Newsflash: it's already August. Parents are thinking about back to school, vacations are wrapping up, and the summer heat is just getting started. Just because the end of summer is near doesn't mean squat to the sun; August and September are San Diego's hot weather months. And when temperatures start to climb so high that you’d do almost anything to escape the heat (including go to the mall), then you know it’s time to take a drive in your convertible to a cooler locale, preferably near an ocean or other body of water. This long enjoyed ritual of taking a top-down convertible drive to nowhere in particular (although we do have a collection of the top summer driving routes) means it’s just as important what car you drive to get there.
We've taken five highly varied convertible options that all serve different budgets, tastes and numbers of passengers to bring you the top 5 convertibles for an end of summer drive. A convertible is best enjoyed during the summer months with just a driver and passenger, their UV rated sunglasses and at least SPF 15 sunblock to avoid sunburns, and these all fit the bill perfectly. Enjoy your end of summer drive!
2013 Mazda Miata—As the simplest and most affordable entrant in this list of five fun to drive drop tops, the Miata roadster is a vehicle few people don’t associate with pure and simple two seat roadster thrills. The affordable soft top version starts at just $23,720 and is so lightweight that you can raise or lower the top with just one arm manually, with no power assistance. A power hardtop is optional but adds a few thousand dollars to the bottom line. And the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata should honestly be about perfectly balanced cornering, making expert manual transmission shifts and enjoying the just powerful enough 2.0 liter 167 horsepower 4-cylinder, returning a wallet-friendly 21 city/28 highway MPG. This convertible invented “Zoom-Zoom.”
2013 VW Beetle TDI Convertible—Now here is something new. Volkswagen just introduced a diesel engine variant of its cute four seat Beetle convertible that is also available with a 200 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 170 horsepower 5-cylinder engine. Although the 2013 Beetle Convertible has a blind spot that could hide a tractor trailer when the top is up, top down vision is crystal clear and with the turbodiesel engine this vehicle is EPA rated at 28 city/41 highway for fuel economy. Prices start at $27,200 for the 2013 VW Beetle TDI convertible, which doesn’t take into account all the money you will save at the gas pumps.
2013 Chevy Camaro Convertible—Here is another convertible option allegedly designed to hold four passengers, although most adults might find legroom lacking in the back of this cloth top Camaro - even compared with the Beetle. Granted, the 2013 Chevy Camaro Convertible starts at just over $31,000 and comes standard with a perfectly muscular 3.6 liter 323 horsepower/278 lb. feet of torque V6 motor mated to either a six-speed manual or effortless 6-speed automatic. But as this is a Camaro, many would never consider buying anything but the V8 power SS version, which just brushes up against $40,000 thanks to an avalanche of extra features and the inimitable 6.2 liter 420 horsepower/426 lb. feet of torque V8 (a beast that emits noises only otherwise heard during wild animal courting rituals).
2013 Audi TT 2.0T Convertible—If you are concerned about being able to use your convertible in the winter months with the top up, this Audi ragtop may just be the ticket for you thanks to standard fit of the German automaker’s time proven Quattro full-time all-wheel drive system. Still, in the summer months there are plenty of aspects of the TT to enjoy, like the downright sexy styling, solid interior fit and finish, as well as elegant materials even in the most basic $41,070 entry level model. Our favorite feature, however, has to be the potently powerful 2.0 liter turbocharged 211 horsepower/258 lb. feet of torque 4-cylinder engine that - when mated to the standard 6-speed double clutch automatic - emits one of the sportiest exhaust burbling noises we have ever heard coming from any roadster (even those with Porsche badges!).2013 Mercedes SL550
—Although affording one of these classic Mercedes roadsters may still require you win the lottery (base price of $105,000), do consider it a bargain as the insanely powerful range topping AMG SL65 costs over $202,000 to start. And what better way to see a lovely summer day than from inside the luxuriously leather-lined cabin of this 429 horsepower V8 powered folding hardtop style icon? You will no doubt feel sexier, look younger and feel like a million bucks after any length drive in a 2013 Mercedes SL550, which truly is one of the finest convertibles ever built.