Who would ever want a convertible? At best, they make up 2 percent of auto sales. Yet, like mythical mermaids — or, better yet, mermen — luring wayward sailors, ragtops have a come-hither quality that beckons this time of year. After driving two of the most bewitching convertibles ever, it’s easy to see how either of these magical rides could end up in your driveway. But beware — they come at a price.
JAGUAR F-TYPE S
Mpg: 20 city/28 highway
0-to-60 mph: 5.1 seconds
Svelte seats. Shapely side panels. And a smug, sexy snout. No, this isn’t the classic Jaguar E-Type from the 1960s and 1970s. It’s the hot new F-Type — temptation on steroids and the answer to any midlife crisis. The exhaust rumble is so crazy loud it stokes fear and envy in everyone within earshot. And that could be eight counties away.
Jag let’s you manually lower the exhaust sound, but why do it? You don’t see Harley riders tamping down their engines. That would defeat the look-at-me thrill, which the F-Type has in spades, especially with the high-gloss “Italian racing red” exterior.
Inside, this two-seater is oh so snug, helping you lean into curves and shimmies along the road. The performance seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel are almost racecar spec. And heck, there’s even a grab handle on the center stack.
Though there are plenty of tech accessories, including blind-spot monitor, rearview camera and 10-speaker Meridian stereo. But there’s really no trunk space for hauling stuff. But hey, this is a convertible. That’s what you buy when you want to get your groove back—not a minivan.
BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT SPEED CONVERTIBLE
Mpg: 12 city/20 highway
0-to-60 mph: 4.1 seconds
For anyone with a fab fetish, this Bentley scratches the itch. One minute you’re Lady Mary, cruising around “Downton Abbey” in a top-drawer land yacht with a “Flying B” hood ornament, wood-trimmed steering wheel and 14-way massage seats with, yes, even a neck heater. Then—blam!—step on the gas, and you’re mega-millionaire Oliver Queen (aka the vigilante “Arrow”) ricocheting down the highway faster than a Porsche Carrera ragtop.
Even though the Bentley is 40 percent heavier than the Porsche, it feels like it’s floating on air thanks to auto-leveling suspension and all-wheel drive for superb grip. Top speed with this saucy 610-hp engine — a twin-turbo, 12-cylinder — is 202 mph. As with the Jaguar F-Type, an aerodynamic rear spoiler rises at high speeds.
Unlike the Jag, a four-layer insulated roof means no wind noise (but awesome concert-hall acoustics for the high-end Naim stereo). Bonus option: a small, removable storage case — made of veneer to match the interior décor, of course — that holds keys, pens and such, and can be slipped easily into a pocket or purse. This is a refined roadster, mixing old-world, handcrafted quality — including a hoity-toity Breitling clock in the dash — with modern features like Bluetooth, large LCD screen and a bit of rapster cred in the dark alloy wheels and elliptical exhaust pipes. The only thing missing is a trust fund to pay for it all.