Diesel convertibles have been around in Europe for quite a while but across the pond in the US they are still unheard of. The reason is all to do with fuel prices. Fuel tax is far higher across Europe and every MPG can make a sizeable difference. Cost savings don’t have to mean an end to fun however and with modern diesel engines getting cleaner and quieter they are becoming more attractive to convertible drivers.
With fuel prices ever on the increase Volkswagen have decided that it might be time to introduce the diesel convertible to American drivers. The new Beetle Cabriolet will come with the option of a 2 litre turbo diesel powerplant.
In Europe the diesel convertible is particularly popular with company car drivers who need to balance high mileage practicalities with driver enjoyment. Whether American drivers are willing to sacrifice engine note for fuel economy in their convertibles however, is yet to be seen.
The Abarth version of Fiat’s 500C has always been a blast to drive but purists missed out as the only gearbox option was the paddle-shift automatic. Until now that is. The five speed manual version has everything that made the Fiat 500C Abarth great but with a good old fashioned stick-shift.
At £16,856 (GBP) on the road the ‘Competizione’ box equipped convertible comes in a full £1000 less than the auto and boasts slightly better performance figures. the 0-62 mph time dips under 8 seconds at 7.9 while the little convertible tops out at the same 128 mph. Fuel economy seems unaffected.
As with the paddle-shift Abarth the new car has a 135bhp 1.4 16v Turbo T-Jet engine and Dualdrive electrically assisted power steering with ‘Sport Mode’ while stopping is courtesy of front (ventilated) and rear disc brakes.
The much rumoured Golf Cabrio was first seen a few weeks back at the Geneva Motor Show as a fabric topped alternative to the Eos hardtop convertible. It is now reaching showrooms and order books are open for the new car.
The new Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet comes in at around 10% less than equivalent Eos so these cars will have to compete with each other in the range. It seems a strange thing to do but considering VW already had much of the car already developed in the form of the Audi A3 Cabriolet then it actually allows the brand to further develop their range at a low cost.
So why buy a convertible Golf over an Eos? It’s 20cm shorter, a touch cheaper and has the benefits of a fabric roof over a hardtop – lighter weight and less space is required to store it while folded. The differences are relatively small but the ability to choose is always a welcome one.
A few lucky british drivers will be treated to a limited edition version of the Lexus IS 250C the brand’s mid size premium convertible. All 50 cars will have a distinctive black and red semi-aniline leather interior and individually numbered badges inside the glovebox.
Based on the regular SE-L model, the Limited Edition also comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable ventilated and heated front seats, cruise control, electric one-touch easy access to the rear seats, climate control that automatically adjusts temperature settings when the roof is down and cruise control.
The Lexus IS 250C Limited Edition is available in the UK for £39,990 on the road.
Masterpiece is London’s fair of the world’s finest luxuries and antiques. In its second year it is an eye-popping affair however this year brings something special of the four-wheeled variety.
Rolls-Royce have unveiled a one-off Phantom Drophead Coupé for the event to express their idea of ultimate motoring luxury. The convertible Rolls-Royce features a one-off Asprey jewellery box in the glove compartment to store your valuable trinkets along with bespoke design details such as teak decking, engraved tread plates and a Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot inscripted to celebrate the brand’s centenary year.
The Rolls-Royce Masterpiece London 2011 Drophead Coupé is the first car to be presented in Mazarine Blue, a new finish that joins a palette of 44,000 other colours already available to for Phantom models.
A bespoke hand-crafted luggage set in deep navy blue fits snuggly into the ‘picnic boot’ finishes off this unique drop-top.
“We are delighted to present this outstanding Rolls-Royce at Masterpiece London 2011,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Craftsmanship and attention to detail shine through in features developed at Goodwood and in partnership with Asprey. It’s a model that demonstrates the breadth of our bespoke offering, where the only limit to what we can deliver is a client’s imagination.”
More information on Masterpiece 2011 London here.
The 1921 convertible was the very first Bentley to leave the production line in 1921 after two development cars EXP (for experiment) 1 and 2.
Despite being raced many times during its life the Bentley 3-Litre is in immaculate condition and remains highly original; keeping the same aluminum coachwork, brass brightwork, engine and gearbox that it was built with.
Of the experimental cars only EXP 2 survives in the Bentley Motors Collection as the oldest surviving Bentley although this car has had many parts replaced over the years. It even has a fully disappearing soft top as specified by the first owner.
A valuable collectors item, the Bentley will be auctioned at Pebble Beach by Gooding & Company over the weekend of August 20-21.