower and sends the SLK350 off with a nice growl. The V-6 and V-8 are paired with a seven-speed automatic. The SLK plays twin roles as a suave hardtop coupe and sporty roadster thanks to the power-foldaway top. The optional Airscarf--vents in the seats--delivers warm air around your neck on cool rides. The SLK is as beautiful as other Mercedes-Benzes on the inside when optional wood trim is added. Now add the mbrace2 telematics feature to a host of safety and driver assist features, and techno-wizardry joins other existing characteristics. …
Share
Share
MINI Cooper

Year: Starting at $25,150 MPG 27-35 The 2013 Mini Cooper is everything a Mini should be. It is, of course, quite small – though the Clubman wagon provides more space than any of Mini’s other models. It is also a treat to drive, with the option of a turbo engine. The interior is attractive and interesting, with unusual features like a very large, center-mounted speedometer and various toggle switches that deliver a shot of nostalgia to anyone who has driven an original Mini. The cabin can come equipped with attractive sport seats and a satellite radio with one-year subscription. With three different bodies (wagon, hard-top, and convertible) and three different trim levels, the Cooper’s options are extensive. Even if you’ve made the big choices, there are what Mini claims to be 10 million customization combinations. All of those choices piled up can make the car a little pricey, even with its relatively low base price. The Mini is so fun and drives so well that you can’t be blamed for splurging a little, and the excellent highway gas mileage of 33 to 37 mpg could save you money in the long run. …
Share
Share
Rolls Royce Phantom

Year: Starting at $469,900 MPG 11-18 It’s hard to imagine anything more excessively luxuriant than the Phantom, but Rolls-Royce’s engineers have done just that with the Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé. The cars are two-door versions of the flagship automobile, and offer many of the same amenities, but with a few stand-out extras. The Coupé offers, one can only assume as a consolation prize for the fixed roof, an optional artificial night sky built in to the headliner. It can also boast an umbrella holder integrated into the frame of the car. It goes without saying that the interior is a study in classic, understated elegance. Seating surfaces are softly grained leather; the trim is attractive wood. The Drophead has an available teak tonneau cover of the type you might be familiar with if you own a vintage yacht. The trunk is also wood-lined, and can extend out until it is a good imitation of a picnic table. As long as you’re splurging, you may as well commission the Rolls-designed picnic basket and hidden refrigerator with wine glass chiller from the bespoke department. A weekend picnic never looked this good. …
Share
Share
Chevrolet Corvette

Year: Starting at $54,600 MPG 16-26 Yes, it has been sixty fun-filled years since the first Chevrolet Corvette hit American roads. Making no concessions to this late-middle-age number, in 2013 Chevrolet is selling the fastest convertible in the history of the bow-tie brand, the 427 convertible. With its carbon fiber body parts and 505-horsepower 7.0-liter V-8, it’s pretty much a droptop version of the Corvette Z06. GM is calling it a Collector Edition, so keep that in mind. The Z06 coupe comes in a limited Carbon edition that has many of the styling features of its more powerful ZR1 sibling. Speaking of the ZR1, the top Corvette’s supercharged V-8 makes 638 horsepower and lets the Vette go north of 200 mph. The big story for 2013, in addition to the last year the current-generation C6 Corvette is in production, is the Sixtieth Anniversary appearance package. It’s a pretty classy-looking Arctic White exterior with two shades of blue on the leather-wrapped interior. An optional graphics package shouts a bit more loudly about the anniversary, and naturally there is badging inside and out to make this package more special. Corvette buyers looking for something a little less pricey may prefer the lower-frills Grand Sport, still with a sub-four-second 0-to-60-mph time close to that of its pricier stablemates. Add to that the base coupe and convertible models, and you’ll see that there’s a Corvette at price points just above $50,000 to a bit over $100,000. …
Share
Share
Lexus IS-F

Year: Starting at $61,750 MPG 16-23 Lexuses are not generally seen as overtly sporty automobiles, but the tidy, rear-wheel-drive IS sedan is a notable exception. Like its most direct competitor, the BMW 3-Series, the IS is compact inside and out and is tuned to provide a clear connection between the driver and the road. Also like the 3-series, the IS is available in hardtop convertible form. Both the IS sedan and IS-C droptop are available with a choice of two engines: a miserly 204 horsepower and the other, a gutsier 306 horsepower, while all-wheel drive is offered on sedans as a boon to customers who happen to live where white stuff drops from the sky every now and then. Perched atop the IS range is the brutally fast, sedan-only IS-F, powered by a monstrous, 414-horsepower V-8 and riding on a road-scraping suspension. A domed hood, two pairs of vertically stacked tailpipes, a rear spoiler, and aggressively bolstered front seats round out Lexus’ efforts to sportify the IS-F. If that seems interesting but excessive, Lexus makes some of the IS-F’s visual and handling excitement available in an F-Sport package for regular IS sedans and convertibles. All that said, the IS has been around for a long time, and next to its competitors, including the redesigned BMW 3-Series and all-new Cadillac ATS, the 2013 IS feels, well, old. A redesigned IS is expected in 2013 as a 2014 model, but in the meantime, this is as sporty as it gets at the Lexus store. …
Share
Share
Mazda Miata

Year: Starting at $23,720 MPG 22-28 The rear-wheel-drive Mazda MX-5 Miata – which has been around for more than twenty years – stands out as one of the most spirited and affordable sports cars on the market. It charms with its classic roadster styling and engaging performance. It marks the new model year with a restyled front end. The single downfall in the MX-5 Miata is space. Taller drivers may feel cramped with the top up and the narrow two-seat cabin may leave some feeling slightly claustrophobic. The trunk is Lilliputian. The base car comes with a manual-folding soft top; a power-retractable hard top is optional. The power top is the way to go if you live in a cold-weather state. It goes without saying that the MX-5 Miata is a blast to drive, even though the engine puts out a relatively modest amount of power. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 158 horsepower when mated with the optional six-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with the five- or six-speed manual transmission, it produces 167 horsepower. Models with the five-speed manual transmission deliver 22 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. Standard features include air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cloth upholstery. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of around $25,000 for a base model. For many households, this means that the little roadster is an excellent choice for a second car. …
Share
Share