I love convertible cars. There is something ethical about them, perhaps because the driver of a roofless car is not cocooned from the rest of society, and is therefore less likely to be aggressive towards it.
Convertibles are uplifting, too. When spring finally arrives, you want to take it in as intensely as possible, and an open car generates a sort of supercharging effect in the senses. Nature releases pheromones of some sort, and they are a drug to be craved, to be acquired as a concentrate. A cabrio does this for you. It’s like a persuasive dealer in something illicit.
So this facelifted Z4 then. It now comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-pot that sits on the entry point of Z4 ownership, and one that heeds BMW’s labelling strategy by not being a ‘20i’, but a ‘sDrive18i’. Power sits at 156bhp and 177lb ft of torque, available between 1,250rpm and 4,400rpm. That’s good for a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds with the standard six-speed manual, which is a full second off the next model up, 184bhp sDrive20i. Spec the eight speed sports auto ‘box and the time rises to 8.1 secs, while top speed is 137mph.
Outside, the revisions are minor, but you’ll notice the LED lights have gone all Avatar thanks to their “strikingly three-dimensional design”, while there’s a newly designed tapered surround for the side indicators. There are three new colour options - grey, silver and orange - together with a new equipment pack named ‘Design Pure Traction’. Spec it, and you’ll be privy to an orange and black interior that looks nothing like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, Alcantara on the door trim, and a metal weave strip. There are new 17in and 18in wheel designs in a ‘V’ spoke design, too.
Deets at TopGear.com
Take Audi RS5. Remove metal roof. Replace with rag-top that folds in 15 seconds at up to 31mph. Add 200kg of stiffeningy weight. Drive like stole.
Not to undermine Audi’s technical achievements here, but that seems to be what’s happened to an RS5 coupe here.
The drivechain hasn’t changed - it’s still a 445bhp 4.2-litre V8 with a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box powering all four wheels. It rides, as per the tin top, on adaptive dampers (albeit 20mm lower) that stiffen up when the going gets sporty, and there’s special modes that tighten the steering and throttle response.
The numbers haven’t suffered too much from the decapitation; it’s 0.4 seconds slower to 62mph, clocking in at 4.9 seconds and carrying on to 155mph (raised to 174mph if you cross Ingolstadt’s palm with silver).
This is a one-off built specifically for the upcoming move The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble over here). We first saw this drop-top with Robert Downey Jr - aka Tony Stark - behind the wheel a few months back, but now Acura (Honda’s luxury US arm) has revealed this new pic on its website. No fanfare, no party poppers, no dancing monkeys with hats on: just a small note to say fictional S.H.I.E.L.D. agents get to drive a range of Acura vehicles, including a “convertible sports car”, that looks an awful lot like a new NSX Spider.
This tickles us greatly because the new NSX promises to be a proper TG car. Sans roof? Fine by us. Naturally, there aren’t any details on this, and considering the real thing - the coupe version - is still a few years off production, expect many lips to be fastened.
We’ve seen the concept and if you’ve seen Mission Impossible 4, you’ve seen the coupe. Now, here’s the BMW i8 Spyder:
It’ll be unveiled at this year’s Beijing auto show later this month and is, as you’d imagine, a pretty good sign that Munich’s going to give us a drop-top to join the i8 coupe. For those hard of memory, that’s the 155mph, 100mpg sportster due to land in showrooms come 2014.
BMW has kept the swan doors, which swivel up like the wings of a, umm, swan… They’re retained thanks to the amount of carbon that’s used in the i8’s super-stiff passenger ‘Life’ cell, which is made from carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).
Underneath, there’s an aluminium chassis with a lithium-ion battery buttered along its length, keeping the centre of gravity nice and low and achieving a 50:50 weight distribution. It’s got the same plug-in powertrain as the coupe, too; a petro-electro melange of 129bhp electric motor driving the front wheels and three-cylinder turbo petrol engine sending 220bhp to the rears (that’s 349bhp in all).
All together, it makes 406lb ft of torque, which gets it from 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds and a tethered top speed of 155mph. And it’s claimed it can do 20 miles of FWD on the battery alone.
When Nissan introduced their Murano Crosscabriolet (convertible) last year, reaction was, dare we say, mixed. But perhaps Nissan was onto something — and perhaps that thing was predicting Range Rover’s next move:
The drop-top Rangie follows last September’s equally stunning Land Rover Defender DC100 Sport concept (an open-topped off-roader), stretching the appeal of Top Gear’s Car Of The Year 2011 to new, fresh air highs.
It’s a concept for now, but as with the Defender models at Frankfurt, Land Rover has built it to see what the public think when it hits the Geneva motor show next month. We’re informed that should reaction prove positive - as it has done for the standard Evoque - you could see this thing within a couple of years.
So… if you could, would you?
Now, ideally, to demonstrate this we need James May, but sadly he’s busy today…
This is the new 564bhp Mercedes SL63 AMG, which was probably introduced for the sole purpose of giving Top Gear something to test BMW’s new M6 against. And on paper, it seems worthy competition:
If you opt for a regular SL63, you’ll benefit from 537bhp and 590lb ft of torque, a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. Opt for the AMG Performance Pack, and that power jumps to 564bhp, 664 torques, a 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds and a limited top speed of 186mph. Clearly, this latter figure is a little bit more than the new, 552bhp BMW M6, and thus the one you want.
More info at TopGear.com
So, which would you back in a fight? The new SL63 AMG or the new M6?
Here’s another early reveal from next month’s Geneva Motor Show and this one is a beaut — The Bugatti Veyron Vitesse. The most powerful factory built roadster IN THE WORLD:
So, what sort of numbers does a convertible need to be the fastest in the world? 1184bhp and 1105lb ft. That’s 197bhp and 183lb ft up from the cooking variety Veyron’s 987bhp and 922lb ft. Or roughly one Golf GTI more…
Extra power’s been teased out of the 16-cylinder engine by enlarging the four - FOUR - turbochargers and intercoolers. The chassis’s also been beefed up to support the extra muscle.
No performance stats have been released yet, but if it’s anything like the Veyron Super Sport, it’ll hover around 2.5 seconds to 62mph. That’s 0.2 seconds faster than the current Grand Sport. Pricing’s equally mysterious, but we reckon it’ll be in the region of $3.3M.
You’ve seen the new BMW M6 Coupe… here’s the BMW M6 convertible. All the stats for the coupe apply to the convertible, except that this one is a tick slower. And we really mean just a tick:
As such, BMW quotes a 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds for the Coupe, and 4.3 seconds for the Convertible, 0-124mph in 12.6 seconds (13.1s for the drop-top) and the option of a 189mph top speed with the ‘M Driver’s Package’.
So which is it going to be for you? Coupe? Or Convertible?