Top 10 Convertibles Cars of 2011
Grab your driving gloves, sunglasses and short-sleeve shirts, because the world's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, failed to see his shadow Feb. 2, predicting an early spring. While those of us in the Northeast who are still chilled to the bone think the little beast is losing his touch, the news has convertible owners in the rest of the country chomping at the bit to drop that top and hit the road. If you're ready to drop some serious cash on a new convertible, there's a long list of great roadsters, convertibles and cabriolets available for your driving pleasure. Here's our attempt at narrowing the field of topless, fun-to-drive vehicles.

Audi R8 Spyder

If you have $130,000 to $170,000 lying around, this speed demon should be at top of your shopping list. The 2011 R8 Spyder has it all: sexy yet elegant styling, plenty of luxury amenities, stellar driving and handling characteristics and more power than most of us know what to do with. And we aren't the only ones who think so. The editors of MotorWeek gave the R8 Spyder their coveted 2011 Drivers' Choice Award for Best Dream Machine. Despite being a high-performance sports car, the R8 Spyder offers the graces that also make it a slick daily driver, such as full iPod integration and Bluetooth microphones that are integrated into the seatbelts. Now you can take calls from the office hands-free, even when the top is down and the wind is blowing through what hair you have left.

Porsche Boxster Spyder

If you're looking for a convertible that will make you feel like a million bucks, but without spending nearly that much, the 2011 Boxster Spyder is a no-brainer. Starting at $61,800, and sporting rear-wheel drive and 320 horsepower, the Boxster Spyder proudly continues the Porsche performance heritage. It looks incredible, too. Be forewarned, though — the two-piece canvas top is more of a sun shade than a functional roof, and to keep weight to a minimum the roadster is a tad short on the amenities. Even so, it's a hoot to drive.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has been a staple in the U.S. market since the early 1990s, when it reintroduced the low-cost convertible sports car to the world, a concept that had fallen by the wayside decades before with the demise of the MG Midget and Austin-Healey Sprite. Now in its third generation, the 2011 MX-5 is one of the most fun-to-fling and affordable convertibles on this list, starting at $23,110. It lives and dies by the old "keep it simple, stupid" principle by minimizing the complexity of its components, only to maximize its fun factor.

BMW 335is Convertible

To put it simply, the BMW 335is convertible is an "ultimate driving machine." Living up to the company's motto, this folding hardtop is a fantastic package for anyone who wants a BMW with "M" specs but who can't afford it. The addition of the "s" to the badging of the 335i indicates even more pleasing styling and slightly more power. Equipped with the new Z4 sDrive35is engine with some tweaks and an overboost feature, the 335is produces 320 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque. It's priced at $58,700, so you should probably contact your dealer now, as we expect these convertibles to go fast.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet proves — in style, of course — that a convertible can be a viable year-round daily driver. While the BMW 3-Series, Infiniti G37 and Lexus IS have moved to retractable hardtops for their current models, Mercedes has elected to use a 0.9-inch-thick fabric roof for the E-Class convertible. Waterproof and windproof, it does an incredible job of keeping the elements at bay. In true Mercedes-Benz fashion, the E-Class cabriolets have lots of power: The V6 develops 268 horsepower, while the V8 puts out 382 horsepower. They also incorporate the latest technology to reduce cabin noise and discomfort, such as the automaker's Aircap, Airscarf and heating and air-conditioning systems, all of which work in different fashions depending on the position of the convertible's top. And they can seat four people. Prices start at $56,850, which is pretty competitive.

Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible

By all accounts, the 2011 Chevy Camaro SS convertible is a true muscle car, not a watered-down version with a drop-top. It is pure brawn, with 426 horses underneath the hood and aggressive styling all the way around. Unfortunately, it is too similar to the hardtop. It has a weak interior design and limited trunk space, and it suffers from serious visibility issues when the top is up. Consequently, this is not a daily driver. This one is best suited for those looking for a second car, and it's priced to be one at $36,650.

MINI Cooper Convertible

For 2011, the MINI Cooper convertible continues to evolve, with an updated look and slightly more power. Under the hood, the fun starts with the lively yet economical 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and moves up to the sporty turbocharged Cooper S and raucous John Cooper Works versions. While the MINI's base engine at 121 horsepower isn't the most powerful on this list, it is the most fuel-efficient, averaging 29 to 32 mpg in combined driving conditions, depending on your transmission selection. And if you don't feel like taking the 15 seconds to open the top — compared with 30 seconds for the Infiniti G37 convertible, for instance — you can still get the wind flowing through your hair. The ragtop has a sunroof. That's right, the front portion of the roof folds back to mimic open-air motoring. Prices start at $24,850.

Ford Mustang Convertible

The Ford Mustang convertible is as American as apple pie. While the look of the 2011 Mustang convertible is the same as the outgoing year, the same can't be said for some of the items under the hood. For those looking to use the Mustang convertible as their daily driver, these changes will be noticeable. The electronic power-assist steering is said to allow for better handing at low speeds, and the new V6 engine, though smaller than its predecessor, still gets the job done, producing 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. If you want to support the resurgence of the American auto manufacturer, the Mustang convertible deserves a second look. And at $27,145, it won't exactly break the bank.

Audi TTS Roadster

Compared to its $130,000-plus R8 Spyder sibling, the $50,000 Audi TTS might look like a killer deal. But that's only an illusion, especially when you compare its performance numbers against some of the less-expensive convertibles on this list. Don't get us wrong, the TTS is unique and worth consideration. Because the entire TT family is offered exclusively with quattro, it is the only sports car in its class with all-wheel drive. And even with the 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine pounding out 265 horsepower, the TTS won't cost a lot at the pump; it delivers 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway. Unfortunately, it is offered only with the 6-speed S tronic transmission. No manual.

2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible

Launched in 2009, the Infiniti G37 convertible has been an often-overlooked choice for those in the market for an open-top vehicle. Designed from the get-go as a convertible with its 3-piece power-retractable hardtop, the G37 convertible has lived under the radar compared with its G37 coupe and G37 sedan siblings. Don't be fooled though; just like its counterparts the G37 has a rock-star V6 engine that pumps out 325 horsepower. And for 2011, it got a bit of a face lift with a new front fascia design. The G37 makes a great daily driver, too, thanks to a host of luxury amenities, including optional in-headrest speakers for open-top listening.