It used to be that snowbelters who loved summertime open-air driving were in for a tough winter due to the poor cold-weather protection afforded by a convertible's cloth top. Nowadays, the number of retractable hardtop convertibles available on the market has blossomed to the point where the selection of all-season drop tops is stronger than it has ever been in the history of the automobile. A retractable hardtop might steal more trunk space than a traditional soft top, but it’s hard to argue with the year-round capability that this type of design affords its buyers.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best retractable hardtop convertibles that money can buy.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 01 - 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata has long been prized by performance fans enamored of its lightweight design and track-ready chassis, but when ordered in Club or Grand Touring trim the convertible also offers the option of a power retractable hardtop. This piece of equipment civilizes the Mazda MX-5 Miata's driving experience to a fair degree, even with the sportier looks and stickier tires afforded by the Club edition. Grand Touring models include niceties such as heated leather seats and an upgraded stereo system, and both versions of the retractable hardtop Miatas are matched with a 2.0-liter, 167 horsepower four-cylinder engine that can be shifted via either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 02 - 2013 BMW Z4
The 2013 BMW Z4 is an example of a power retractable hardtop roadster that significantly boosts the luxury quotient when compared against the Mazda. Featuring a cockpit littered with leather, upscale materials, and advanced features such as smartphone connectivity and a suite of its own apps, the BMW Z4 is a retractable hardtop for the enthusiast driver who also wants to be coddled. There are three versions of the Z4 available for purchase: the sDrive28i (2.0-liter, 240 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder), the sDrive35i (3.0-liter, 300 horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder), and the sDrive35is (same engine as the sDrive35i, but with the boost turned up to provide an additional 35 horses). Transmission choices include a six-speed manual, an eight-speed automatic, and a seven-speed automated manual.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 03 - 2013 Volvo C70
The 2013 Volvo C70 straddles the line between the premium segment and the world of affordable convertibles. In many ways, the buttoned-down ride provided by the Volvo C70 lends itself to a near-luxury interpretation - as does its sleek, coupe-like lines - but a modest turbocharged five-cylinder engine providing 227 horsepower from five cylinders doesn't give it quite the amount of grunt necessary to make the leap up to the next rung in the aspirational ladder. Still, the roomy convertible is a great daily driver that doesn't compromise on winter comfort or mid-summer fun.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 04 - 2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible
Although the 2013 Chrysler 200 sedan has at times been maligned as a good, but not great mid-size option, the Chrysler 200 Convertible - which is available with a power retractable hardtop when ordered in Limited trim - has been much better received by critics. The Chrysler 200 Convertible is affordably priced compared to many of the other vehicles discussed on this list, and it also provides a generous rear seat that can actually be enjoyed by full-sized adults. The 200 Convertible's Limited trim doesn't just make the hardtop available but it also comes standard with the vehicle's more powerful 3.6-liter V-6, which generates a healthy 283 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 05 - 2013 Volkswagen Eos
The 2013 Volkswagen Eos is something of an outlier in the VW lineup. A little bit larger than a Volkswagen Golf yet not exactly a mid-size car (as its semi-vestigial rear seating can attest to), the Volkswagen Eos appeals primarily to those seeking a stylish convertible that can also pull winter duty thanks to its standard retractable hardtop. Large enough to be comfortable as a highway cruiser, the VW Eos makes use of Volkswagen's tried, tested, and true 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is turbocharged to produce 200 horsepower. Additional performance is on hand in the Eos thanks to its six-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox, as is another nifty feature: its hardtop actually comes with a sunroof for days when you only want to let a little sunshine in.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 06 - 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class offers a retractable hardtop across its entire range of trim levels, but we're going to focus on one of the scariest convertibles that money can buy: the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG. What makes this two-seat luxury roadster such a frightening beast to behold? Popping the hood reveals the answer, as the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG is motivated by a twin-turbo V-12 that displaces 6.0-liters and produces an alarming 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic helps to put this prodigious power to the ground, and the traction-limited Mercedes-Benz leaps to 60-mph in less than four-seconds when the go-pedal is mashed to the floor.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 07 - 2013 Infiniti G IPL Convertible
Infiniti has elected to underscore the performance offered by its premium automobiles by creating the Infiniti Performance Line, or IPL. The 2013 Infiniti G IPL Convertible represents the most potent version of the retractable hardtop, four-seat automobile, squeezing out 343 ponies and 273 lb-ft of torque from its 3.7-liter V-6. A seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission (with automatic rev-matching on downshifts) is the only gearbox available with the IPL model, which also gains a sporty body kit, a suspension system that is much stiffer than that of the standard G Convertible, and an exhaust system that sings out an aggressive note at full throttle.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 08 - 2013 Ferrari 458 Spider
The 2013 Ferrari 458 Spider illustrates how the Italian exotic automaker is increasingly marrying luxury with performance, even in its more accessible models. The Ferrari 458 Spider is a pure performance weapon, making use of a 4.5-liter V-8 engine that is good for 562 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission helps the convertible reach 60-mph in a stunning 3.4 seconds, and the car's phenomenal chassis tuning makes it a capable handler at any speed. The fact that the engine is located at the rear of the car - where the retractable hardtop also rests when it's not shielding riders from the sun (because let's face it, this car is never going out in the rain) - is an impressive achievement from Ferrari's designers.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 09 - 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG adds punch to the already formidable Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class platform. The roadster with the retractable hardtop gains a significant power boost when found in SLK55 AMG trim thanks to the brand's in-house tuning experts, who have shoe-horned a 415 horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8 into the compact car's engine bay. Also rated to produce 398 lb-ft of torque, the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG smokes its tires on its way to a 4.5 second 0-60-mph sprint, and a seven-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting duties for the luxurious convertible.
Best Retractable Hardtop Convertibles - 10 - 2013 BMW M3 Convertible
The 2013 BMW M3 Convertible doesn't have the same hardcore performance reputation as the M3 Coupe - or even the M3 Sedan - but it would be hard to convince owners of this retractable hardtop sports car that they aren't driving one of the most exhilarating open-air cars available. The BMW M3 Convertible has been given the same motorsports work-over from the brand's M Division afforded to the two-door and four-door closed-roof models, which means its handling is much tighter than the standard 3 Series convertible on which it is based. It also comes with a 4.0-liter, high-strung V-8 that provides 414 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, managed by either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual.