The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Topless in Miami


SEE ALSO: Convertibles Sold In North America - Specs, Comparisons, Prices and Reviews

Topless in Miami, Cars that is...

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

2015 Porsche Boxster GTS (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Porsche Boxster GTS
With plenty of sun and a cool sea breeze the east coast of Florida is one of the best places to drive convertibles. The Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA) recently awarded the 2015 Porsche Boxster GTS top honors as the Convertible of the Year at their Topless in Miami Presented by Haartz event. This was the fifth annual convertible competition held by SAMA.

With a base price of $73,500, the Boxster received more first-place votes than any of the other class winners to win top honor. The Boxster was also the winner in the Performance Convertible competition.

2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe
The 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe was recognized as the winner of the Super Luxury/Extoic Trophy as the only entrant in the Class. Priced around $550,000 the Drophead surely deserved the win.

Maserati GranTurismo
Convertible (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible
Other class winners were the $146,000 2015 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible in the Luxury Class and the $62,250 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet was scored the winner in the Full-Size Class.

2016 Mazda MX-5 (select to view enlarged photo)
2016 Mazda MX-5
The all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 with a $24,915 base price captured the Small Convertible Class, having also won this class last year with the outgoing model.

Mercedes-Benz E400
Cabriolet  (select to view enlarged photo)
Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet
In accepting the award, Mazda representative Tamara Mlynarczyk said this This was the first ever award given to the all-new MX-5 that goes on sale later this year. I expect there will be many more awards to come for this delightful and fun two-seater.

More than 60 members of SAMA spent the day scoring 17 vehicles from 14 manufacturers on various aspects of the world’s top droptops at the event, which
was headquartered once again at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne Resort.

It was tough duty but someone had to do it. We drove convertibles both with the top down and the top up. Evaluations included quietness with the top up, ease of top operation, trunk space with the top down, fit of the top and how well the top enhanced the overall design of the vehicle.

2016 Buick Cascada (select to view enlarged photo)
2016 Buick Cascada
Also on display for viewing only was the 2016 Buick Cascada. An all-new entry from Buick in the U.S. market, the four-seat Cascada will go on sale for 2016.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

“As a longtime customer, we congratulate Porsche on earning top honors this year. The Boxster features our high-performance acoustic topping material, which enhances the sporty feel of the vehicle," said Matt Williams, director of business development for the Haartz Corporation. "There was a great selection of vehicles this year showcasing some of the best technology in soft-top convertibles."

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Haartz Corporation (Haartz) is a world leader in highly engineered and uniquely designed convertible toppings and interior surface materials. The company’s world headquarters and North American manufacturing operations are located in Acton, Massachusetts, with additional manufacturing in Mannheim, Germany and coming soon to Pune, India. Beyond these manufacturing locations, Haartz
maintains offices in Detroit, Munich, Tokyo, Delhi, Irapuato, Mexico, Shanghai and Chongqing, China. Employing over 400 people worldwide, Haartz has been a trusted automotive supplier since 1907, and continues to be privately owned and operated by the Haartz family.

SAMA is an organization of automotive journalists, representatives of media organizations, corporate communications specialists, marketing and advertising representatives, and auto manufacturers related to South Florida’s dynamic automotive industry. Based in Miami, it was formed in March 2007 and has grown to include more than 140 members from the South and around the country.

I hope you get to enjoy top-down driving and don’t forget to apply your sunblock.

2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy