Mercedes, Audi and Porsche all have new generation convertibles in the pipeline.
It's still at least a year from production but Benz's next-generation two-seat coupe-convertible is slowly taking form. There are clear signs that the German car maker will stick with the folding metal roof formula that has formed part of the attraction of the car for the past 15 years. Similar to the RCZ, the new SLK is believed to be in the line as a test-bed for hybrid engine technology as well as featuring a diesel engine for the first time.A high-performance AMG-badged version is expected to use a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine producing about 350kW.
The closest natural rival to the Peugeot RCZ is due for a midlife facelift some time this year. The spritzed second-generation sports coupe - its redesigned profile has already had its public debut - looks very similar to the version it replaces, although the front air intakes have grown in size, the grille is redesigned and LED daytime running lights are added to the range. A new 155kW 2.0-litre TFSI engine joins the model mix, replacing the old 147kW version. Missing this time around is the 3.2-litre V6. Also available are a 1.8-litre petrol and the 2.0-litre diesel.
Porsche doesn't believe in change for change's sake and the next Boxster will - from the outside, at least - be another superb example of its "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra. There's likely to be some reshaping work around the nose and further tightening of that petite rear as well as new LED light clusters but the stowable fabric roof looks set to stay. All major work will be under the skin, with weight reduction, power increases and better fuel economy all likely to feature on the 2011 model.
RENAULT MEGANE CC
Australians will get their first look at the new Renault Megane hatch next month, which will do without the famously prominent posterior of its predecessor. The forthcoming CC (the "CC" stands for coupe-convertible) version will instead carry on the big-bum legacy with the type of bulging rear end that's common to the CC breed. There's speculation the folding metal roof could include a sunroof-style glass panel and engine choices are likely to include the same mix of petrol and diesel powerplants as the hatch. It's likely to be released here in time for spring.
Originally published in the Drive section.