It’s funny when people try comparing MINIs to other cars because it just doesn’t work. With Fiat’s failed attempt at funky, MINI truly stands alone. And with the backing of BMW, their cars are both premium and fun-to-drive. Personalization is the name of the game at MINI and building the one that’s just right for you is an exciting endeavor and something that’s tough to find elsewhere for under 6-figures. So here I have the Cooper S Convertible with the 189 horsepower turbo decked out in the highest Iconic trim level replete with silver bonnet stripes and the MINI Yours soft top for an as-tested price of $40,850…….with blue-ish looking Enigmatic Black paint, these 18” MINI Yours British Spoke 2-tone wheels, my personal favorite interior – Satellite Grey in Chesterfield Leather, and this new Touchscreen Navigation Plus with wireless Apple CarPlay…sorry Android users. This one also comes standard with a heated steering wheel in a new design, heated seats, power folding mirrors, a head-up display, a Harman/Kardon Premium Sound System and a wind deflector. The one possible rub against this Iconic model that favors the base Classic trim is that you can’t get this one with a stick shift – the 7-speed dual clutch transmission is standard. But it works particularly well with this 2.0-liter turbo, with crisp shifts, steering wheel paddles, 3 driving modes, an additional 3mpgs and a quicker 0-to-60mph time of 6.7 seconds. There are some fun sounds here too adding to the sporty persona. And with summer-use tires clutching the road, snappy steering and a buttoned down suspension this is quintessential MINI driving.
If you’re like me, the slog of daily driving is enough to send you to therapy. It’s not fun, you’re surrounded by hostiles and more often than not the car is standing still. But a cabriolet such as this will adjust your attitude in a heartbeat. Small, nimble, precise and oozing with emotion, the Boxster – with the top down and the 6-speed in your hand – is the perfect antidote to commuting madness. And this isn’t just any Boxster – it’s the new GTS, positioned above the S and below the Spyder. So what’s the cost for this type of weekend pleasure? Well, it’s not cheap – surprise-surprise – the GTS starts at $26,900 more than a base 718 Boxster at about $91,000. This one – with a shockingly small list of options for a Porsche – checks in at $100,600. One of those extras is the Aventurine Green paint which mostly looks gray until the sun hits it and one of options not here which I would certainly get is Entry and Drive because I’m not into keys anymore.
2020 CHEVROLET CORVETTE STINGRAY CONVERTIBLE TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES.
I haven’t had a car attract this much attention in forever. Car people, non-car people, doesn’t matter. Everyone knows this is something special. It looks like a race car and depending on the angle it could be a Corvette, a Ferrari, a Lambo or an NSX. But this baby bleeds red, white and Elkhart Lake Blue. And this isn’t just the all-new C8 Corvette, this is the Convertible with a power retractable hardtop so seamlessly integrated you wouldn’t know this isn’t the Coupe. Well, that is unless you go looking for the window to the engine…about the only sacrifice you’ll have to make for top-down driving.
2020 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA RF QUICK TAKES TESTDRIVENOW.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring is offered in a soft top as well as in a RF – retractable fastback – configuration. The MX-5 RF can open or close its roof in a remarkable 13 seconds; providing the look and feel of both a sporty coupe and an iconic convertible. It’s now available in Mazda’s new Polymetal Gray exterior color.
2021 LEXUS LC 500 CONVERTIBLE TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. After 2+ decades of driving new cars each week, I admit, you can get pretty jaded. So it’s rarer now that I get really wowed when a car is delivered but that’s happening right now. I mean, just look at this thing. The LC is already a gorgeous car but make it a convertible and paint it red like this and all of a sudden I’m a teenager again at Spencer Gift’s buying the poster because the Lexus LC 500 Convertible is as close as it gets to a rolling piece of art.
the LC is not a sports car…this is a grand tourer in the greatest sense. This is all about a beautiful autumn day, top down, companion in the passenger seat, neck heater blowing, and the intoxicating sounds of the V8. The huge 21” wheels and high performance tires ding the ride quality a bit and overall the suspension doesn’t feel as sophisticated as you would like so driving it with verve is more pleasing when the road isn’t too twisty. I love convertibles and the showier the better. And this Lexus makes for the ideal sunny skies weekender as long as you can handle all of the attention.