Convertibles now come in every flavor, matching every budget. The finalists for Autobytel 2012 Convertible of the Year are a great example of the diversity in this category.
While some convertibles are affordable and have a contemporary appeal, others are the high-performance, luxury driven ragotps of which cinematic dreams are made. Read on to see which convertibles qualified for the Autobytel 2012 Convertible of the Year category.
When narrowing down convertibles offered for the Autobytel 2012 Convertible of the Year, it's hard to overlook the styling, luxury and performance of the 2012 Audi R8 Spyder which is why it was named as the Autobytel 2012 Convertible of the Year. The 2012 R8 Spyder is not only fast thanks to its two powerful engine options (either a 430-horsepower V-8 or a 525-horsepower V-10), but it can also raise or the lower the top in just 19 seconds at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. The R8's cloth top allows the Spyder to deliver a sleek and sporty profile regardless of whether it is up or down. Aside from the 2012 Audi R8 Spyder's blistering performance abilities, unique features such as the thermal-resistant leather really helped the car stand out from other convertibles for 2012.
Fiat's triumphant return to the United States was kicked off with the iconic Fiat 500, and fans of open-air driving will surely love the 500C. Unlike any other convertible offered in the U.S., the 2012 Fiat 500C has a unique cloth top that opens just the center portion of the roof to the elements leaving the door frames and roof side rails intact. This design allows drivers to enjoy the open sky without sacrificing performance or safety, but the best part is that it is almost impossible to distinguish any ride differences between the 500C and its hardtop counterpart. The lightweight 500C is fun to drive, but it still delivers all of the advantages expected from a micro car including great fuel economy and easy maneuverability.
Another top convertible offered for 2012 that made the top three Autobytel 2012 Convertible of the Year is the redesigned 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class. Offered with three distinctly different engines (ranging from a turbo inline-four up to a 415-horsepower V-8), the 2012 SLK can deliver the perfect amount of enjoyment and performance to meet the needs of just about any driver. As the car that helped revive the retractable hard top design, the 2012 SLK-Class tops the topless class once again with an innovative roof. In standard form, the SLK's roof is body colored, or customers can choose a see-through Panorama Roof option, but the true highlight is the unique Magic Sky Control which offers the best of both worlds by electronically swtitching between opaque and transparent.
The editorial staff of Autobytel has chosen the previous three convertibles as the best of what we have seen for 2012, and while there are many others in this class that probably deserve some kudos as well, we'd love to hear which one of the previous three you would choose for yourself.
Autobytel 2012 Compact Car of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Convertible of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Sedan of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Luxury Car of the Year
Autobytel 2012 SUV of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Luxury SUV of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Crossover of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Sports Car of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Alternative Fuel Car of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Pickup Truck of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Van/Minivan of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Wagon of the Year