What do you get when you mix great beach weather, convertibles, and journalist in the automotive world? The Southern Automotive Media Association SAMA sought to answer this question with the “Topless Miami” event, which really is one of those gatherings anyone who is anyone in the car world dreams of going to. At Topless Miami, journalists, media and others in TV and communication had the chance to drive new convertibles from 14 different manufacturers and rate them according to their preferences.
The second annual event was held at the luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel in Key Biscayne, a location that was perfectly suited for the event and the picture perfect weather didn’t disappoint either. In an effort to choose the best convertible, attendees drove on the beautiful 7 mile route around the key and selected the best in four distinct categories: Best Luxury Convertible, Best Family Convertible, Best Sports car Convertible, Best Small Convertible and Best Overall Convertible. Those who tested the cars then judged them in overall styling, ease of operation of the convertible top, and driving impression; each of the judges were told to rate according to their likes and dislikes as well as preferences on a score sheets that were later tallied . During the event those attending also spoke with representatives from the companies that were present, who also were more than happy to join in the fun test drives to showcase the key features as well as technologies that make the car’s the represent the better choice.
The event really had almost every example of a top-down car on the market with cars ranging in price for a mere $20,000 to $260,000, showcasing the extent and diversity in the convertible car field. Cars at the event included the eye-catching Mercedes SLS AMG as well as SL550, Infiniti G37S and Jaguar’s fast XK-RS in the luxury category. The fun Fiat 500C, Smart ForTwo, and peppy the Mini Cooper S were selected as the nominees for small convertibles. For the family convertible contenders included the Chevrolet Camaro SS, Ford Mustang, Volkswagen EOS, Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and finally the Chrysler 200S. Sports convertible included the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Nissan 307Z, Mercedes SLK55 and Audi TT.
The exciting day of testing the cars and picture perfect weather then transitioned to the award ceremony which was held at the Ponce de Leon ballroom at the Ritz. Although competition was stiff and every single car shone with its own light, personality and style which made it almost impossible to make a decision. But like every election or competition the results had to be announced to the eager crowd. For the Best of the Best Convertible was the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG 2012, for the best Luxury Convertible the winner was the edgy Jaguar XK-RS, for the Best Sports Car the Audi TT roadster, as for the Family Convertible the Chevrolet Camaro SS, and for the Best Small Convertible, Fiat 500C Gucci reigned supreme.
We would like to thank SAMA for inviting us to this exhilarating event and hope that in coming years we can continue to enjoy the “fun in the sun” to the full extent of the phrase with tops down on cool cars because nothing says Miami as much as convertibles do.