Designing sports cars is a pretty difficult task. Just how difficult of a task it is becomes very quickly apparent when you start to look at all the different elements that have to go into it even before a prototype can be made and all the different sciences and technical engineering feats that have to be perfected. A lot of companies do this very, very successfully, developing and creating the most sublime of sports cars, true driving cars that are meant for the track and whatever else you can throw at it. Sometimes, companies like to make convertible—also known as "cabriolet" or "spyder"—versions of their sports cars and supercars. Sometimes, this works in an absolutely phenomenal way, and sometimes, it completely ruins everything about the car.
Of course, we all love the way driving in a convertible feels; there are so much freedom and space. But a lot more goes into making a car a convertible than you might think. It's not just about chopping the roof off or designing a self-folding solid top. No, it does crazy wonky things to the stability, the flexibility, and the rigidity of a car. It may even affect its handling, performance, and drivability. Whether or not a car will do better, the same, or worse with its roof chopped off depends on a lot of variables and upon the engineering team responsible for the task. Let's take a look at 20 of the sickest sports cars that were completely ruined by their convertible versions.
20 Audi R8 Spyder
Let's start things off with one of the coolest-looking convertibles on this list: the Audi R8 Spyder. Pictured above is the newest model, and it sure looks slick. I'm not a huge fan of convertibles' looks, but this one is next level. Of course, you'll be sacrificing a little bit in the way of handling and performance, especially if you want to buy one of the original Spyder versions.
They'll be bulkier and clunkier and won't handle as well as the coupe version.
But for some people, that's not an issue for them because they just want to be seen.
19 Subaru WRX STI Convertible
Most people may have never seen something like this driving on the road. That's because it's made by Newport Specialty Cars based in California, and it's not a purchasable option from the dealership. It's not a model that Subaru makes, which means that everything about this thing is ruined. Completely. Because I doubt that they reinforced much in the way of the chassis or the windshield. So, while it may be a nice cruiser with the top down, (so is virtually every convertible, though) it's not really what a Subaru WRX STI is even about.
18 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster
Don't be fooled by this picture. Yes, the roof is indeed not on this supercar. The Lamborghini Aventador is so streamlined that there's hardly any roof to take off when you factor in the sweeping windshield and the intake vents behind the seats. But there's indeed nothing but sunshine and air above you.
The Aventador is a bit heavier and a lot more expensive than the coupe, but it's definitely not the worst offender on this list, not by a long shot.
If convertibles are really your thing, this is a good option—if you have a lot of money.
17 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder
The Lamborghini Gallardo is one of my favorite supercars made by Lamborghini, which is now owned by Volkswagen. I'm not too keen on the convertible version's looks, though, and it's not the best convertible you can buy either. While Lamborghini did a great job of not compromising too much in the way of performance to give you that spyder freedom you know you crave, it's a little less practical than the coupe, with virtually no storage room paired with the fact that it's heavier than the original. Again, Lamborghini isn't the worst offender on this list, so it's a safe option if you're set on this Italian supercar.
16 Nissan 300ZX Convertible
The Nissan 300ZX is a pretty incredible car. It's one of the legends from the '90s, a car that's truly a classic. And it really is a driver's car through and through. Nissan hit the golden zone with this sports car—there's absolutely no denying that fact. But when it came to the convertible version, we find that this car has been ruined by it.
Apart from the horrible look of it, top up or down, it didn't handle as well, and its weight was greatly increased.
But these things were made to last back in the day.
15 Porsche 944 Cabriolet
This 944 Cabriolet from Porsche is a classic little car, and it looks like a doll, too. I imagine driving this car down a mountain road in the summer would be pretty blissful. And while the 944 had a pretty spectacular engine in it, the technology for convertibles just hadn't quite become very advanced, which means that a lot of things went wonky with building it. And Porsche, actually, for all intents and purposes, lost money on this car because it was so complicated to build. Plus, like every cabriolet, it looks awkward with the top up.
14 Infiniti Q6 Convertible
The Infiniti Q6, in its own right, isn't exactly the best of sports cars, not for the money, not for the quality, and not for the looks either. Its performance is rather lackluster, although according to Motor Trend, one of the highlights of this car is the weight balance—almost 50-50—and its steering.
One of the biggest flaws, aside from its rather heavy weight, is the fact that the roof takes an entire 30 seconds to fold shut, and you have to be fully stopped.
That doesn't sound very appealing in the rain.
13 Ford Mustang Convertible
Although it lacks quite a lot of refinement, the Ford Mustang is a pretty competent sports car in its own right. It's not a driver's performance car, not by any means, but that doesn't mean it isn't a ton of fun to drive with a big thumping US-made V8 under the hood. The Achilles heel of almost every US sports car is the handling because it's almost always bad. With the car pictured above, this problem is only heightened and highlighted because the lack of a roof means the structure is looser and more wobbly, and that compromises handling.
12 Jaguar XK Convertible
I know that it's just my opinion and that that doesn't matter very much, if at all, but I just don't like the way convertibles look. I think they're almost always awkward, and they virtually never have flow or grace.
Often, they look like nothing more than a flat slipper with a windshield.
The styling on this Jaguar is bad, but if we're being objective (and we definitely should be), this convertible version of the XK isn't the best. It's a bit ruined actually. According to Car and Driver, there's excessive wind noise, top up or down, and a rather annoying lack of space.
11 Aston Martin DBS Volante
The DBS Volante is just Aston Martin's way of calling their cars a convertible. The DBS Volante has a newer model than the one pictured above, and all the reviews (Car and Driver, Motor 1) say that it's a pretty spectacular converti... excuse me... volante. But in contrast, it's a rapid improvement from the first-generation DBS, which had some troubles, of which some included not having enough stiffness, carrying extra weight, and possessing compromised handling all because of the mechanics behind making it a convertible. I still think the coupe just looks better anyway.
10 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible
Of course, there's nothing quite like the prestige of owning and driving a Maserati. Even The Eagles were inspired to sing about it. That prestige is only multiplied when you buy a GranTurismo convertible, where everyone who's looking at your car is also looking at you, the person driving it and thinking, "How cool he must be, how rich he must be..." It's even a four-seater, so it's practical.
Alas, the convertible version compromises in some big areas, making some sacrifices.
Car and Driver says that the convertible version adds weight and takes away stiffness in the chassis. These things are important for a car's handling.
9 BMW M6 Convertible
A BMW M6 might just be your idea of a perfect sports car. It's a convertible, it's luxury, it's got an automatic folding roof, and it's got a lot of power. If that's all you want from a car—more of a status symbol than a true driver's car—then this is the one for you. With a convertible based on a sedan, you're not going to be getting anything extra. In fact, beyond having a retractable roof, you'll have to deal with any number of compromises, from boot space to handling to highway noise to no headroom in the back seats.
8 Audi RS4 Cabriolet
The RS4, like virtually every car on this list, is an absolutely incredible little sports sedan with a great engine outputting significant power coupled with typified German luxury. But like the other convertibles on this list, the RS4 is plagued with problems and issues merely because it had to become a convertible.
According to evo.co.uk, this RS4 Cabriolet is "jelly-like" with a lot of wobble coming from a body lacking rigidity.
This translates directly from the road whilst driving, and you'll be able to feel it. Worth it to have hair in your face?
7 Ferrari California T
It may seem a surprise to see a Ferrari on this list, especially if you bear in mind that the company makes some of the world's most advanced cars to date—and some of the coolest, fastest, and prettiest supercars, to boot. But that doesn't mean the company isn't susceptible to an occasional error. The first-generation California T is just one of those mistakes. It's ugly and nontraditional, and everybody hates it for that. I mean, just look at that front grille. It just looks cheap. People hate the haunches, too—way too wide. And all of that's only made worse by the soft-top storage space.
6 Audi TT Roadster
The Audi TT is one of the most loved and hated cars out there. It mostly just makes us motorists scratch our heads. Is it supposed to be a Golf? Or a VW Beetle? Or is it trying to fit in with the big dogs, like the Boxster or the Z series? It's never quite been able to fit in with any of them. But the new model is great, according to Top Gear that says it's "quick, grips well, steers nicely." The 1st and 2nd gen are bad, though. "The 2016 Audi TT exists in a curious automotive twilight zone," says Motor Trend, and we couldn't agree more.
5 Vauxhall Cascada
If there's any reason to never want a convertible, it's this.
The only kind of person who'd probably be driving one of these is well over 80.
If she's female, she has way too much hairspray on, and her pants have to be hot pink. And if he's male, he's sensible, he's practical, he has absolutely no taste in cars, and he has nothing better to do with his retirement fund. Vauxhall is an Australian brand, and in general, they make a lot of pretty respectable cars. But the Vauxhall Cascada "falls behind in too many areas," according to whatcar.com.
4 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster
Okay, so I know the premise of this article features cars that are ruined by their convertible versions... Alas, I couldn't help but put the Crossfire on this list. It doesn't fit the premise not because the convertible isn't a bad car but because this car was never good. It's one of the lousiest examples of a sports car ever created. It's appallingly styled, has absolutely no longevity, is made with the cheapest parts possible, and doesn't even handle well. Not even a little bit. So naturally, the convertible version is going to be even worse with the added bonus of being significantly less practical.
3 Vauxhall Astra Twin Top
The Vauxhall Astra isn't exactly the most powerful sports car on the market. It's a bit asthmatic, more of a slight nod to the sports car industry, if anything.
Yes, it has two doors, and yes, it's fairly nimble. But it's entirely ordinary.
Things are only worse once we take a look at the convertible version cutely named by Vauxhall as the "twin top" model. That sounds like a pretty cool name, but that's the last thing you're worrying about when you get inside of a car to drive it. According to drivetribe.com, the "Astra gained a lot of weight from that foldaway roof." 'Nuff said.
2 Chevy Camaro Convertible
The Chevy Camaro Convertible is subject to the same issues that plague the other US sports car in our list, the Mustang featured earlier. Taking the top off of this beast brings down the already suspect handling to all-new lows with added weight, less rigidity, and weakened stability. Not that there was much in the way of spectacular handling, to begin with, but the convertible doesn't help a lot. If you want a bit of US muscle for nothing more than showing off and driving around town, this is the convertible for you.
1 BMW 128i Convertible
Another BMW sedan finds itself on the list of cars ruined by their convertible versions. It seems that sedans don't take too well to the modifications.
The convertible conversion adds to the price, adds weight, and adds problems and headaches while taking away practicality, drivability, enjoyability, and desirability.
This 128i convertible is much heavier and way too expensive, according to Car and Driver. If you want a BMW convertible, don't waste your time with this one. Instead, turn your eyes towards something a lot more fun like a Z series perhaps. To each his own, but it's hard to argue with simple practicality.
Sources: thestreet.com, topgear.com, evo.co.uk