Hardtop Convertible Vehicles

Hardtop Convertible Cars
May 31, 2012
Limo convertibles
May 31, 2012

Chrysler Crossfire Hardtop Convertible by Newport Convertible Engineering!

Retractable hardtop roof

Peugeot 402 (1938)

Volvo C70 with retractable hardtop

Rear view of Ferrari California, a hard top convertible.

retractable hardtop, also known as coupé convertible or coupé cabriolet, is a type of convertible that forgoes a folding textile roof in favor of an automatically operated, multi-part, self-storing hardtop where the rigid roof sections are opaque, translucent or independently operable.

The first retractable hardtop was from France when in 1934 Peugeot introduced the 601 Éclipse, designed by Georges Paulin.[13][14]

The retractable hardtop solves some issues with the soft-top convertible, but has its own compromises, namely mechanical complexity, expense and more often than not, reduced luggage capacity.

A 2006 New York Times article suggested the retractable hardtop may herald the demise of the textile-roofed convertible,[15] and a 2007 Wall Street Journal article suggested “more and more convertibles are eschewing soft cloth tops in favor of sophisticated folding metal roofs, making them practical in all climates, year-round.”[16]

Construction

Retractable hardtops can vary in material (steel, plastic or aluminum), can vary from two to five in the number of rigid sections and often rely on complex dual-hinged trunk (British: boot) lids that enable the trunk lid to both receive the retracting top from the front and also receive parcels or luggage from the rear – along with complex trunk divider mechanisms to prevent loading of luggage that would conflict with the operation of the hardtop.

Construction variations

  • The Volkswagen Eos features a five-segment retractable roof where one section is itself an independently sliding transparent sunroof.[16]
  • The Cadillac XLR features a retractable aluminum hardtop requiring 6′-10 12” of vertical clearance during retraction, and manufactured by a supplier joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.[17]
  • The Mercedes SL hardtop features a glass section that rotates during retraction to provide a more compact “stack.”
  • The Mazda MX-5 has been available since the 2006 model year with an optional power retractable hardtop, in lieu of the standard folding-textile soft-top. The cost of the retractable hardtop is actually less than the price premium charged to a separate hardtop. Compared to the regular soft-top, the hardtop weighs 77 lb (35 kg) more yet has no reduction in cargo capacity.[18] The MX-5 is one of the few cars offering both hardtop and soft-top convertible choices, so it is possible to make a direct performance comparison; the hardtop has slower acceleration but a higher top speed. The hardtop roof is constructed of polycarbonate and manufactured by the German firm Webasto.[19]
  • Daihatsu marketed the Copen in the ultra-compact Japanese Kei class.
  • The Chrysler Sebring‘s (and its successor the Chrysler 200‘s) retractable hardtop also is marketed alongside a soft-top. According to development engineer Dave Lauzun, during construction, the Karmann-made tops are dropped into a body that is largely identical: both soft-top and retractable feature the same automatic tonneau cover, luggage divider and luggage space.[20] The retractable does feature an underbody cross-brace not included in the softtop.
  • The Volvo C70, its retractable hardtop manufactured by Webasto[19] includes a global window switch that allows simultaneous raising or lowering of all windows,[21] and a button to power-activate the raising of the folded top stack within the trunk to access cargo below.[21]
  • The Vauxhaul/Opel Astra TwinTop, its three-piece retractable hardtop manufactured by Webasto[19] includes a global window switch that allows simultaneous raising or lowering of all windows and a button to power-activate the raising of the folded top stack within the trunk to access cargo below.[21]

Pros and cons

The retractable hardtop convertible trades higher initial cost, mechanical complexity and, with rare exception, diminished trunk space – for increased acoustic insulation, durability and break-in protection similar to that of a fixed roof coupe.

Pro: The retractable hardtop’s advantages are:

  • more practical in all climates year-round, compared to soft-tops which are more prone to leakage in heavy rain or winter. In addition, hardtops minimize wind noise and are more secure (the cloth of certain soft-tops can be slashed by a knife).[22][16]
  • increased structural rigidity over a soft-top.
  • eliminates the need for a storage-consuming, manually-from-outside-the-vehicle-installable, separate or integral, rigid or foldable, tonneau cover to conceal the mechanicals of a folded textile top.
  • eliminates the need to protect the vulnerable underside of a folded textile top from UV fading.
  • eliminates the need for a separate rigid hardtop requiring space-consuming off-season storage and a cumbersome twice-yearly, two-person manual installation and removal – a system popularized, for example, by the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class of 1963 to 2001.
  • may enable consolidation/simplification of a manufacturer’s car lineup; for instance the current BMW Z4 (E89) is offering only as a coupé-convertible (hardtop), compared to the preceding E85 generation that had separate coupé and cabriolet (soft-top) variants.
  • part of a popular trend that automakers have been following in the late 2000s. Hardtops are nicknamed “metal origami” and top-up they are considered more attractive than soft-tops.[23] A 2006 New York Times article suggested the retractable hardtop may herald the demise of the textile-roofed convertible,[15] and a 2007 Wall Street Journal article suggested “more and more convertibles are eschewing soft cloth tops in favor of sophisticated folding metal roofs”.[16]
  • Soft-top convertibles are often considered by the automotive press to not be in the “same league” as more complex hardtops.[24]

Con: In addition to higher initial cost, increased mechanical complexity – and thereby potentially higher repair cost, hardtops have the general disadvatages of:

  • Diminished passenger and trunk space compared to a soft-top convertible. Indeed some hardtops have a nearly unusable trunk once the roof is down.[25][26][27] Even some soft-top models use the trunk for storage of top.
  • Hardtops typically have a higher weight and center of gravity which reduces handling dynamics, so the Audi R8 Spyder, Porsche Boxster and 911 Cabriolet have retained soft-tops. Audi has yet to produce a hardtop convertible as of 2011, since they include quattro as standard equipment in their convertibles (after the discontinuation of the 2007 Audi A4 2.0T cabriolet) which already adds extra weight.[25][26][27][28]
  • decreased structural rigidity compared to a fixed-roof coupe. The 2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible tries to solve this problem with a folding steel roof, however this adds considerable mass to the vehicle.[29]
  • The retractable hardtop may lift the articulating sections of the roof during retraction, requiring increased vertical clearance. For example, the Volvo C70 requires 6.5 feet (2.0 m) of clearance during operation.[30] The Cadillac XLR requires 6′-10 12” of vertical clearance.
  • The retractable hardtop may, such as in the case of the Mercedes SLK, require additional rear clearance behind the car during operation of the top, the trunklid extending rearward while retracting or raising the top.
  • The retractable hardtop relies on battery power, and in the event of battery failure, can leave a retracted roof vulnerable to a downpour. Volvo includes an emergency roof cover with each Volvo C70.[30] The Cadillac XLR owners manual contains seven pages of detailed instructions on how to manually raise the top. This problem is not unique to retractable hardtops since some soft-tops rely on battery power as well.
  • With numerous articulated sections, each joint or seal is an opportunity for water leakage.
  • Failure of hydraulics or electrical systems may result in substantial repair bills, though some models of ragtops have similar setbacks when they employ a powered top-down sequence.

 

Current Model Hardtop Convertibles

Hardtop convertibles provide the benefits of a convertible car with the comfort and protection of a coupe. With the top up a hardtop convertible car has the all-weather appeal of an enclosed car, but once the top goes down it’s all convertible.

2011 (Current Model)BMW328i 3 Series ConvertibleHardtop$46,450
BMW 328i 3 Series Convertible

The 2011 BMW 328i 3 Series Convertible is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $46,450. Running on Premium, the 328i 3 Series Convertible gets 18 MPG City, 27 Highway MPG, for a combined 21 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 BMW 328i 3 Series Convertible Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)BMW335i 3 Series ConvertibleHardtop$52,650
BMW 335i 3 Series Convertible

The 2011 BMW 335i 3 Series Convertible is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $52,650. Running on Premium, the 335i 3 Series Convertible gets 19 MPG City, 28 Highway MPG, for a combined 22 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 BMW 335i 3 Series Convertible Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)BMW335is 3 Series ConvertibleHardtop$59,650
BMW 335is 3 Series Convertible

The 2011 BMW 335is 3 Series Convertible is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $59,650. Running on Premium, the 335is 3 Series Convertible gets 18 MPG City, 26 Highway MPG, for a combined 21 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 BMW 335is 3 Series Convertible Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)BMWM3 ConvertibleHardtop$67,550
BMW M3 Convertible

The 2011 BMW M3 Convertible is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $67,550. Running on Premium, the M3 Convertible gets 14 MPG City, 20 Highway MPG, for a combined 16 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 BMW M3 Convertible Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)BMWZ4 sDrive30iHardtop$47,450
BMW Z4 sDrive30i

The 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $47,450. Running on Premium, the Z4 sDrive30i gets 18 MPG City, 28 Highway MPG, for a combined 22 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)BMWZ4 sDrive35iHardtop$53,350
BMW Z4 sDrive35i

The 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35i is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $53,350. Running on Premium, the Z4 sDrive35i gets 19 MPG City, 26 Highway MPG, for a combined 21 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35i Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)BMWZ4 sDrive35isHardtop$62,500
BMW Z4 sDrive35is

The 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $62,500. Running on Premium, the Z4 sDrive35is gets 17 MPG City, 24 Highway MPG, for a combined 19 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)BugattiVeyron 16.4 Grand SportHardtop$1,985,000
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport

The 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $1,985,000. Running on Premium, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport gets 8 MPG City, 15 Highway MPG, for a combined 10 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)Chrysler200 ConvertibleHardtop$33,235
Chrysler 200 Convertible

The 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $33,235. Running on Regular, the 200 Convertible gets 19 MPG City, 29 Highway MPG, for a combined 22 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)FerrariCaliforniaHardtop$194,000
Ferrari California

The 2011 Ferrari California is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $194,000.

Complete specs: 2011 Ferrari California Hardtop Convertible

(Preview Model)FiskerKarma S ConvertibleHardtopTBD
Fisker Karma S Convertible

The Fisker Karma S Convertible is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people.

Complete specs: Fisker Karma S Convertible Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)InfinitiG37Hardtop$45,750
Infiniti G37

The 2011 Infiniti G37 is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $45,750. Running on Premium, the G37 gets 17 MPG City, 25 Highway MPG, for a combined 20 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Infiniti G37 Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)LexusIS 250 CHardtop$41,560
Lexus IS 250 C

The 2011 Lexus IS 250 C is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $41,560. Running on Premium, the IS 250 C gets 21 MPG City, 30 Highway MPG, for a combined 24 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Lexus IS 250 C Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)LexusIS 350 CHardtop$45,840
Lexus IS 350 C

The 2011 Lexus IS 350 C is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $45,840. Running on Premium, the IS 350 C gets 20 MPG City, 27 Highway MPG, for a combined 22 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Lexus IS 350 C Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)MazdaMX-5 Miata PRHTHardtop$27,150
Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT

The 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $27,150. Running on Premium, the MX-5 Miata PRHT gets 22 MPG City, 28 Highway MPG, for a combined 24 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)Mercedes-BenzSL550 RoadsterHardtop$102,600
Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $102,600.

Complete specs: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)Mercedes-BenzSL63 AMG RoadsterHardtop$139,050
Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG Roadster

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG Roadster is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $139,050.

Complete specs: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG Roadster Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)Mercedes-BenzSL65 AMG RoadsterHardtop$198,750
Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Roadster

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Roadster is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $198,750.

Complete specs: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Roadster Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)Mercedes-BenzSLK300 RoadsterHardtop$47,650
Mercedes-Benz SLK300 Roadster

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK300 Roadster is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $47,650. Running on Premium, the SLK300 Roadster gets 19 MPG City, 26 Highway MPG, for a combined 21 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK300 Roadster Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)Mercedes-BenzSLK350 RoadsterHardtop$53,300
Mercedes-Benz SLK350 Roadster

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 Roadster is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $53,300. Running on Premium, the SLK350 Roadster gets 19 MPG City, 25 Highway MPG, for a combined 21 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 Roadster Hardtop Roadster

2010 (Current Model)Mercedes-BenzSLK55 AMG RoadsterHardtop$66,650
Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG Roadster

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG Roadster is a hardtop roadster, a convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 2 people, with a price starting at $66,650. Running on Premium, the SLK55 AMG Roadster gets 14 MPG City, 22 Highway MPG, for a combined 17 MPG.

Complete specs: 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG Roadster Hardtop Roadster

2011 (Current Model)VolkswagenEosHardtop$33,995
Volkswagen Eos

The 2011 Volkswagen Eos is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $33,995. Running on Premium, the Eos gets 22 MPG City, 30 Highway MPG, for a combined 25 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Volkswagen Eos Hardtop Convertible

2011 (Current Model)VolvoC70Hardtop$39,950
Volvo C70

The 2011 Volvo C70 is a hardtop convertible with 2 passenger doors and seating a maximum of 4 people, with a price starting at $39,950. Running on Regular, the C70 gets 20 MPG City, 28 Highway MPG, for a combined 23 MPG.

Complete specs: 2011 Volvo C70 Hardtop Convertible

Comments are closed.