Spring into a convertible with the Roadster, MX-5 or R8 Spyder
The fine line between the end of winter and the start of spring is often blurred. It still rains more often than not, and you just can’t get yourself to pack away the jackets quite yet. And with summer approaching quickly, you start to notice the faint smell of barbecue wafting in your window, and then the first firm sign appears — convertibles of all shapes and colours begin flooding the streets.
For the 2014 model year, there is no shortage of new drop tops offered by manufacturers ranging from mild to wild. Here are a few favourite picks to hit the open road with this start of the warm season.
With great handling due to its short wheelbase, cute looks and the choice of three powerplants, there’s a lot to like about the MINI Cooper Roadster. Starting at MSRP $28,900, it’s available in standard trim with 121 horsepower, the more powerful Cooper S with 181 hp, and my personal favourite, the John Cooper Works edition with 208 hp and 192 pound-feet of torque. All models still get great gas mileage as well with the latter rated at 7.7 L/100 km in the city and 5.6 L/100 km on the highway.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Audi R8 Spyder Convertible is made to impress. For an MSRP of $148,000, you get a 4.2-litre eight-cylinder engine producing 430 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, 19-inch wheels and a six-speed manual transmission. Or, step up to the $182,000 V10 model for a horsepower and torque bump up to 525 and 430 lb-ft, respectively. New for 2014 is an optional S tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox that will launch the V10 from 0 to 100 km/h in under 3.5 seconds.
Time is winding down for consumers to pick up the third generation of arguably the most popular roadster in history: the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Introduced in 1989, the first iteration alone sold over 400,000 units. The modern version retains much of that classic two-seater sports car feel with a rear-wheel drive layout, a high-revving 167-hp engine and an available six-speed transmission. Enthusiasts should be on the lookout for a new Miata based on a completely redesigned chassis coming soon.
Besides these examples, there are plenty of other open-air options available. Visit openroadautogroup.com/new-cars for a complete list.