Every once in a while, Mother Nature likes to throw us a real curveball. This February was a perfect example here in New England. After weeks of getting pounded by heavy snow, the clouds went away, the sun came out, and the temperature shot up. It was a little taste of spring—just enough of a taste to get us thinking about things like convertibles.
In a move any good New Englander should have predicted, Mother Nature ripped that all away after just a few short days, sending the region back into a bitter cold and bringing intense snowfall to some parts. Even with the temperature below 30, we still can’t get our minds off convertibles. If you’re like us, you probably don’t want to wait any longer to put the top down and drive with the wind in your hair. There are likely to be a few days in the near future when that will be possible, but what if Mother Nature changes her mind again, and you find yourself stuck with a convertible in the middle of a snowstorm?
The answer, we say, is simple: Go out and buy yourself a convertible with all-wheel or 4-wheel drive. Sure, it may not perform as well in winter weather as a Toyota 4Runner or Subaru Outback, but it should make your life a lot easier if the white stuff does start coming down. To help you decide which foul-weather-friendly convertible would be best for you, we came up with our top 10 picks:
10. Our number 10 pick is a bit of a unicorn—you don’t see it too often, but when you do, you have to stop and stare. The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet went on sale in the 2011 model year and has made quite the splash. Let’s be honest, it’s an odd-looking car. To make the Murano CrossCabriolet, Nissan took its popular Murano crossover, chopped off the roof and exchanged 4 doors for 2. We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not you like its…unique…look, but one thing’s for certain: Having all the capabilities of a Murano while not having the constraints of a roof can make for quite the awesome open-air experience when Jack Frost comes around.
9. If you’re looking for a more traditional convertible, one of the best out there is the Audi A5 Cabriolet. Available with Audi’s famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system, the A5 Cabriolet is a fine example of a cruising convertible. That being said, the car still has a sporty feel to it, and the Quattro system should do a good job of getting you where you’re going if the nice weather heads south. For those of you looking for a sportier convertible, consider moving up to the A5 Cabriolet’s sibling: the S5 Cabriolet.
8. A step up from the A5 Cabriolet is the BMW 6 Series. Available with both all-wheel drive and convertible options, the 6 Series is one of the best choices out there for someone looking to enjoy fine German luxury in the open air while not having to worry about getting stuck because of a little snow. With a turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine standard (and a 4.4-liter twin-turbo 8-cylinder kicking out 445 hp available as an option), you’ll never lack the power to get where you need to go. Chances are you’ll turn heads getting there as well.
7. For those really looking for some serious luxury no matter the weather, there is perhaps no better choice than the Bentley Continental GTC. With a standard all-wheel-drive system that directs the car’s power in a 60:40 split to the front and rear wheels, you’ll never be left out in the cold. Truth be told, put up the top and you probably won’t mind being out in the cold: 567 hp and a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds are still pretty enjoyable during a cold snap.
6. If you want European luxury, but are aren’t fully convinced by the car from Crewe, look to Stuttgart and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class cabriolet. Originally built on the advice of the Shah of Iran, the G-Class began life as a military vehicle, known as the Geländewagen. Mercedes quickly decided to produce a civilian version, putting the G-Class (then known as the G-Wagen) into production in 1979. Although the hardtop version is the most popular G-Class, Mercedes has also long produced a convertible variant for those looking to catch a few rays where most other cars are unable to go. If you like the G-Class cabriolet, you’d better act fast—Mercedes has decided to discontinue it.
5. While the Audi TT won’t get you to anywhere near as many places as the G-Class, you’ll definitely arrive wherever you do go with a smile. The TT roadster is an extremely well-balanced 2-seater, with its turbocharged 4-cylinder sending 211 hp to all 4 wheels through Audi’s Quattro system. Couple that with the car’s able handling, commendable ride and unique look, and it’s hard to let even the nastiest weather get you down. Putting the top down on sunny days is just an added bonus.
4. If you’re the kind of person who would trade luxury for pure off-road prowess, the Land Rover Defender is the convertible for you. The direct descendant of the Land Rover Series I, II and III, the Defender has an impeccable off-road pedigree and will get you just about anywhere you could possibly dream of going—just keep in mind it probably won’t be a cushy ride. Put into production in 1983, the Defender quickly gained a reputation as one of the world’s most capable SUVs and continues to deliver off the pavement. If you want to go anywhere and could care less about things like massaging leather seats, the Defender is your ride. There’s a reason so many fans call Land Rover “the best 4x4xfar”; that reason is the Defender.
3. Off-road capability may excite some, but speed and handling are a big draw for many others. If that’s your thing, it’s hard to beat the Porsche 911 (although our second pick does just that—for a much higher price). One of the most recognizable cars on the road today, the 911 is the dream of many. For those lucky enough to be considering one, the all-wheel-drive version is an excellent choice if you want to enjoy an icon without having to worry about the weather. With a variety of different 911 convertibles (including the new and awesome Targa 4), it shouldn’t be too hard to find your own favorite version of this legend.
2. What would you buy if you had a few million dollars lying around for a convertible and wanted something fun and fast that would also survive in New England? You’d buy a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, of course. The pride of the Volkswagen Group, the Veyron is nothing short of a technological masterpiece on wheels—wheels that each get a piece of the car’s 1,200 hp, keeping you glued to the road. How fast will all that power get you? 254.04 mph—better watch out for James May.
1. It should come as no surprise that there is one unrivaled king of convertibles (in bad conditions): the Jeep Wrangler. With its classic looks, small dimensions and rugged 4-wheel-drive system, the Wrangler is in the same class as the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Class in terms of where it can get you, but it will get you there for a lot less money. Keeping company like that, it’s no wonder the Wrangler was named one of our 10 Best Cars to Tackle Winter. In winter conditions, the Wrangler handles large snowfalls with aplomb, confidently powering through snowdrifts. In summertime, pop off the top and head for the beach; the Wrangler can get you through even the softest of sand.
What convertible would you prefer in bad weather?
Used Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
Used Audi A5
Used BMW 6 Series
Used Bentley Continental GTC
Used Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Used Audi TT
Used Land Rover Defender
Used Porsche 911
Used Bugatti Veyron
Used Jeep Wrangler