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Top 10 Best Summer Convertibles for 2013

by Ryan ZumMallen on

As we forge deeper into the month of June, blue skies and cool breezes are calling America to drop the top and hit the open road. There’s simply nothing like a great convertible, especially one that’s fun to drive, so we’ve compiled a list of the ten best topless vehicles – many of them thrilling sports cars – that you can buy on the market today. Check it out, let us know what you like and what we missed, and then close the laptop and fire up the engine. It’s a beautiful day outside.


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Audi A5:  It’s appropriate to start things off with the car that gets the quickest start. The 2013 Audi A5 is the only car on this list that offers all-wheel drive, with the fantastic quattro system that harnesses 211 horsepower from the 2.0L turbo-four engine. The 2013 comes standard with impressive technology, plenty of luxury and decidedly non-German curves that are only accentuated when the top gets dropped. At $43,350, the 2013 A5 Cabriolet is no steal, but it is an impressive package that is sure to turn heads.
   

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BMW Z4: It’s hard to envision sunny topless drives along the Pacific coast without thinking of BMW. The Ultimate Driving Machine is a permanent fixture on best convertible lists year after year, but does the 2013 Z4 live up to its heritage? Well, yes and no. For some, the 240 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft of torque from the 2.0L four-cylinder engine simply aren’t enough, leaving the brawny 300 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft from the 3.0L inline-six. But don't sleep on the little guy. The four-banger returns excellent 23/34 MPG and starts at $47,350 for a better value than the 3.0L. Plus, all models come with a manual (sweet!) or a brisk dual-clutch automatic (also sweet!). They get pricey, but the 2013 BMW Z4 gives you options that don’t disappoint on the road.
   

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Chevrolet Camaro: Fire up the grill and catch a game, because few things are as American as driving a brand new Camaro with the top down. In the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro, one of the most iconic vehicles ever offers style and performance at a relative value that starts at just $30,660. That’ll get you the base 3.6L V6 with 323 horsepower, though you can also opt for the 426-hp V8 in the SS or the whopping 580-hp V8 in the – new for 2013! – ZL1. Performance packages, transmission options and technology add-ons are all available to ensure your rag-top Camaro is unique, and roof-less driving eliminates the Camaro coupe’s visibility problem. It’s a win-win!
   

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Chrysler 200C: The Audi A5 may be unique for offering all-wheel drive, but the 2013 Chrysler 200C is unique on the other end of the spectrum. As the only vehicle on this list that is front-wheel drive, that may seem to take away from its qualifications as a great summer convertible. But that isn’t true. The 2013 200C is available either as a soft-top or hard-top convertible, with a standard six-speed transmission and either Touring, Limited or S trims. With a smooth ride and lovely interior, it’s also a lovely place to be on a bright and beautiful day, especially with a sticker reading just $27,325. The base 2.4L inline-four with 173 horsepower returns 18/29 MPG, or the 3.6L V6 sends 283 hp to the front wheels and combines with direct steering for a drive that may surprise you.
   

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Ford Mustang: When it comes to combining value with visceral, there is simply nothing that can touch the 2013 Ford Mustang. Starting at just $27,200, the Mustang convertible exposes the driver to the outside world and the aural pleasure of 305 horsepower from the 3.7L V6 engine that blasts power to the rear wheels. Undoubtedly the most well-rounded of the big three American muscle cars, dropping the top only intensifies the experience. The base V6 is plenty to play with, but if you don’t mind the extra heft, the glorious 5.0L V8 with 412 horsepower and 390 tire-churning lb.-ft of torque is also available. There isn’t a bad car on this list, but few say summer fun like the 2013 Ford Mustang convertible.
   

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Jaguar F-Type: What better car to drive this summer than the most beautiful one on the market? The whole point of driving a convertible is looking good, and nothing looks better than the 2014 Jaguar F-Type right now. Perhaps that’s why customers have been flocking to put down huge deposits on the lightweight sports car. The 2014 F-Type starts at $69,000 with a 340-horsepower supercharged V6 engine, and loads of advanced technology that help it hug corners like a speed skater. You can also upgrade to the 380-hp V6 for $81,000, or the 495-hp V8 for about $92,000. We’re in rich territory here, but this instant classic sets a new bar for style and performance – two things that are imperative in any perfect summer convertible.
   

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Mazda MX-5 Miata: We admit, we allowed ourselves to become smitten with the Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ last year. In all the hullabaloo, the poor Mazda MX-5 Miata was somewhat forgotten. But today we rectify that wrongdoing, because the 2013 MX-5 Miata drops its top when the FR-S cannot. Available in either an automatic soft-top or retractable hard-top, the 2013 MX-5 Miata is thrills on wheels in any trim or package. Starting at just $23,720, the MX-5 Miata boasts a 167-horsepower 2.0L inline-four engine that combines astounding responsiveness with a lightweight body to keep a smile on your face at all times. It’ll even average 21/28 MPG, perfect for either a cruise up the coast or your local autocross. Summer is usually a time to be casual, but the 2013 Mazda MX-5 is very seriously fun.
   

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Mercedes-Benz SLK: Your gut may be telling you that the SL-Class deserves a spot on this list, but the Mercedes-Benz SLK is actually a much better buy. Here’s why: You can have a fantastic interior and smooth ride, excellent performance and looks that people often mistake for an SL, for about half its astronomical price. The 2013 SLK looks luxurious and has the goods to back it up, with a base 201-horsepower 1.8L engine, or 302-hp 3.5L V6. Either is great for a top-down drive while you’re playing hooky on a beautiful July afternoon, but if you really want to stick it to SL buyers, spring for the 5.5L V8 with 415 horses in the SLK55 AMG. The base SLK will run $42,900, but the mighty SLK55 AMG price of $67,990 is one of the best values on the whole list. Potential SL buyers may want to think less about whom they’re trying to impress, and more about the season tickets they can afford with their savings.
   

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Nissan 370Z Roadster: The essence of Japanese driving excitement lives on in the 2013 Nissan 370Z, and the convertible version only amplifies the experience. With the 370Z Roadster version available starting from $41,470, the 332 horsepower in the 3.7L V6 engine can be best put to use under a cloudless sky. Performance is effortless in the 370Z Roadster, a perfect cruiser for the kinds of trips that epitomize the summer experience: picnics in the park, strolls on the boardwalk or lounging on the beach. Then make sure to hit the twisties on the way home, putting the sport-tuned chassis through its paces like any good drop-top two-seater would ask.
   

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Porsche Boxster: Fitting that our list would end here, because pound for pound, there’s nothing like the 2013 Porsche Boxster on this list. It may not be classically pretty, it may not be the typical Americana cherry pie cruising vehicle, but the 2013 Boxster packs performance and luxury into an offer sheet that looks like a downright steal compared to the Mercedes or Jaguar. Strap in and hold on, because the base 2013 Boxster pairs a 2.7L flat-6 engine with 265 horsepower to a dynamic chassis and classic Porsche manual or PDK transmission. In the Boxster S, things step up a notch to 315 horses and a breathtaking engine note. Starting price runs about $49,500 and you shouldn’t expect much in the way of practicality. But when the sun is out, drop the top and let that baby sing.