At first glance, logic might dictate the phrase “best all-wheel drive convertibles” to be something of an oxymoron. This is because most people think all-wheel drive is offered primarily to improve traction in wet, snowy, and or muddy road conditions and these situations generally stem from weather less than conducive to the enjoyment of a Convertible. However, the cognoscenti know all-wheel drive can also serve a performance function. You see, because of their superior traction, all-wheel drive models also have the potential to handle better than their two-wheel drive counterparts. For this reason, the best all-wheel drive convertibles tend to skew more toward the performance end of the spectrum.
Audi A3 Cabriolet
Redesigned for the 2015 model year, the Audi A3 lineup now contains a four-door Sedan, a Coupe, and convertible. Being an Audi, quite naturally the marque’s renowned Quattro all-wheel drive solution is offered as an option for the new convertible model. While two engines are offered for the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet, to get all-wheel drive you’ll need to order the 220-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine which makes 258 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automated manual transmission conducts power from the engine to the drive wheels. Audi offers three trim levels, Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. Pricing starts at $38,600 for a Premium trimmed all-wheel drive Audi A3 Cabriolet.
Audi TT/TTS Roadster
The convertible version of Audi’s iconic TT is offered with a choice of two engines for the 2015 model year. The base TT is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 211 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs of torque. The TTS gets 265 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs of torque from a slightly reconfigured version of the 2.0-liter. Both engines use a six-speed automated manual transmission to feed power to all four wheels. Standard equipment for the base TT model includes automatic xenon headlights, automatic climate control, and a tilt and telescoping multifunction steering wheel with transmission shift paddles. TT Roadster pricing starts at $43,350 while TTS Roadster starts at $51,700.
Audi A5/S5/RS5 Cabriolets
For the 2015 model year, every Audi A5 is equipped with all-wheel drive. Power comes from Audi’s 220-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four with 258 ft-lbs of torque. Convertibles get an eight-speed automatic as standard equipment. For the S5, Audi supplants the 2.0-liter four with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 good for 333 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs of torque. This engine is teamed with a seven-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission. RS 5 gets a 450-horsepower, 4.2-liter V8 with 316 ft-lbs of torque and the seven-speed automated manual transmission. Beautifully styled and sumptuously equipped, pricing starts at $47,600 for the A5; $60,900 for the S5; and $79,750 for RS 5.
Audi R8 Spyder
Offered with two powertrain choices, the V8 version of the Audi mid-engine exotic sports car uses a 4.2-liter powerplant with 430 horsepower and 317 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is provided as standard equipment; while a seven-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission is offered as an option. The R8 V10 uses a 525-horsepower, 5.2-liter V10 with 391 ft-lbs of torque. The same transmission offerings apply. Combining a compelling blend of style, comfort, ease of use and exceptional performance in one package, Audi’s R8 is a standout in its category. For 2015, Audi R8 V8 Spyder pricing starts at $129,400, while R8 V10 Spyder pricing starts at $166,100.
Bentley Continental GT Convertible
Bentley offers three versions of the Continental GT Convertible for the 2015 model year. There’s the Continental GT Convertible, the Continental GT V8 Convertible, the Continental GT V8 S Convertible, and the Continental GT Speed Convertible. The Continental GT Convertible—in addition to being one of the most luxurious convertibles you can buy—features a 6.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 567 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission conducts power to the drive wheels. The Continental GT V8 uses a 4.0-liter V8 good for 500 horsepower. The GT V8 S makes 521 horsepower, and the12-cylinder GT Speed Convertible makes 626 horsepower. Pricing starts at $206,300 for the V8 and ascends according to power output.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
Going into its second model year, the BMW 4 Series Convertible is offered with a choice of two engines, both of which can be ordered with the company’s all-wheel drive powertrain—also known as BMW xDrive. The 428i uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 241 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs of torque. The 435i gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six with 300 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is featured as standard equipment for both engines with all-wheel drive. However, a six-speed manual can be had as an option for the six-cylinder engine. Pricing starts at $50,750 for the 428i xDrive, and $56,900 for the 435i xDrive Convertible.
BMW 6 Series
The very epitome of prestige, a 6 Series BMW Convertible draws admiration practically everywhere. Easily one of the most handsome cars offered, BMW’s 6 Series Convertible reeks of style and good taste. Offered in two iterations, 640i and 650i, both can be ordered with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. The 640i xDrive is powered by a 315-horsepower, turbocharged inline six-cylinder with 332 ft-lbs of torque. The 650i xDrive uses a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 with 445 horsepower and 480 ft-lbs of torque. Both models get eight speed automatic transmissions. For the 2015 model year, BMW 640i xDrive pricing starts at $86,600, while BMW 650i xDrive pricing starts at $97,000.
Porsche 911 Cabriolets
While most versions of Porsche’s 911 Carrera are offered with a convertible roof, only select models offer both a folding roof and all-wheel drive. These include Carrera 4 Cabriolet, Carrera 4 S Cabriolet, Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, 911 Turbo Cabriolet, and 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Carrera 4 models get a 3.4-liter horizontally–opposed six-cylinder engine rated at 350 horsepower and 287 ft-lbs of torque. Carrera 4 S gets 3.8-liters for 400 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs of torque. Carrera 4 GTS gets 430 horsepower from the 3.8—thanks to the Carrera S Powerkit. The 911 Turbo gets a 520-horsepower, turbocharged 3.8-liter flat six with 487 ft-lbs of torque. The Turbo S goes out with 560 horsepower and 516 ft-lbs of torque. Carrera 4 Cab starts at $102,930; Carrera 4 S Cab starts at $117,930; GTS Cab starts at $133,795; Turbo Cab starts at $163,000; and Turbo S Cabriolet starts at $194,600.
Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche’s amazing 918 Spyder is the only all-wheel drive hybrid convertible on the market today. This would be enough to make it a highly distinctive automobile all on its own. Then, when you add the fact it ‘s constructed of a one-piece carbon fiber body wrapped around a gasoline/electric powertrain producing 887 horsepower and 944 ft-lbs of torque, well, there’s really not a whole lot more left to say. Porsche says the car will accelerate from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 214 miles per hour. For those for whom too much can never be enough, the Weissach version of the 918 Spyder is some 77 pounds lighter than the “standard” car. Easily one of the most technologically advanced automobiles on the road, Porsche 918 Spyder pricing starts at $845,000; the 918 Spyder Weissach Package starts at $929,000.