The coolest modern convertibles, so that you have just the right car under your ass to stroll along the chic boulevards and honk at the roguish dolls.
It is very hot at the moment. You will have noticed. That is good news in some cases. For example, the Pirelli seem to like Red Bulls more in warm weather than Mercedes.
Summer is also the time to cruise with your convertible again. Especially with this weather you have to enjoy it, right? Unfortunately, driving a convertible is almost always not cool. Yes, people look at you. But not because they want to trade with you so badly. No, they are a far too red head in Japanese roadster or German convertible from the year jar with imitation wheels underneath. However, it is not always a money issue. Also an open Lamborghini is actually very un-cool.
Now there is a very simple solution: grab a classic. They are often cool again. Classics are for enthusiasts, not poseurs. But if you don’t want an outdated car, your options are very limited. That’s why we went looking for the coolest modern convertibles.
For this overview we will of course look at a fairly specific category, to ensure that the list can be somewhat complete. The requirements are:
- Not older than 20 years
- More than enough power
- More than enough luxury
- Style is more important than performance
Alpina Roadster V8 (E52)
We start the list of ‘coolest modern convertibles’ with a remarkable participant. A tuned BMW is always a bit wrong. That can be fun, but it remains wrong. Tuning a tuned retro BMW is certainly not done. But in the case of the Alpina Roadster V8, they did a great job. The BMW Z8 was dynamically a terrible misguided: less tight to drive than the M5 from which it was derived. Bee Alpina they removed the sporty element. The high-revving 4.9 engine was replaced by a more relaxed 4.8 of Alpina origin. The manual gearbox was replaced by an automatic transmission. The result was a more relaxed convertible that was more about style than false sporting features. And it is precisely the relaxed attitude that makes it cool.
Aston Martin DB9 Volante
Basically one of the coolest modern convertibles ever built. Above all, the DB9 Volante is very beautiful. The DB9 was developed with a Volante in mind. Also, it mainly had to be a Gran Tourer, not a faux sports car. That is precisely why the DB9 is not only an elegant beauty to look at, but it is also a very graceful car. You can steer it over the mountain passes, but the DB9 does that very civilized, unless you are going to appeal to the V12. The DB9 Volante is one of those few cars that everyone justifiably likes. It is also one of the few cars that does exactly what it was designed to do. Class.
Oh, this one is very tricky, because the Cadillac XLR is of course an affordable SL competitor. It is one of the few cars that cannot be photographed, you have to see this car in real life. The XLR was built on the chassis of a Corvette. That was secretly a pretty good driving car, but with a plastic exterior and plastic interior, not everyone was enthusiastic about it. The Cadillac XLR had a much nicer body and a much improved interior, although not yet at Mercedes level. The engine was a 4.6 Northstar V8 with 32 valves and four overhanging camshafts, in the XLR-V even a 4.4 with supercharger. Think of it like an American XKR or SL55, but with unique styling.
Mercedes-Benz SL600 (R230)
Secretly, the ‘R230’ is an insanely stylish car. Since many of them are built, they are relatively affordable. Mis-tuned copies are no exception. So you have to look very carefully which SL you should have exactly. In principle, you can’t go wrong with a dark blue SL350, but we go for the SL600. Mainly because the device is packed with German engineering without you looking at it. Two small exhausts, simple five spoke wheels and the rear lights of the SL500. The less powerful SL55 AMG looks ‘thicker’. The first facelift version is a bit tighter, a bit stronger (517 hp) and a bit more reliable. Very rare as SL600.
Jaguar XK Convertible (X150)
This list of the coolest modern convertibles is actually the natural habitat for the Jaguar XK. It’s kind of like an Aston Martin DB9 light. Basically the same core values, but slightly more modest in terms of performance, price, consumption and costs. The engine is not very important. All V8s are very pleasant to handle and fast enough. Perhaps more important is the implementation. The XK can have a bright color or dull color, but in dark blue with ivory-colored leather the car is completely perfect. Even as a Cabriolet, the XK is an excellent driving car, more fun than a similarly priced BMW 6 Series, which is perhaps the worst car at the moment.
Alfa Romeo 8C Spider
Basically with this car you have the best of Maserati, Ferrari and a few more Italian grandmasters in a car, with a modest badge. The 8C Cabriolet followed the Competizione. The advantage of the Spider was that the engineers did not aim for maximum sportiness. Above all, it is a true exotic that is particularly beautiful from every angle. It’s the kind of car where performance doesn’t matter. The car is fast enough anyway. In any case, the 8C Spider sounds much faster than this one.
Porsche 911 Speedster (997)
It took a while to find the coolest open Porsche. A 911 Cabriolet is easily not cool. They are on every street corner and often they are four-wheel drive variants with automatic transmission and multiple turbos. That makes them very capable and good, but not so much cool and these are the coolest modern convertibles. The 911 Speedster was therefore a pleasant surprise. The 997 Speedster was in fact a rear-wheel drive Carrera S Cabrio, where they took a decent look at the body. The Fuchs rims complete the picture. Only 356 have been built, so you are also a connoisseur if you drive one.
Maserati GranCabrio Sport (M145)
The Maserati GranCabrio is such a car where you can easily think of 10 good reasons to drop it down to its valve caps. But still. The urge to possess is much greater than a BMW 650i Convertible which will be better on all points. It doesn’t matter, the Maserati is beautiful and sounds heavenly. Over the years the car got better and better. It is important to choose the ‘Sport’, because it was, eh, less sporty. The other option was the MC Sport with an artificial body kit.
We still have to wait for special versions of the Portofino, but that is actually not necessary. The Ferrari cashcow is one of the most beautiful cars on the market and one of the coolest modern convertibles of the moment. Certainly in the right color scheme. The trick is to bypass any shade of red, as well as other bright colors. Combine it with a nice brown shade for the upholstery and you have a very stylish and cool open Ferrari.
Bentley Continental GT Convertible
This one is a bit tricky. Like the 911, the Continental GT is a huge success and very popular in certain circles. But popular is often not the same as cool. We are no longer in high school. The third iteration of the Continental GT, however, is better than ever. The car now shares its engineering with the Panamera instead of the Phaeton, something you can tell from the nice proportions. Especially if you choose a chic color with the discreet sounding W12, it is an incredibly cool car. If you go for a matte black V8 with Akrapovic exhaust, then you’re done. Not cool.
Lexus LC500 Convertible
The car we started with. The Lexus LC500 is the coolest convertible you can buy right now. This is also because hardly any convertibles are being built at the moment. But even though the market was completely saturated with convertibles, the LC500 is still the coolest convertible. It is remarkable that this car more or less came out of nowhere. What’s most refreshing is that Lexus does everything slightly different. The interior is at a bizarre high level, without imitating the German competition. The styling is refreshing yet beautiful. And the technology is not only very reliable, but also unique: a unique, naturally aspirated 5.0 V8 now gives much more aural pleasure than a turbo engine. Not faster, but cooler.
Of course, this is just a small selection in the coolest modern convertible category. If you miss a model, let us know in the comments which one and more importantly: why that car is so cool. The best submission will win a 5-hour chat session with @jaapiyo.
I think that 911 is seriously uncool. Far too obligatory and too dull and perhaps a bit cynical. A 981 Boxster Spyder, which I think is ultimately cool. Maybe not luxurious enough for this list (the Lotus Elise sends my regards), but still.
I also really like the new DBS Volante. And the Mercedes S Cabrio, but preferably not as S650 Maybach.
Should it ever have reached the production stage, the Citroën C5 Airscape was also a good candidate.1
@willeme, a (car) man after my heart. Nice list and you know what cool means. As far as I am concerned, it is time that more cars were bought again in the classic color schemes that you name and depict. All that black, all black or gray nowadays… Not cool.
A really tasty overview! Once that 911 falls a little by the wayside. Looks bulging while the rest are sleek and luxuriously lined. The Maserati is cool to drive past a terrace. Throttle once and all beers are beaten.
My favorites: Aston Martin, Jaguar, the Merc (if you have the right spec) and the Alpina… Well, do them all!1
What does the 8C look bad in the picture above.
That Z8 looks really brilliant, with or without alpina …
The 8c… sigh… ..
Maserati… ..hose… ..
Even though I wouldn’t complain about an Aston or Bentley… ..
A 911 is too common and a Cadillac too blebs.
A Wiesmann roadster or a Jaguar F-Type are more likely to hit my cool wall.1
@janjansen: I agree
That LC500 is very cool. Precisely because it is ‘only’ a Lexus. And just like the very first Lexus ever, which had to outperform the S-Class and all other cars in the same segment, it seems that Lexus has set the same goal with the LC500.
The great thing is that they have not only paid a lot of attention to the technology, but also to the design, not to mention the interior. The latter is simply incredibly beautiful: all the gadgets you can think of, without looking like a Playstation on wheels. Rather traditionally chic.
I don’t know soon, but that chat session is a gem of a price