Drop-tops have always been dream cars for many car enthusiasts. Whether young or old, precious few people can honestly say they’ve never fantasized about driving one towards the sunset with wind messing their unusually perfect hair. Their practicality, or rather lack of, as a daily driver is what usually deters people from actually buying a cabrio. That’s one of the main reasons why their numbers have dwindled in recent years. There are still a few 2021 convertibles to choose from, however, and we’ll take a look at them further below.
Most modern-day open-tops are 2-door, 2-seat sports cars or exorbitantly expensive supercars, but the truth is, there were all kinds of convertibles over the decades. A 4-door convertible wasn’t as uncommon a few decades ago as it is right now, and neither were convertible SUVs which are apparently becoming a thing one again.
Whether they’re 2-seat, 2+2-seat, or 4-seat convertibles, here are some of the best drop-tops available at the moment. Note that we’ve excluded fully-fledged supercars from the list in order to provide for a fair competition.
07. 2021 BMW M8
The new flagship of the BMW range replaces the outgoing 6 Series lineup of coupes and convertibles. This isn’t the first time the Bavarian automaker is using the 8 Series moniker, but it’s been a while since their last eights ran the roads. Introduced as 2019-year models (20 years after the original), the 8 Series has expanded rapidly. Their next expansion is coming via the iconic M performance edition.
Making its debut in late 2019 as a 2020-year model, the BMW M8 reveals all of its cards straight from the get-go. Aside from convertible, prospective buyers will get an option to select both the 2-door coupe and a 4-door gran coupe. What’s more, the M8 is already available in both the regular and hardcore Competition forms. Aside from providing a slightly higher power output, the latter also boasts a stiffer suspension, sport exhaust, unique details including wheels, and a special “Track” drive mode.
The 2021 BMW M8 isn’t expected to bring any significant changes since the Bavarians have already completed the 8 Series lineup. Of course, this was a necessity considering they’ve also discontinued the 6 Series. The BMW M8 convertible starts from $142,500 (almost $10,000 more than the coupe), while the M8 Competition drop-top requires at least $155,500 before destination charges and taxes.
Regardless of a chosen model, all M8’s are powered by the same 4.4L twin-turbo V8 backed by an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox. Regular M8 convertibles produce as much as 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of twist, while the Competition package adds another 17 ponies. All-wheel drive is standard across the range but the M8 still features a rear-wheel drive mode which is perfect for an occasional drift. If you’ve got the balls for it. And money, of course.
Even the regular M8 convertible is more than capable of sprinting to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.2 seconds, but the Competition models will slash one additional tenth of a second off that time. Needless to say, the 2021 BMW M8 convertible also boasts plenty of stopping power thanks to its large brakes with adjustable brake pedal feel.
06. 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Most car enthusiasts will agree that there can be no “best convertibles” discussion at all without an affordable Japanese compact 2-seater, and at the moment, the best of them is arguably the Miata. Although the fourth-gen Miata is nearing its end, recent facelift and powertrain upgrade have successfully prolonged its life and put it into contention for the best convertible 2021 will have to offer.
As always, the MX-5 isn’t only one of the most exciting lightweight 2-seaters to drive, but also one of the sharpest-looking ones. Mazda’s design team has always been atop of its class and they’ve only gotten better as years progressed. Again, most car aficionados will agree that Mazda’s design has been one of the most authentic and inspiring ones in recent years.
Available in both the conventional roadster convertible and hard-top RF forms, the Miata starts from just under $26,000 if ordered with a manual gearbox, and tops out at around $32,000 with an automatic. The RF version, on the other hand, costs between $32,500 and $34,500, and skips the entry-level trim altogether.
Miata’s heartbeat comes from a 2.0L Skyactiv 4-cylinder rated at 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. As already mentioned, it can be paired both with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed auto, but they both divert convertible’s power to the rear regardless of other choices.
Weighing as little as 2,332 pounds (roadster with a manual), the MX-5 Miata represents one of the best-handling convertibles money can buy nowadays, and if nothing unforeseeable happens, it’ll likely remain the king of affordable handlers for quite a while.
05. 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster
Although the all-new Porsche 911 has made its debut recently, the current-gen Porsche 718 will likely soldier on until 2022 or 2023 at the latest. Regardless, the Porsche 718 Boxster is still one of the best convertibles 2021 has to offer, and recent improvements have made it even more appealing to a wider range of buyers. Yes, I’m talking about the reappearance of the naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine and the introduction of the new Touring package.
The 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster and subsequent models could be offered in all-new trims and packages due to being based on somewhat aging underpinnings dating back to 2012, but more significant changes are out of the question as Porsche has other things to worry about. Moreover, the Boxster/Cayman duo are low-volume models selling a little over 2,000 and 3,000 units in the U.S. on a yearly basis respectively.
The entry-level Porsche Boxster convertible starts from $59,000 which makes it arguably one of the best bargains in a luxury sports car segment considering its impeccable driving dynamics and other qualities that go with it. The Boxster S, on the other hand, requires north of $71,000, while the GTS models start from under $83,000. Finally, the recently introduced Porsche 718 Spyder (counterpart to the Cayman GT4) costs a whopping $96,000 and conflicts the 911’s entry-level prices.
There are currently three different engines in four states of tunes which should satisfy even the most hardcore track fanatics. The base Boxster convertible starts with a 300-horsepower 2.0L turbo-four engine, while the Boxster S and GTS use a 2.5L turbocharged boxer flat-four engine worthy of 350 and 365 horsepower respectively. The latest addition to the lineup produces 414 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque which is enough to propel the 3,200-pounder to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
The engine behind the most powerful of entry-level Porsche sports cars is a 4.0L naturally aspirated flat-six paired exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission. The remainder of the range gets a choice between a manual and a PDK 7-speed automatic.
04. 2021 Audi A5
The A5 is Audi’s mid-range convertible that slots way below the exorbitantly priced R8 in terms of both the performance and price, but offers much more space than the similarly priced TT roadster. The 2021 Audi A5 will go through a mid-cycle facelift as test mules have already been caught testing a while ago.
The entire A5, S5, and RS 5 lineup will receive treatment similar to that in the A4 and S4 sedans which were already refreshed for MY 2020. This means a new frontal fascia with different headlights, bumper, and grille, a slightly revised rear end, and a subtly revised interior with the next-gen MMI infotainment system and a tablet-like 10.1-inch touchscreen display.
Prices will most likely remain in place as the entry-level Audi A5 convertible currently starts from $51,000. Audi also offers the mid-range performance S5 tune in drop-top form and this pleasure will set you back $63,500. However, the performance-topping RS 5 is only available as a 4-door sportback and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
In line with the A4/S4 facelift, the new A5 and S5 will also receive a mild-hybrid assist. This was already incorporated in overseas markets where the compact executive sedan’s range features a total of six available engine choices – three of which are offered with electric assist.
The 2021 Audi A5 convertible should retain its 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder with 248 horsepower as a base engine, while the S5 convertible should carry over with a significantly more powerful 349-horsepower 3.0L twin-turbo V6. In between, the Germans are expected to offer a 2.0L engine with more grunt thanks to a 48-volt electric assist. Regardless of a chosen engine, all A5 and S5 convertibles will be paired with automatics: A5’s with a 7-speed, and S5’s with an 8-speed.
03. 2021 Mercedes-Benz SL
Overshadowed only by the S Class convertible and the AMG GT roadster, the SL roadster represents one of the most expensive ways of owning a Merc. One of the most iconic Mercedes-Benz nameplates is getting ready for a major redesign for MY 2021. This doesn’t come as a surprise considering how the current-gen models date back to 2012.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz SL Class will be a lot sportier than the outgoing models as it’s being co-developed with the new AMG GT. In fact, the SL itself will be developed entirely by the Benz’s performance division. The new model will be based on the Modular Sports Architecture with emphasis on weight savings. This is expected to be achieved by a more widespread use of aluminum. A few pounds will also be saved by switching back to a cloth top instead of folding hard-top of the past two generations.
Price-wise, the next-gen SL isn’t expected to change much. It should remain available for around $100,000 in its base form but opting for an AMG engine will raise the price tag to north of $150,000.
Speaking of engines, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz SL will share the 4.0L twin-turbo V8 with hybrid assist together with the new AMG GT. This powertrain should be good enough for more than 577 horsepower (likely north of 600 hp) currently available in the AMG SL 63 (albeit via much larger 5.5L twin-turbo V8). The entry-level models, however, will use a 3.0L turbocharged inline-six which makes 365 ponies and also comes with a hybrid assist. In between, the AMG is expected to drop its own take on the inline-six which should yield around 430 ponies.
The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL is still far-off but plenty of details have already been disclosed for us to know it’ll be one of the best 2021 convertibles once it finally arrives to the market.
02. 2021 Jaguar F Type
Basically unchanged since 2013, the F Type is finally in for a major makeover in 2021. The second-generation of Jaguar’s sports car has already been caught testing and it appears we’ll be seeing more of the same – at least in terms of overall shape. But looks can be deceiving.
The new F Type convertible will boast a number of differences compared to the outgoing models, apparently. Completely revised front and rear fascias are just a beginning, and an overhauled interior only complements them. The new model is also expected to be lighter and thus more agile than the current one, but don’t expect miracles in that department.
Scheduled to arrive sometime in 2020 as a 2021-year model, the new Jaguar F Type convertible is expected to retain its current price range. This means $65,000 or thereabouts for the base, $127,000 for the SVR models, and anything in between for the remainder of the F Type open-top range.
The 2021 Jaguar F Type’s powertrain lineup is in for a major revision as well. A 296-horsepower 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is expected to carry over as a base choice, but the next step on the ladder will be replaced. In place of the outgoing 3.0L supercharged V6 mill comes a corresponding in terms of displacement turbocharged inline-six with a mild-hybrid assist. This unit is capable of putting up 355 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque in its lower, or 395 ponies and 406 lb-ft in its higher tune.
As before, the 550 or 575-horsepower 5.0L supercharged V8 remains reserved for the range-topping R and SVR models. As of 2021, however, all F Types will be tied to the 8-speed automatics as a 6-speed manual has been phased out. All-wheel drive will be available with all but the base engine which remains in a rear-wheel drive configuration.
01. 2021 Porsche 911
The perennial 2-door luxury sports car has only recently ushered in a new era. The all-new 992 Series units made their debut in late 2018 as 2019-year models and by the time 2021 is upon us, the 911’s lineup will have been completed.
As it’s been the case since the early 1960s, the 911’s design hasn’t exactly changed much. A few touches around the back with tail-light bridge being the most obvious one, and a few minor changes to the front fascia, and there you have it. However, the 992-generation does get almost 2 inches in width compared to the 991 models, and much more aluminum in its structure. They also get up to date tech and connectivity features, but most of them are still only optional.
The base Porsche 911 Carrera convertibles start from $111,550 which is quite a price hike compared to the 991-generation. In order to get the slightly more powerful Carrera S and 4S cabrio, you’ll need $15,800 and $23,100 more respectively, while the GTS and Turbo models will require around $140,000 and $180,000 respectively. The Porsche 911 Turbo S convertible will cost north of $200,000. New for MY 2021 is the track-focused GT3 model which won’t be available with a drop-top.
The powertrain behind the base Carrera 911’s is a 3.0L twin-turbo flat-six which generates 379 ponies in the base, or 443 horses in the Carrera S and 4S models. The same engine motivates the GTS units, but produces 450 horsepower instead. The Porsche 911 Turbo is likely going to carry over with an evolution of its current 3.8L twin-turbo boxer six engine which makes 540 hp and 580 hp in Turbo and Turbo S forms respectively. Expect the new 992-generation Turbo models to make even more than that.
Every single 992-generation Porsche 911 uses an 8-speed PDK automatic transmission, while both the rear and all-wheel drive configurations are available depending on a model of your choice.