Small Convertibles: Don't Forget to Duck!
Nobody I know drives a convertible. That's because unless you are young and pretty a droptop makes you look like a tool on exhibit. Unfortunately, the young and pretty usually can't afford a cabrio– unless they are rich socialites, trustafarians or enjoy the company of impotent older gentlemen. ADAC (that's the ubiquitous German driver's club) found another reason to dismiss convertibles: you better be pretty short if you want to survive a roll-over crash. Spiegel Online reports that of three Euro-minis tested by ADAC, only the MINI was safe enough for a roll in the hay (or anywhere else you choose to disregard the laws of physics). The oldish Citroen Pluriel suffered from a severely bent A-pillar. The new Peugeot 207 CC was equally flimsy, but offered longer and stronger roll-over bars. Even the MINI's dummies looked unhappy (don't they always?); their seat belts didn't hold them down as well as they should. ADAC says every convertible should have ESP, since the electronic nanny strongly reduces the (already low) probability of a rollover. (German-language video of test results at link.)
ADAC did the same test in 2003 with different cars: Miata (first-generation), Beetle, Opel Astra. The Miata fared miserably. The Beetle had pop-up roll-over bars and thus tested somewhat better. The Astra was safest because it had a large, hard roll-over bar similar to that of the Golf. Don't get me wrong, guys; I don't believe that safety is the most important thing in life (I drive a Vespa on a daily basis, btw.) People should, however, know how dangerous their toys are and drive accordingly.
I read this post with a tinge of sadness - my wife's MX5 (Miata) is sold and will be collected in a few days and I guess this is the last time we'll have a convertible. Having said that we're selling it because there are too many fools in vans and suvs who conspire to make driving more worry and less joy, so the sadness is tinged with relief... Before I get slammed by suv drivers - I realise that not all suv drivers are bad drivers but I hope they'll agree that the mass uptake of suvs has done nothing to improve driving standards.
5'6" - check young and beautiful - check Z4 roadster - check I'm in the clear.
[...] thing is relatively new to me. It’s a badge of honour in the car enthusiast world to look down on soft-tops. After all, with convertibles structural rigidity, light weight and handling finesse are sacrificed [...]