New convertible cars 2017: "Cabriolets are lighthouse projects of the brand"

The number of convertibles on German roads has been increasing for years, albeit only slightly.But for the manufacturers they are interesting for another reason.

Cabrios offer emotions that no closed vehicle can offer: drivers and passengers feel the sun on the skin and the wind in the hair. Around 2.1 million convertibles are on German roads. Their number has been increasing for years, albeit only slightly. According to the German Federal Motor Vehicle Authority (KBA), in 2012 there were only 1.9 million open vehicles.

"With a convertible you can transport a certain feeling of life like openness and fun, which positively pays off a brand," says Prof. Stefan Bratzel, Director of the Center of Automotive Management at the Fachhochschule Wirtschaft (FHDW) in Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne.

Attractants for customers

In recent years Mercedes has been able to transform his image from a rather conservative to a more dynamic manufacturer. "This has made brand and vehicle owners rejuvenate," says Bratzel. Cabrio drivers are usually connoisseurs and cautious drivers because they do not enclose a solid and protective cover.
Compared to closed cars, the number of units is small. "Paolo Tumminelli, design professor at the TH-Cologne, says:" With chic convertibles you can lure customers to the car dealership, many car drivers combine emotions and romance, even if most buyers later buy a different model. Convertibles increase the image of an automark, but of course they cost money in the development of money. "

Mercedes E-Class Convertible: convertibles increase the image of an automobile car.
(Photo: Daimler)

No trend towards more models

Daimler has seven Mercedes-Benz convertibles with Mercedes, Smart and AMG this year. As much as no other manufacturer. "Convertibles are lighthouse projects of the brand, they bring a lot of driving and worry," says Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. Emotionality is becoming increasingly important and relevant to the brand, the drive seems to play less and less a role for customers.
Bratzel does not see a trend towards much more convertible models in the coming years. According to Zetsche, Mercedes will not bring more open models to the market. This is partly due to social trends: "In uncertain times, car owners prefer to go back to closed, conconical vehicles that shield them from the outside world and offer more security than an open convertible," says Bratzel.
It does not matter whether the folding roof is made of steel or fabric. In addition, open cars of entertainment electronics as well as the large digital screens are causing problems - when the sun is shining, the monitors can not be seen or reflect the rays.

The most important new convertibles at a glance:

- Audi A5 Convertible: Audis mid-range coupé now also available without roof. Since March, the revised A5 convertible offers four passengers space and engines between 140 kW / 190 hp and 260 kW / 354 hp, including two diesel engines. The thickly insulated convertible top opens in 15 seconds, the luggage compartment holds between 320 and 380 liters. Price: at least 44,000 euros. Particularly strong: the S5 convertible with a three-liter six-cylinder and 260 kW / 354 hp for 67,800 euros.
- BMW four-seater convertible: The BMW foursome gets a facelift. Compared to its predecessor, the front apron, headlights and rear bumper are changing. Bi-LED lamps now illuminate as standard, while the navigation system Professional receives a revised user interface. The chassis and steering should have become tighter in the sporty designed 4er. Six engines between 135 kW / 184 hp and 240 kW / 326 hp are available, including three diesel engines. Price: from 46.800 euros.
- Mazda MX-5 RF: The MX-5 is the best-selling roadster ever. Since 1989 more than a million fresh air fans have seized the light two-seater. The new model MX-5 RF has an electrically retractable and fixed folding roof. It opens and closes in 13 seconds. The revolving 2.0-liter petrol engine with 118 kW / 160 hp has a light weight of 1120 kg. Price: from 29.890 Euro.
- Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster: The new super sports car Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster with its four-liter V8 biturbo 350 kW / 476 hp, the GT C Roadster even 410 kW / 557 hp. From 0 to 100 km / h it is thus in 3.7 seconds, the top speed is 316 km / h. The lightweight soft top makes the roadster visually resemble the coupé and the convertible top opens in eleven seconds. Overbrakes and a reinforced windshield frame increase stiffness in the two-seater. Price: from 129.180 Euro (GT C Roadster from 160.650 Euro).
- Mercedes E-Class: Space for four adults and a very quiet interior will be offered by the E-Class convertible from September. The convertible top consists of four layers of fabric, opens and closes within 20 seconds. A special windscreen spoiler minimizes strong air in the interior. The boot holds between 310 and 385 liters. The engines deliver 135 kW / 184 hp to 245 kW / 333 hp. 4x4 is optional. The price Mercedes has not yet announced. It should be around 54,000 euros.
- Porsche 911 GTS Convertible: The sports car icon Porsche 911 is available this year as a particularly sporty model GTS. The 331 kW / 450 hp of the convertibles are either directed to the rear wheels or to all four wheels at Carrera 4 GTS Convertible. At least 137.541 euros costs the over 300 km / h fast, open GTS-Porsche as a 2 + 2-seater. With a classic Targa bracket the Elfer costs at least 144.919 Euro - including all-wheel drive. (Dpa / swi)