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Top 6 Bad-Weather Convertibles

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2012 Audi A5

author photo by Jeffrey Archer

Although there are many convertibles available to car shoppers today, most automakers design their ragtops for buyers who live in sunny southern climates. But what about car shoppers in snowy northern states who want all-weather capability during the winter and a convertible in the summer? Believe it or not, there are a few droptops out there that can provide just that-and we've rounded them up for car shoppers interested in one vehicle that can do it all.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

While the handsome A5 Cabriolet counts the highly competent BMW 3 Series and Mercedes E-Class among its rivals, none of its direct competitors offer all-wheel drive. That leaves the A5 in a class by itself for shoppers who want an upscale four-seat convertible with the all-weather security of four drive wheels. Fortunately, the mid-size Audi is a fantastic car, pairing its Quattro all-wheel-drive system to a torquey 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 211 horsepower-all for a base price of under $46,000. Buyers looking for a little extra grunt are likely to be satisfied by Audi's sporty S5, which offers standard all-wheel drive and an impressive new 333-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that was recently adopted from the high-performance S4.

Audi TT Roadster

As with Audi's four-seat A5 Cabriolet, the automaker's smaller TT Roadster dukes it out with several great competitors including the BMW Z4, the Mercedes-Benz SLK and even the Porsche Boxster , but none of its rivals offer all-wheel drive. That means the TT plays alone in the segment of all-wheel-drive two-seaters, making it easy for car shoppers interested in such a car. But while the TT may be the sole choice, it's also a good car, offering a base price of around $42,000 with its 211-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The newly available TTS is also an impressive competitor in the compact roadster segment, boosting the standard model's horsepower to 265 and adding sport suspension for about $52,000 including shipping.

BMW 6 Series

Although BMW doesn't offer all-wheel drive on its compact 1 Series or mid-size 3 Series convertibles, the automaker recently added the option to the luxurious new 6 Series droptop. With an eye-popping base price of more than $90,000 and four-figure lease rates, the large four-seat convertible is priced out of most buyers' budgets. But those who can afford the 650i xDrive will receive an opulent list of standard equipment ranging from a navigation system and push-button start to a power convertible top, rain-sensing wipers and a rear-view camera. The luxurious 650i also includes a brawny 400-horsepower V8 capable of propelling the huge convertible to 60 mph in a lightning-quick 4.9 seconds, a figure that rivals some of today's best sport cars.

Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler may not be a convertible in the traditional sense-after all, it's a bulky SUV mostly known for its off-road prowess-but the unique model certainly deserves a spot on this list. With a base price of just $23,000 with destination, the Wrangler is among the least expensive convertibles on the market. And while it doesn't offer the sublime handling of all-wheel drive droptops from Audi, BMW and Porsche, the Wrangler does include standard four-wheel drive and a host of off-road equipment, making it the most capable convertible included here. Sure, the Wrangler's top is a pain to remove, whether it's the standard folding soft top or the available hard top, but ask nearly any Wrangler owner and they will agree that it's hard to have more fun on a sunny day than cruising around in an open-top Jeep.

Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

While many automotive journalists have attacked the Murano CrossCabriolet's styling and price point, the bizarre new model stands alone in its unique category of crossovers with a folding roof. For buyers interested in such a vehicle, the Murano CrossCabriolet includes many of the features associated with the traditional Murano SUV-minus two rear doors and a considerable amount of luggage space. In its place, buyers get a power convertible top and a long list of high-end features including leather upholstery with heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers and a rear-view camera for around $45,000 with destination. Buyers are also likely to enjoy considerable exclusivity on the roads, considering that Nissan sold less than 200 units of the peculiar SUV in May. That's about the same number of Altima sedans sold every hour its dealers are open.

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Porsche 911 Carrera 4

The latest version of Porsche's iconic 911 recently made its debut, arriving first as a coupe and then as a gorgeous Cabriolet with a folding soft top. Unfortunately, shoppers interested in an all-wheel-drive version of the new 911 are unlikely to be satisfied until later this year, as only two-wheel-drive models are currently in production. But that doesn't mean buyers looking for a four-wheel-drive 911 are completely neglected, as many Carrera 4 and 4S variants of the model's previous generation still remain on dealer lots. And while they use an older design that originally made its debut in 2005, they still feature all of the important Porsche goodies: a high-revving, rear-mounted engine, a long list of luxurious standard equipment and a plethora of power ranging from 345 horses in Carrera 4 guise to 385 ponies in 4S trim.

What it means to you: Just because you live in a climate known for inclement weather doesn't mean you can't enjoy a fun ragtop during the summer.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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Top 6 Bad-Weather Convertibles