Keeping it reasonably affordable and in the best of style and good taste, the question for most is: hard or soft? But what about price? Well, there’s good news and I’ve got it for you with a few of my favorites for the season…
For the executive with swag, rolling up in an E-Coupe Cabriolet will definitely cause a stir. Between the fierceness of a sculptured body with raised belt-line giving it that in-motion look, and the LED daytime running lights–it might not be your girl in which all eyes are focused.
At the dance with the E-Cabriolet, partners are few. The choices include Audi’s A5 with a 211 horsepower turbo engine producing 258 lb ft. of torque; It’s more powerful S5 with a 333 hp engine for 325 lb ft. of torque, or BMW’s 3-Series line of convertibles in a choice of a 230, 300 or 320 horsepower engines as a prelude to the mighty M3. Priced at $68,750, with it’s 4.0 liter, 414 hp V8 producing 295 lb ft. of torque, M3 is about the closest they come to the $64,800 E550, with a 4.6 liter, 402hp V8 bi-turbo engine producing 443 lb ft. of torque. If that’s more power than you need, at $57,720, E350’s 302 hp V6—increased from 2011’s 268 hp V6, ought to do it. But like I said, the E trumps all others attempting to take home first prize at the dance.
Its triple layered soft top is comprised of nearly one inch of materials. The outcome is said to seal out both weather and noise for the long term. Still, it has the prowess to drop in 20…seconds, that is. It does so without consuming the entire trunk space.
In case you were wondering, you’re looking at 19 city / 28 highway for the E350, with the E550 reigning in at 16 city / 25 highway for EPA ratings.
Throw the G37 in Sport driving mode and feel the instant engagement of the throttle and steering as all 325 horses under the hood rare up to conquer to road that lies ahead. Take advantage of the seven-speed transmission’s ability to manually shift so you can drop one to pick that extra torque required to change lanes with a grin on your face while leaving everyone in the dust. Even with 267 lb-ft of torque, the G—with it’s big sexy chrome grill and chrome covered dual exhaust pipes–still accomplishes 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway.
There’s also the option to step up to the 6MT trim level. Based at $51,300, the difference includes a set of 19” rims (versus the 18’s on the base model), a six speed manual tranny, sport tuned steering and many of the features above that come as extras.
Out of the shadows of mundane, Volvo has come alive. No longer is it just about safety and a good engine. Now you can add the word style to what’s notable and mean it!
For the true romantic or player at heart, rear seat space is a determining factor in the game. Even if not, the fact that with a hard top convertible you lose trunk space with the top down makes back seat space a real contingent in the equation. And that’s where the 227 horsepower turbo engine C70–with a five speed transmission with the option of a Polestar chip adding 23 horses of engine power and 35 extra lb-ft of torque—separates itself from all others in its class. Its rear seat will seat two full size adults either upright or for the drive or temporarily in a slightly contorted recline on a romantic summer’s eve.
The Volvo C70 hard top convertible
Other differentiating features giving C70 the ability to stand its ground on the mid-priced luxury playing field includes front wheel drive on both the $40,450 base T5 trim level and the $44,350 T5 Inscription. Go mack daddy with either trim level and add the optional 900-watt digitally amplified premium sound system with 12-speakers to give the wind a run for the money with the top down and of course. But at no additional cost, Volvo’s class leading safety features, which we’ve come to expect from the brand, are a given.
Also for the record, opting for the $1,295 Polestar chip on the T5, which comes as a standard on the T5 Inscription, does not change the government fuel economy rating. With or without the extra power, C70 still comes in at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway.
For someone under 30 or over 60, with $20,000 to spend on an exciting convertible, Fiat’s got the hook-up: They call it the 500c!
Compact and cute with the multi-stage retractable roof up or down, the 500 is the whip that turns heads at every traffic light. Constantly, viewers passing by will either stop and stare at, or smile while give you a thumbs up on the fly.
Front to back, you’d swear the Fiat 500 takes its cues from the Mini Cooper, when all along it was the Italian manufacturer that birthed the design back in 1957, followed by British Motor Corporation’s design of the Mini in 1959. But even in the absence of Mini Cooper’s pitbull like stance, which makes for great stability and handling, the 500 stands its ground like a true champ on curves and corners, making it not only as cute as a button, but fun to drive in the city and open road.
When Fiat became Chrysler’s new owner after the 2009 government led bankruptcy, the 500 led the way on this side of the Atlantic as the 2010 introduction for model year 2012. 500’s options include two trim levels in the convertible lineup: 500c Pop with a base of $19,500 and the 500c Lounge at $23,500. Aside from Pop’s five-speed manual transmission and Lounge’s six-speed automatic, both rock the same 1.4 engine liter engine with Sport drive, and the ability to retract the roof while in motion (up to 60 miles per hour). Beyond that, it’s pretty much a matter of cosmetics, several of which—such as the Bose premium sound system available in the $1,250 Customer Preferred Package and the optional $500 five spoke rims, can still be had with the base model. Either way, 30 miles per gallon in the city, 38 helps make 500 an attractive buy.
Oh yeah, unless your children are infants, let’s call this one a two-seater for the grown and sexy–even with its backseat in theory and design. In fact, think of the rear seat space as a place to store your hard luggage, which is highly unlikely to fit in the compact trunk space.