six-for-the-summer:-cool-cabriolets-to-look-forward-to
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Image: Bentley

One of life’s greatest pleasures is an open-top drive in a cabriolet on a warm, balmy sunset. There’s nothing like the smell of sea salt when driving along the coast or the petrichor of the forest, freshly washed by the rain just moments before.

Driving top down also makes for a heightened sensory experience. The driver hears the engine and exhaust more clearly, and the smell of hot brakes and tyres from a spirited drive stirs the emotions to a new level. 

If you’re lucky enough to be behind the wheel of an open cabriolet on these occasions, you can literally feel the stress melt away and a smile grow on your face. It has been said, however, that the most successful people make their own luck. So to prepare you for these situations, here are six of the latest cabriolets that are guaranteed to make your day. Every day.

Maserati MC-20 Cielo

Image: Maserati

The newest in this group is the Maserati MC-20 Cielo. Hot on the heels of the coupé that made its debut last year, the Cielo is in fact more of a targa than an outright convertible. Instead of a folding fabric or metal top, this Maserati is fitted with a state-of-the-art electrochromic glass roof panel. At a touch of a button on the central screen, the top can be transformed from clear to opaque. Best-in-class thermal insulation promises to keep heat Sun’s heat at bay while it takes just a press of a button and 12 seconds to electrically remove the top.

Impressively, the MC-20 Cielo weighs just 65kg more than the coupe, which is insignificant for the revolutionary Nettuno twin-turbo V6 engine to overcome. With 630hp at the driver’s disposal, the MC-20 Cielo is capable of reaching over 320km/h and needs only three seconds to reach 100km/h from a standstill. Just as well then, that among the various drive modes available to optimize the car’s handling dynamics, WET Mode is also there for reassuring control when the heavens open.

Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible

Image: Bentley

The perfect accompaniment to a cabriolet is an engine that sings. One of the best-sounding motors that money can buy is a high-revving V8 which incidentally, can be fund under the bonnet of the Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible.

Its 4.0-litre twin-turbo engine produces a characterful V8 burble through its stylish quad exhaust pipes, while offering better efficiency for a Touring range of over 800km. All in unbeatable comfort for effortlessly covering long distances. 

While a top speed of 318km/h and the ability to reach 100km/h from a standstill in four seconds, the Bentley Drive Dynamics selector allows the full breadth of performance, from class-leading refinement and comfort to focussed handling in Sport mode.

In addition, the Active All-Wheel Drive System, enables the use of rear-wheel drive as much as possible during normal driving for optimum efficiency and dynamic performance.

BMW M4 Competition Convertible with M xDrive

Image: BMW

Another brand that is increasing the availability of all-wheel drive in its model range is BMW M. This performance division of BMW is known for building some of the most uncompromising performance cars of out time.

Most recently, the M4 is available in Convertible guise. Paired with all-wheel drive, the BMW M4 Competition Convertible with M xDrive, as it is properly called, breaks new ground for the M sub-brand. Just as well since its 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder in-line twin-turbocharged engine makes 510hp.

Reverting back to a fabric folding roof after a long hiatus also means adding the convenience of opening or closing the roof on the move at speeds of up to 50km/h. 

Audi R8 Spyder V10 performance RWD

Image: Audi

The Audi R8 has matured into something of a “thinking man’s” supercar. It is well-executed; stylish, handles beautifully and has a track record of reliability that is the envy of many exotic brands.

It also offers some pedigree, too. By way of the Lamborghini Huracan with which it shares its chassis and that fabulous V10 engine! Additionally, the Audi R8 Spyder V10 performance RWD offers a greater degree of purity with a rear wheel drive layout that saves weight as well as puts the driver firmly in control. With great power, comes great responsibility indeed.

Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

Image: Porsche

No list of sports cars, open-topped or otherwise, would be complete without the Porsche 911. In this case, the latest 992-generation models are so complete that even the ‘entry’ model is easily capable of delivering all the useable performance anyone could possibly need. Look further up the price list and the Stuttgart carmaker is only too happy to oblige with even more potent versions of its iconic sports car.

The 385hp output of the 911 Carrera Cabriolet perfectly subscribes to the brand’s philosophy of Porsche Intelligent Performance. In the real world, stratospheric power outputs only translate to spending more time braking for the next corner. The driver of this 911 Carrera however, would be able to spend more time, savouring the nuances of the power band and the characteristic engine notes that come with every increment of revs. All the better that this is done with the top down…

Jaguar F-Type R-Dynamic Black Convertible

Image: Jaguar

Speaking of intelligent performance, one of the most beautiful cars in this group is also the most efficient. Powered by a 300hp, 2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium four-cylinder engine, it generates maximum torque from just 1,500rpm. All this while delivering the expected sports car acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in only 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h.

The new R-Dynamic Black variants of the F-Type take the purity and presence of its sports car ethos to a new level. For starters, the 20-inch gloss black alloy wheels known as ‘Style 5039’ are not available on any other model in the range.

Inside, more quality detailing can be found that gives this car the look and feel of traditionally British craftsmanship which adds a greater sense of luxury and sportiness.

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