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On your marks, get set, roof down!

On your marks, get set, roof down!


Summer is here and with that, convertibles take to the road; We take a look at just how long it takes to put your roof down or back up, if the heavens open! We look at some of the fastest roofs on the market.

Which cabriolet roofs go down the quickest?

Here't the top 5 cabriolets for roof down speed:

  • 7 seconds - Ford Mustang (2018) 
  • 9 seconds - Porsche Boxter 718
  • 9.5 seconds - Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
  • 10 seconds - Audi TT roadster
  • 12 seconds - Jaguar F-Type convertible

How quickly does a convertible roof go down?

Here in the UK, despite our usually damp climate, we’re among the biggest buyers of convertibles in Europe and let’s face it, driving with the wind on your face is one of the few pleasurable ways left to enjoy motoring on the UK’s congested and battered roads.

Modern soft tops are warm, draught and weather-proof so there’s no need to think of them as providing little more protection than a four wheeled motorbike. Another tick in their favour is that most of them hold their value very well too.

Until recently though, one of the main bug bears was the difficulty of the transition from open to closed and vice versa. Some had a separate solid panel which had to be stored away somewhere, in the garage perhaps, leaving you to hope it would stay fine and dry until you got back. Others had canvas be rolled and stowed up or down, fastened into place with zips and poppers – and it wasn’t unusual for finger nails to suffer as a result.

But, when Mercedes-Benz introduced a three-panel, metal roof which folded itself away at the touch of a button and even while on the move it pretty much transformed what was expected and today a lot of the upper end cars perform the same trick.

Let’s take a look at some of the fastest at lowering themselves from closed to open at the touch of a button. Many take a second or two the other way but really, no more than that.

20 seconds

Rolls-Royce Dawn | Audi R8 Spyder

20 seconds is all it takes for six layers of the world’s finest grade leather which goes into making the Dawn’s roof to lower under a tonneau cover or raise and lock into place. The same amount of time it takes for the Audi flagship supercar, the R8 Spyder, to pop away its roof too.

Audi R8 SpyderExplore the Audi R8 Spyder

15 seconds

McLaren 570S Spider | BMW i8 petrol/electric supercar | Audi A5 cabriolet

Quite a few cars need just 15 seconds for the conversion, and the Audi A5 cabriolet is in illustrious company here with the McLaren 570S Spider and BMW i8 petrol/electric supercar.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Explore the Audi A5 cabriolet

14 seconds

Ferrari Portofino | Aston Martin DB11 Volante

Two more high-end supercars share the 14 second timing, the Ferrari Portofino and Aston Martin DB11 Volante. The Ferrari has a folding metal roof, while the Aston a fabric one.

Red Ferrari Portofino parked two thirds side on at dusk

13 seconds

Mazda MX-5 RF | Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Two more sports cars here albeit of quite different prices and performance levels.

Both the Mazda MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback) and Porsche 911 Cabriolet. The RF version of the classic Mazda accounts for almost two thirds of the car’s UK sales and it has a one-of-a-kind lightweight power retractable hardtop. Mazda refers to it as a work of `mechanical origami’! The Porsche has the more traditional fabric roof which folds away to just behind the rear seats.

Pale yellow Porshe 911 convertible driving away from you

12 seconds

Jaguar F-Type Convertible

Fast on the road or to go from open to closed roof mode, the Jaguar F-Type convertible two seater needs just 12 seconds to perform this trick and it can do so while you’re driving at up to 30 mph.

Jaguar F-Type

Explore the Jaguar F-Type convertible

10 Seconds

Audi TT Roadster 

Wow, you can count the lowering time of this fabric soft top on the fingers of two hands which is pretty darn quick.Audi TT Roadster

Explore the Audi TT Roadster

Under 10 seconds

Among the quickest of the quick, the VW Beetle Convertible takes a fraction less than the Audi (9.5 seconds officially), the Porsche Boxster 718 just nine for it to go up or down and Ford says its latest 2018-spec Mustang beats the rest, taking just 7 seconds to go from up to down and 9 the other way.

Volkswagen Beetle cabriolet driving aaway from you

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