Metal-roofed convertibles are sturdier, safer, and offer better handling and a dramatically quieter ride than any ragtop. They are sexy, unsafe, pricey, cramped, and eminently unsuitable for families.
As a result, many prospective car buyers just glance at them longingly in the showroom before driving off in a minivan or crossover. But safety is increasingly less of a factor. That’s because these days auto makers offer convertibles with the sensuality of a ragtop and the solidity of a hardtop. Best of all, the roofs can be raised and lowered with the touch of a button.
The newest hardtops are also technological wonders. Their tops dance mechanically, folding back onto themselves, drawing stares from passersby, and helping to establish an auto brand’s high-tech bona fides. Even the most affordable new models put a premium on sporty performance, which only boosts sex appeal.
Speaking of premium, all this extra gadgetry doesn’t come cheap. For example, the Mercedes-Benz CLK350 coupe starts at $46,200 and the cabriolet version rings up at $54,200. Fortunately, not all hardtops are so expensive. At the lower end, the Miata Mx-5’s MSRP is just under $25,000.