With summer and warm weather upon us again in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the perfect time to break out the convertibles and go for warm-weather cruises, soaking in the sun and fresh air. While owners of non-convertible cars can put all their windows down, nothing can still quite compare to a proper convertible.
Plus, despite the average price of a new vehicle in the US rising to a near-record high of $38,948 in December of 2019, convertibles remain affordable, especially on the used market. Buyers can opt for a range of options, from the ever-popular Jeep Wrangler to the endearing Mazda Miata-derived Fiat 124 Spider and Abarth 124 Spider—all with plenty of options between.
However, for a miniscule percentage of the population, $38,948 is but a drop in the bucket; just pennies for those with money to spend on private jets, yachts, and all-inclusive vacations to exotic locales. Naturally, the automotive industry fits every niche and thus such ultra-luxury convertibles as the Bentley Continental GT Convertible, Rolls-Royce Dawn, and Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe exist for such buyers: all at the pinnacle of uncompromising luxury.
BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT CONVERTIBLE – $202,500
With a starting price of $202,500, it’s hard to believe that the stunning Bentley Continental GT Convertible is the most affordable car on our list. While not exactly a bargain, the Continental GT and its Convertible sibling pack plenty of punch for the price. Under the hood is a unique 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine producing a monstrous 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.
Such power combined with all-wheel drive helps this nearly 5,000-pound grand tourer (4,947 pounds to be exact) accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a claimed 3.6 seconds on its way to reaching a top speed of 207 miles per hour. Despite its focus on luxury, the Continental GT manages supercar-rivaling performance.
However, most Bentley owners don’t buy a Continental GT for its performance alone. As one would expect, the Continental GT offers every bit of the luxury its $202,500 price tag suggests it would. Sumptuous high-quality leather adorns the well-designed interior—an interior in which nearly everything is customizable. Supplemented by excellent trunk space, this suave Bentley is not only nice to look at, but practical too.
ROLLS-ROYCE DAWN – $359,250
Stepping up in terms of price (and some may say in prestige as well), the Rolls-Royce Dawn rolls in with an opulent presence and aesthetic elegance befitting its $359,250 price tag. Soft yet defined body lines flow from the bold grill and front fascia that has been a staple of modern Rolls-Royce design, drawing one’s eyes from one carefully-sculpted design element to the next.
If you thought the Continental GT was heavy (as it undoubtedly is), the Dawn is somehow even chunkier, coming in at a curb weight of 5,644 pounds. Powering such a gargantuan mass of steel, wood, and fine leather is a BMW-sourced N74 engine: a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 producing 563 horsepower and 605 pound-feet of torque.
Just as with the Bentley, Rolls-Royce buyers aren’t interested in horsepower and performance specifications alone. Instead, abject luxury is the name of the game, and Rolls-Royce is the reigning champion. The Dawn comes with an impeccably-appointed interior with nearly infinite customization options available as well as a suspension setup more plush than anything short of a vehicle using pillows in place of wheels.
ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM DROPHEAD COUPE – $492,000
Before the Dawn became the pinnacle of luxury in convertible form, there was the mighty Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe: a 5,780-pound behemoth composed of the finest materials Rolls-Royce could source. In production since 2007, the Phantom Drophead Coupe was discontinued in 2017, with the Dawn constituting its spiritual successor.
Powering nearly three tons of luxury car is a 6.8-liter V12 producing 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque which is good for a respectable 0 to 60 time of 5.6 seconds (considering the immense weight).
No true competitors challenged its reign over 10 years of ultra-luxury hegemony, and the drop dead gorgeous Drophead Coupe forever became an indelible part of the already storied Rolls-Royce brand. Although buying new would set buyers back a hefty, hefty sum of $492,000, used examples have heavily depreciated, oftentimes to less than $300,000.
No option is the wrong choice here, with each bringing something unique to the table. The Bentley Continental GT Convertible provides perhaps the most engaging driving dynamics, the Rolls-Royce Dawn combines modern technology with impeccable craftsmanship, and the Phantom Drophead Coupe offers most of the experience of the Dawn at a much lower price point, provided prospective buyers don’t mind buying used.
Any of the three will provide more luxury and prestige than any vehicle one could even imagine, but if you could only have one, which would it be? We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment down below!