Spring is on the horizon, but winter hasn’t released its icy grip quite yet. So that means it’s still too early to shop for a warm season vehicle, right? Actually, this is a rare case of consumers being able to have their cake and eat it too. We’ve hand picked our three favorite convertibles, each one possessing different attributes making them ideal cars to drive during the 12 months of the year. There’s the hardtop equipped BMW 4 Series, the sure-footed all-wheel drive Audi A5, and the predictable front-drive Buick Cascada.
Representing the spiritual successor for the two-door 3 Series models, the beautiful 4 Series knocked a lot of people’s socks off when it first debuted in 2013. The convertible version that came one year later was no less impressive, featuring a fully powered, three-piece hardtop capable of fully opening or closing in 20 seconds, and at speeds of up to 11 miles per hour, meaning drivers are ready for any type of weather with a push of a button.
The weatherproof top utilizes an advanced headliner designed to soak up noise and provides insulating properties making occupants think they’re in a regular coupé. When stashed in the trunk, a load and unloaded assistant can pivot the folded roof to accommodate bigger items like luggage or equipment.
The Audi A5 family just entered its second generation a couple of years ago, meaning the original platform has become a particularly value-added buy. The 2015 A5 Cabriolet, for example, comes packaged with a quick 2.0-liter TFSI engine producing 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, mated to a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission or grin-inducing six-speed manual. Although running a soft top, it uses thick thermal fabric and is operable even when the car is travelling up to 31 miles per hour.
Most importantly for winter, the automaker’s legendary Quattro full-time all-wheel drive system is regular equipment, which sends power to all four wheels. Grip and traction are always available helping maintain vehicle stability in virtually any road condition, and especially around corners.
All new for the 2016 model year, the Cascada is Buick’s answer to the affordable luxury top-down segment. The attractive 2+2 seater boasts all sorts of innovative technology, such as active rollover bars behind the rear seats that automatically deploy in the event of an accident, OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with built-in WiFi hotspot, and a remote starter so the motor can be warmed up and ready to go in advance before people get inside.
The standard front-wheel drive setup gives a sense of confidence in inclement weather, and a bit of clever engineering has been implemented to bolster drivetrain performance. Proprietary HiPer front suspension mitigates the forces from driving over bumps and the many seasonally induced potholes, and also mitigates torque steer created by the efficient 200 horsepower, 207 lb-ft of torque 1.6-liter turbocharged powerplant.