Summer is around the corner and throughout the US many fun-and-sun loving motorists are looking forward to tooling around town with the top down in their ragtop. Angelenos, however, can even enjoy a top down experience of the best kind on our not infrequent balmy winter days. In view of the peak convertible season in the U.S., Popular Mechanics(PM) magazine has prepared their pick of the best new convertibles. The bad news is that most are well beyond the reach of the average Joe or Jane.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible: According to PM, the new Vette’s shape is a little cleaner and less fussy without the Coupe’s roof and shoulder-mounted cooling ducts; thus, it might end up so it might end up as the prettiest of all Stingrays. Horsepower is ample with Under that scooped hood is the 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 (450 HP and 450 lb-ft of torque). The bad news is that the new ragtop won’t hit LA dealerships until the latter part of 2013.
2014 Jaguar F-Type: The F-Type has a feature lacking in Jaguar’s flagship XK convertible; it can keep up with aggressive sports cars like Porsche’s 911 and Boxster. Power ranges from a 340 HP supercharged V-6 up to a 495-HP V-8, with an honest 380 HP V-6 occupying the middle ground. According to Jaguar, the most powerful F-Type is good for a 0-to-60-MPH time of just 4.2 seconds. Each engine will come paired to an eight-speed automatic; however, if you are a stick shift enthusiast, you are out of luck. PM notes that he aggressive Active Sport Exhaust on V-8 models makes a sound so good you’ll swear it was tuned in Ferrari’s factory.
2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet: Since 1983, the Porsche 911 Cabriolet has been one of the most versatile and iconic convertible sports machines. Like the Corvette, the 911 Cabriolet is a topless funster that you can drive everyday—and have a blast on the weekends too. Powering the Carrera S Cabriolet is a 400 HP, which can be paired with a seven-speed manual or the “wonderfully smart” (according to PM) PDK dual-clutch transmission; thus, it is Porsche’s most potent open-air machine. The fabric top only looks soft; underneath the cloth is a series of rigid panels. The roof raises and lowers in just 13 seconds.
2013 Toyota FT-86 Open Concept: Yup, it’s just a concept that Toyota debuted at Geneva this month; no production plans have been officially announced. PM notes that unlike some concepts, the vehicle is obviously much more than a styling exercise. Thus, they anticipated convertible versions of the Scion FR-S and its twin, the Subaru BRZ becoming available within two years. Toyota says that if and when it creates a production version, the droptop would be “weight neutral” compared to the coupe. PM notes that that sounds like the car’s platform was designed from the start to be convertible-ready without the need to add hundreds of pounds of bracing.
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG: The MSRP of the primo Mercer ragtop is (gasp) $206,000. PM describes the SL65 as a stealth machine. Except for the badges, lip spoiler and larger wheels, little distinguishes the SL65 AMG from the ordinary SL550—at least as far as looks are concerned. However, AMG engineers stuffed the company’s incredible twin-turbo V-12 under that hood. PM claims that the luxe ragtop comes with all the pampering of the normal SL, including heated massaging seats, the Airscarf feature that heats the back of your neck on a chilly day, and an electrochromic glass-roof panel that changes from light to dark at the touch of a button. Noteworthy is the folding metal hardtop rises from the trunk in just about 16 seconds.