Three of the hottest convertibles to keep you looking cool for summer

They're the chameleons of the four-wheeled world, able to alter their appearance and personality at the press of a button.

But improvements in engineering, design and technology means modern drop-tops offer much of the hard-top flavour with the ability to expose themselves to the elements within seconds.

From the latest in connectivity to a new level of performance and driving thrills, slop on some sunscreen for a thrilling top-down experience with a trio of the newest convertibles just in time for summer.

Old-school roadster

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT C Roadster

Price: $339,000​

There is something refreshingly old school about AMG's most daring and expensive model yet (at least until the arrival of the $5 million F1-inspired Project One in 2019).

Part of it is the glorious throaty snarl from the 4.0-litre V8 as it unleashes a full 410kW fury in its mid-level GT C guise, courtesy of larger turbos than the regular GT.

Plus, there's the effortless torque that can keep the traction control busy containing wheelspin at low speeds, reinforcing its angry but enticing nature.


Then there's the super long snout that rises skyward when you sink your foot into the throttle, the rear tyres biting hard into the bitumen.

Yet despite its muscle car charm the drop-top version of the GT is dripping with tech.

Drive is apportioned in real time to each of the sizeable 20-inch rear wheels via an electronic differential.

There's also four-wheel steering, tucking the tail in for more alert low-speed cornering while adding stability above 100km/h.

The broader rump amplifies the Roadster appearance.

So, too, does the unique bootlid, made of an innovative mix of plastic and carbon fibre to keep kilos contained.

Even the one-touch folding roof maintains the high-tech theme, neatly retracting in 11 seconds.

While the whole transition to a Roadster adds 55kg over the coupe it's a minor penalty that doesn't in detract from the explosive and encapsulating driving experience.

Catch a Cabriolet

Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI Quattro

Price: $95,000​

It's all about the little things in Audi's latest drop top, starting with the innocuous trio of tiny dots on the front seatbelts.

They're miniature microphones seemingly wirelessly woven into the belts, placed for easier top-down conversations through the Apple CarPlay-connected sound system.

It's clever stuff and demonstrates the efforts the German brand has embraced to ensure its four-seater Cabriolet is – almost – as comfy and composed as the A5 Coupe it's based on.

The beautifully trimmed roof even incorporates map lights for those in the rear, and the side glass is 1mm thicker, teaming with the acoustically reinforced windscreen to minimise unwanted noise.

Convenience is high on the agenda.  Rather than borrow the seats from the Coupe, Audi tweaked the design to incorporate neck-level heating vents. Combined with the optional heated rear pews it promises a toasty top-down experience, even in the cool of winter.

Kick your foot near the back bumper and the boot opens automatically, and rather than holding the button the A5 requires one single press to instigate the 15-second operation of removing the roof.

Spider sense

McLaren 570S Spider

Price: $435,750

From the carefully honed aerodynamics to the carbon fibre structure, there's a hint of F1 thinking in McLaren's latest convertible.

A carbon backbone is the key to a potent power-to-weight ratio.

That strength also means the theatrical upward-opening dihedral doors remain in play, cementing the vehicle's head-turning talents.

All up there's an extra 46kg for the Spider, all of it due to the 15-second folding roof and its mechanism.

Still, it's a modest penalty and something that barely affects the featherweight 1.4-tonne grand total.

While the pace isn't about to upstage Daniel Ricciardo on race day, the 570S faithfully dials up oodles of open-top excitement. The Spider also dials up the sound of the regular 570S

If speed really is your thing then the roof-down top speed falls 13km/h shy of the 328km/h roof-in-place terminal velocity.

Despite its edgy, almost frenetic side, the 570S Spider can be temporarily tamed by reverting the adjustable dials back to "normal".