Having just tested and lived with a quartet of German roadsters, our staff has convertibles on the brain. No doubt, you've seen the road tests and know the official scores and rankings. We thought it would be fun to go behind the ratings to see what some of our team members would personally recommended.
In episode four of "Talking Cars with Consumer Reports," our automotive experts discuss their picks among recently tested German roadsters, truck reliability, and the latest cars purchased for testing.
Now that spring has finally sprung here in New England it's convertible time. And our Mercedes-Benz SLK could be just the ticket to fresh air on the way home. We've enjoyed testing it against the competition, including the Audi TT, BMW Z4, and Porsche Boxster. The SLK is the Mercedes convertible for the merely rich, rather than the very rich (SL) or super-rich (SLS), making it a treat to which successful retirees or empty nesters can aspire.
It's laughably easy to get jaded in this business. Attending auto shows and being surrounded by impossibly beautiful and desirable cars sometimes makes you numb. But walking the show floor in New York yesterday, I felt an epiphany of sorts. I'm a diehard dog lover, so it surprised me that my fixation turned out to be a cat.
Spring is just weeks away, and with the new season comes the dream of warm weather and open-road romance for top-down driving. It just so happens we have two German roadsters for sale from our test program that fit this bill.
The one question we get asked all the time is: "What do you do with your test cars when you're done with them?" Since we buy every car we test, we can't just simply give the cars back to the manufacturer when we're done, like a typical press loan. Hence, we have to sell them.
As we found in our road test, there are certainly more practical cars out there than the Fiat 500 convertible. Many have roomier rear seats, back doors to access them, and get about the same fuel economy as the tiny Cinqucento for little, if any more, money. But I've found few of those cars to be as fun to drive.
Consumer Reports recently posted the road test results for a trio of summer-friendly cars, each with their own distinctive personalities: Chevrolet Camaro convertible, Dodge Challenger, and Fiat 500C. The common theme among them is that style and character often come with compromises.
A few days after we bought our 2012 BMW Z4 for testing, we noticed—thanks to the car's tire-pressure monitoring system—that the left rear tire was losing air. The tire would start the day at its recommended 44 psi, but by the next morning it was down to about 34 psi. Somehow, 10 pounds of air a day was going missing for no obvious reason.
With the approach of summer, it seems a natural supposition that a muscle car would be even more enjoyable with its top down. While there is some truth to that, the reality is most convertibles spend much of their time with the top up. And as we have been experiencing, the Chevrolet Camaro convertible doesn't shine when closed.
The countdown is on to Father's Day: Are you prepared to reward Dad with a gift worthy of a lifetime of love and sacrifice? Our Cars team has assembled their own four-wheel personal picks for Father's Day to inspire your decision making. Should this not be the year for a new car, it may be fun simply to play the "What if?" game with your Dad.
The group of sporty German roadsters we're testing has proven to be rather tricky to buy, but our recent BMW Z4 purchase ended with good savings and a road trip.
We just took delivery of a car that is made for spring: a "Mars Red" SLK250. This two-seat convertible is just what the doctor ordered to get us out of the winter doldrums. And if the cold weather reappears, our SLK has a folding hardtop, heated seats, and the automaker's exclusive "airscarf neck-level heating system," which features vents in the head restraints that blow warm air on your neck. It's a nice touch that we really liked in the last SLK, and its SL big-brother we tested.
German luxury car maker BMW AG is recalling about 1.3 million BMW 5 Series and BMW 6 Series vehicles worldwide due to an issue with the cars' battery cable covers. The recall affects approximately 367,000 BMW cars in the U.S.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: