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Why You Don’t Want a Convertible – Latest On My GQ Column
You want one, don’t you. A Cabriolet. A Droptop. A Convertible. You think it will improve your social life, help you get more out of summer and achieve more sex. You picture yourself whisking your better half away for a dirty weekend, pottering down tree-lined country lanes with the wind in your hair – not a care in the world.
Well, you’re mostly wrong. You do not want a convertible.
Because unless you are partial to wearing hats, and then chasing that hat down the road, you will arrive at your destination sunburnt, in a weird pattern, on your forehead. This will decrease your appeal to the opposite sex and ruin your social life. The very best aircon is ineffective against searing sunlight and warm winds, so you will look like you’ve just lost in five sets against Djokovic. The irony of owning a convertible in South Africa is that the sun is too strong, and in the day time you do have to drive around with the roof up. Which is very similar to the cheaper version of the car you’ve just bought.
I’ve just spent a week with two brand new cabriolets, the new Mercedes Benz SLK 350 AMG, and the Audi A5 Cabriolet. They are both stunning vehicles, and if you have R750 000 and R530 000 respectively, I would recommend them. The new SLK is aggressive and very quick, the new A5 is just about the prettiest modern car I’ve ever seen.
Both will decapitate themselves very quickly, so you can get it over and done with at the traffic lights. The Mercedes has a wonderful soundtrack which is all the better without a roof. Like certain other beautiful creations, the Audi looks even better topless. But even with fancy new wind deflectors and improved aerodynamics, at anything approaching 100km/h the wind buffeting is quite severe. I know this sounds like a trivial first world problem, but this happens in all convertibles, and it’s something you have to live with, but it is genuinely tiring after a while. And if your hair, or that of your companion, is longer than a crew-cut, it will become knotted and resemble straw.
Luckily, I have devised a solution. The answer to all of this is something I enjoy immensely: a night drive. Convertibles were made for warm nights. There is something epic (and romantic) about driving around with nothing but the stars above you. To solve the hair problem, my better half suggested a good silk scarf, like they used “in the olden days.”
The whole experience is really quite magical.
Ciro De Siena
This article was originally published on www.GQ.co.za dated 23 February 2011.