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Premium Cabrios

7 min read

Convertibles don’t come easily these days in Singapore. But if you’re one of the few who want and can afford high-end, performance open-tops, you certainly won’t want to miss these.

AUDI R8 V10 SPYDER

The famed Audi R8 is already one heck of a car, performance-wise. But when you throw in a rear-wheel drive, mid-mounted R8 V10 performance quattro engine, and rip the top off to turn it into a Spyder, you have something truly special.

Okay, let’s lay the cards out right away about what this car can do: 570hp of power, standstill to 100km/h in 3.8s, top speed of 327km/h, 550Nm of torque. And all this while sipping — well, I exaggerate a little — just 13.0 litres/100km.

The beauty of this Spyder R8 is that it distributes that awesome amount of torque beautifully through its mechanical limited slip differential, and seven-gear S tronic transmission. Part of its ability to throw up these numbers is because the body is built of aluminium using Audi Space Frame (ASF) design, with a large percentage constructed of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), helping it tip the scales at 1,695kg.

The thrill of driving a sports car is not lost with the rear-wheel drive dynamics. When you slip the R8 Spyder into Sport Mode, the suspension setup actually allows controlled drifting while the electromechanical power steering provides close contact with the ground. For the first time, Dynamic Steering is offered as an option in a rear-wheel drive car for that added precision and feedback. On a more practical point, this also allows for easier parking and manoeuvring around town. The 245/30 R20 front and 305/30 R20 back wheels provide extra grip and dynamics, not to mention the visible heft that adds to the car’s audacious posture.

On the outside, the Audi R8 V10 Spyder has an unabashed sporty countenance, with its broad, flat Singleframe radiator grille in matte black flanked by large air intakes, front splitter, and rear air outlet. And the pickiest owners would surely find a colour of their choice among the 10 available options.

Inside, designers have worked hard to provide that race car feel, most notably with the ‘Monoposto’, a heavily contoured arch in front of the driver’s seat. Here sits the Audi virtual cockpit with its 12.3-inch screen. The R8 bucket or sports seats are upholstered in leather and Alcantara, and the R8 leather steering wheel offers two — or in the performance version, four — control satellites so that you never have to take your hand away to customise your experience.

The Audi R8 V10 performance RWD Spyder is built in the Bollinger Hofe plant, which also produces the LMS GT4 race car.

PRICE  ONLY AVAILABLE ON APPLICATION

ENGINE. 5.2-LITRE R8 V10

TRANSMISSION. 7-SPEED S TRONIC

POWER. 570HP

TORQUE. 550NM

0–100KM/H  3.8S

DISTRIBUTOR. AUDI SINGAPORE (Tel: 6836 2223)

BMW M4 COMPETITION CONVERTIBLE

The BMW M4 Competition Convertible is arguably one of the most exclusive models in the new generation of M cars in the premium midsize sector — not surprising, given what you get for your healthy buck.

One key thing to note is the innovative new panel bow roof, which provides all the practicality of a hardtop with the classically elegant lines of a fabric hood. It’s also 40% lighter than the predecessor’s retractable top. At a touch of a button, the electric drive mechanism lowers the hood in just 18s. Boot space can hold 300 litres of luggage with the top down, expanding to 385 litres with it up.

The lines of the M4 Competition Convertible are undeniably powerful and sporty, with a touch of luxurious sophistication. Lines converge at the front end and culminate at the large, BMW kidney grille. Flared wheel arches and M Side Gills integrate neatly into the front section, and combine with attachment parts to form a unique black band around the whole car. A black, rear diffuser frames the two exhaust tailpipes for that familiar M flare. Customisation is, of course, available, with the M Carbon exterior package as an option, together with retrofit selections from the BMW M Performance Parts range.

Under the hood, the three-litre, inline six-cylinder all-new BMW M4 Competition Convertible with M xDrive engine is the latest to offer M TwinPower turbo technology. The eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic combined with the M xDrive all-wheel drive enhanced traction offers the perfect combination of acceleration and control.

The complexity of transferring power between the front and rear wheels is made effortlessly by the electronically controlled multi-plate clutch of the M xDrive system. Drivers can also change the default 4WD setting to 4WD Sport, which provides a larger proportion of the engine’s drive to the rear wheels. And from a more fuel-efficient perspective, the car can also be switched to 2WD mode (rear wheels only).

Criticism of convertibles often surrounds the stiffness of the cars — this doesn’t apply with the BMW M4 Competition Convertible. Stability and torsion control are enhanced by bracing elements focused on improving driving dynamics and an aluminium sheer panel in the front-end, underfloor bracing elements, and a rear axle subframe with a rigid connection to the body.

Inside, the centre console provides an M-specific control/operation system to configure the driver’s preferred setup. Options for the engine, chassis, steering, braking system, and M xDrive can be controlled here. Road, Sport and Track settings are available at a flick of a switch. And the M Drive Professional option can be triggered if you ever feel the need to take the BMW M4 Competition Convertible on the tracks — yes, even with the top down!

PRICE. $575,888 WITH COE (ON INDENT BASIS)

ENGINE. 2,993CC IN-LINE, 6-CYLINDER PETROL, M TWINPOWER TURBO M XDRIVE

TRANSMISSION. 7-SPEED M STEPTRONIC

POWER  510 @ 6,250RPM

TORQUE. 650NM @ 2,750–5,500RPM

0–100KM/H. 3.7S

DISTRIBUTOR. PERFORMANCE MOTORS LIMITED (Tel: 1800 2255 269)

LEXUS LC 500 CONVERTIBLE

Nothing Lexus does is ever half-hearted, so when their designers put pen to paper in crafting their latest LC Convertible, you can expect it is something special.

They didn’t disappoint with the cabriolet that launched last year — it’s still one of the most arresting open-tops on the road here. In fact, the interior design of the car is the culmination of two years’ work and 50 prototypes made, resulting in an ideal driving posture for maximum support and pleasure.

With the top up or down, the lines of the Lexus LC 500 Convertible are similarly integrated with the sleek silhouette of the car. The soft top can be lowered in just 15s, and at up to 50km/h. With the multi-layered roof up, cabin noise and vibration is at a minimum, and enhanced by Active Noise Control combined with sound insulation and absorption techniques to keep “unpleasant sound frequencies” at bay. From a more technical perspective, aerodynamics has been improved, with the beltline and rear moulding combined with the polycarbonate wind deflector to suppress noise from wind flow around the car. Yet, Lexus also understands that some drivers like the roar from a powerful engine, and installed a sound generator that transmits engine intake sounds through the dash panel.

The naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 engine is capable of producing 470bhp and a torque of 540Nm. The DirectShift 10-speed transmission further provides a linear and lively acceleration to guide the Convertible through its paces, and a maximum track speed of 270km/h.

With the luxurious interiors that Lexus is known for, the LC 500 Convertible also comes with a 13-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System that is supported by an 11-channel amplifier. Speakers integrated into the rear seat headrests make sure that all passengers have the benefit of top grade stereophonic sound when taking the car through its paces with the top down.Android Auto and Apple CarPlay allow seamless connectivity with your smartphone, and the car is also equipped with Lexus’ comprehensive suite of features from its safety system, including Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Intelligent High Beams. And this being a convertible, added safety is provided by Innovative Active Roll Bars that, while hidden from view, automatically deploys upward when a collision or rollover is detected to disperse the load across the vehicle body.

PRICE. $520,800 WITHOUT COE

ENGINE. 4,969CC V8

TRANSMISSION. DIRECTSHIFT 10-SPEED AUTOMATIC

POWER. 470BHP @ 7,100RPM

TORQUE. 540NM @ 4,800RPM

0–100KM/H. 4.7S

DISTRIBUTOR. LEXUS SINGAPORE (Tel: 6631 1388)