There’s nothing quite like taking a convertible out for a spin on a sunny day. Luxury convertibles generally lack the space and practicality of similarly-priced sedans and SUVs, but their fun factor is tough to beat. And just like other luxury vehicles, different luxury convertibles have different priorities. Do you want something small, nimble and sporty that will rocket down a twisty road? Or do you prefer a big, comfortable convertible so you can cruise to the beach in style? No matter what your preference is, you’ll be able to find a luxury convertible that meets your needs.
If you’re looking for one of the best-performing convertibles on the market, there are plenty of luxury models to choose from. If you want a luxury convertible that’s small and agile, consider cars like the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, Audi TT and BMW Z4.
If you need more power, consider luxury convertibles like the BMW M3, Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911. The base 911 Carrera Cabriolet has a 350-horsepower, six-cylinder engine, while the M3 and the Corvette have V8s under the hood. The M3 makes 414 horsepower, while the Corvette produces 430 horsepower.
Since these convertibles are performance-oriented, they don’t usually deliver the best fuel economy. Most combined fuel economy ratings of the high-performance models fall in the upper teens and lower twenties, however, some base models might surprise you. The base Audi TT and BMW Z4 have some of the highest fuel economy ratings of 22/31 and 22/34 mpg city/highway, respectively. The Porsche Boxster gets an EPA-estimated 20/30 mpg and the Mercedes-Benz SLK250 earns 22/32 mpg. Of these four convertibles, all but the Boxster earn these good fuel economy ratings with a four-cylinder engine. (The Boxster has a six-cylinder.)
Most luxury convertibles seat between two and four people, but in most cases, only the driver and front passenger seats are comfortable for adults. Back seats that are big enough to fit anything other than children, luggage or groceries are rare. If you want the most interior and trunk space in your next new luxury convertible, you’ll generally rule out models that prioritize performance.
When you’re out test driving luxury convertibles, take time to sit in different models with the top up and down to make sure you’re comfortable. Check out the head- and legroom, as well as the visibility. Then, climb into the back seat, even if you won’t use it most of the time. If it’s impossibly cramped and you plan to drive passengers around, you may want to consider a more spacious model.
For a roomier luxury convertible, go for larger models like the Audi A5 Cabriolet, BMW 6-Series Convertible, Volvo C70, Jaguar XK Convertible or Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet. These convertibles are available with all the luxury and tech features most shoppers want, and they’re also more comfortable to live with on a daily basis. The Volvo C70 and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet have back seats that are large enough to fit adult passengers, though they’re a little short on head- and legroom to be considered spacious for taller adults.
Hardtop vs. Soft Top
While ragtop luxury convertibles are certainly fun, they’re not always the quietest or the warmest in cold weather. If you’re looking for better protection from the elements, convertibles such as the Infiniti G Convertible, Volvo C70 and Lexus IS C sport power-retractable hardtops that can be lowered and raised at the touch of a button.
Hardtop convertibles generally keep the road noise down and the cabin temperature more comfortable than soft tops. However, they also tend to have less trunk space since the roof needs to fold down into the trunk. Be sure to check out the trunk with the top both up and down. If your convertible will be your weekend getaway car, you’ll want to make sure you can fit things like a few small suitcases or a golf bag.
Which Luxury Convertible is Right for You?
You’ll sacrifice some practicality with a luxury convertible, but that won’t matter when the sun is shining and you’re passing other cars on the open road. Some luxury convertibles offer great performance, while others offer more space and comfort. Regardless of which one you prefer, there’s a luxury convertible that’s right for you.