Source: BMW Group
Cars

The 13 New Dream Convertibles for Summer 2016

Top-down driving with full-on luxury.

Convertibles are weird things. They’re not huge moneymakers for car companies (in fact, sales have declined 51 percent from their peak in 2004), and they’re almost always sold in smaller, more limited versions than their hardtop siblings. Sometimes it seems as if automakers use them just to test new design ideas, as some sort of sick challenge to the engineering department, or as bones thrown to niche groups of enthusiasts who clamor for them with no regard to whether the world really needs another rag-top. 

All of which is why we love them. They’re flippant and outré and impractical, and, in most localities, only seasonal pleasures. But oh, the personality! 

For every McLaren 675LT Spider supercar with bare inches of ground clearance and enough horsepower to propel a jet, there is a MINI John Cooperworks with tiny, rally car-style handling and a front face as endearing as a puppy dog. 

Now’s the time to start your research (and place a pre-order), as new model deliveries for summer won’t start for a month or two. But you can’t go wrong with any of the models below.

  1. 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn
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    2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn

    This four-seat droptop is the second convertible in the Rolls-Royce stable and is both smaller and less expensive than massive drophead Phantom. It has an exquisite handmade interior with herringbone-fitted Canadel wood all across the dashboard, doors, rear tonneau, and “waterfall” panel between the rear seats. Plus, it has that grand 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 engine with 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, which is paired with a soft eight-speed transmission. The car can hit 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds.

    Photographer: James Lipman

  2. 2017 Audi R8 Spyder
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    2017 Audi R8 Spyder

    This killer convertible is the most exciting version of the R8 we’ve seen in years, with the same wide Audi grill and brilliant LED lights on the front, offset at the rear with ribbed vents running from the seats to the tail. It debuted at the New York Auto Show with a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine that gets 540 horsepower and 398  lb-ft of torque. It goes to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds on its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and AWD. Its 80 percent aluminum frame helps combat the tricky physics of lopping the top off a car. (It completely changes the driving dynamics.) Prices for the 2017 R8 coupe will start at $162,900; this one will cost $5,000 more, with options.

    Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

  3. 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR
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    2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

    Jaguar’s F-Type SVR convertible debuted at the Geneva Auto Show to much acclaim: It has a new 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine boosted to 575 horsepower (25 more than the F-Type R) and 516 pound-feet of torque. And it gets loud. It’ll hit 60mph in 3.5 seconds—0.4 seconds faster than the standard F-Type—and reach a top speed of nearly 200mph. You can order the car now online; deliveries start this summer. Prices from $128,800.

    Source: Jaguar Land Rover

  4. 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Convertible
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    2017 MINI John Cooper Works Convertible

    While we all wait for the BMW i8 Roadster (due out later this year), we can distract ourselves with this little BMW Group offering. This is the amped-up version of the MINI Cooper Convertible we saw last year, with a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that gets 228 horsepower, manual and automatic transmissions, and six speeds. Well-loaded options will cost around $40,000.

    Photographer: Thomas von Salomon/MINI USA

  5. 2017 McLaren 675LT Spider
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    2017 McLaren 675LT Spider

    McLaren built this $372,600 stunner after the wild success of its 675LT, sales of which were limited to 500 units sold. The convertible version shares most of the exterior design elements of the hardtop, as well as the drivetrain (3.8-liter V8 engine with 666hp on a seven-speed dual-clutch). Although the convertible is slightly heavier, it still achieves the same speed as the coupe: 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

     

    Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

  6. 2017 Bentley GT V8 S Convertible
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    2017 Bentley GT V8 S Convertible

    The new full-size, four-seat convertible from Bentley doesn't drop until June, but expect it to have brand-new color options and similar characteristics to its predecessor. That means 520 horsepower and an acceleration to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, plus a top speed of 191 mph. 

    Source: Bentley Motors

  7. 2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Cabriolet
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    2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Cabriolet

    Mercedes unveiled the first-ever C Class Cabriolet in Geneva earlier this year. It’s a folding hardtop convertible with Merc’s unique “air scarf” system, 241 horsepower in the base version, and optional all-wheel-drive. The AMG version has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter, 362-horsepower engine that will hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Order now; deliveries will start in a few months.

    Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

  8. 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S
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    2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S

    Arriving in June, the $70,000 718 Boxster S doesn’t look dramatically different from those of previous years. It’s more of an evolutionary step, with numerals on the tail, a strip between the taillights in the rear, and larger, horizontal lower air intakes. New to this model: a more powerful 350-hp engine and a new PDK gearbox and Sport Chrono package that lets it hit 60 mph in well under 4 seconds. Top speed is 177 mph.

    Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

  9. 2016 Ferrari 488 Spider
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    2016 Ferrari 488 Spider

    This is almost exactly a Ferrari 488GTB with its top chopped off—and that’s a good thing. It has a 661-hp, twin-turbocharged, mid-mounted V8 engine. The roof goes back in 14 seconds. It’ll hit 6o mph in 3 seconds. It costs less than $300,000. What’s not to love?

    Photographer: Lorenzo Marcinno

  10. 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible
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    2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible

    The Camaro is an excellent drivers’ car, so the convertible can only improve on that model. When it debuts later this year, it will have the same supercharged V8, 640-hp engine, track-ready suspension and Brembo brakes. Plus, it looks cooler than the coupe, with a high body line, massive forged-aluminum 20-inch rims, and that snarling front grill. Game on.

    Source: Chevrolet

  11. 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Retractable Fastback (RF)
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    2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Retractable Fastback (RF)

    The power-folding top operates like that of the Porsche 911 Targa—a great move for Mazda because that car has been popular for decades. This new version of the Miata will have the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as the standard version, with six-speed manual and automatic options. The RF will weigh roughly 150 pounds more than the regular MX-5, but for styling and cool open-top functionality like this, it’s worth it. 

    Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

  12. 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible
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    2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible

    Yes, Rover really did it. It cut the top off the sporty, small SUV and added a soft canvas top to make it accessible for open-air driving. The engine stays the same, though: It’s Evoque’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, with 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. The top goes down in 18 seconds at speeds up to 30mph. Prices start at just over $50,000.

    Source: Land Rover

  13. 2017 BMW 6 Series Convertible
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    2017 BMW 6 Series Convertible

    The next-generation BMW 6-Series comes in three forms (a two-door coupe and cabriolet, and a four-door Grand Coupe), but the convertible is surely the most fun. BMW has promised that the 2017 editions will come with significant upgrades in handling, performance, and fuel efficiency, aided by a 500-pound drop in weight due to carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium additions. BMW has also hinted at boosts in engine power and torque. Stay tuned.

    Source: BMW Group