At first blush, the winter season and convertible supercars may not seem complementary. But whether clocking time on the slopes or avoiding the cold, this trio of drop-tops provides options — from active all-wheel drive and performance traction control systems to camouflaged hardtops.
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Lamborghini Huracán EVO Rear-Wheel Drive Spyderwith
Rather than piloting headlong into an identity crisis, Lamborghini is continuing its tradition of big-displacement, naturally aspirated engines. There’s not a turbocharger in sight (yet) for the Raging Bull; instead, there’s a 5.2-liter V10 that pumps out 610 hp, better known as the Huracán EVO RWD Spyder.
A sibling of the Huracán EVO 4WD Spyder, the RWD powertrain makes a bold statement thanks to its new front splitter, framed front air intakes and rear diffuser. And that’s merely the cosmetic debut. The specially tuned performance traction control system liberates the driver; it is purpose-built for “adrenalin-producing performance in all conditions, consistently delivering torque and assuring traction even as the Spyder is realigning after sharp cornering or drifting,” according to Lamborghini.
Pragmatically speaking, the Spyder’s soft-top roof stows within 17 seconds under the rear hood, even while driving up to 31 mph. Color and trim options abound thanks to Lamborghini’s Ad Personam bespoke design department that works one-on-one with owners to customize their cars.
Acoustically speaking, the RWD Spyder taps into the Lamborghini lineage of gurgling and growling. But a one-two punch is fast approaching. EU emissions will require particulate filters for gasoline cars in 2023, and by 2027 the EU will lower vehicle noise limits to 68 dB (currently 74). Fear not: Brand engineers are already pondering how quiet a Lamborghini can become.
2022 Lamborghini Huracán EVO Rear-Wheel Drive Spyder from $229,428, lamborghini.com
Ferrari Portofino M
Although it may have the Prancing Horse’s slowest 0-60 mph (in a scant 3.4 seconds), the Portofino M enchants with as much panache as its predecessor, the California T. Ferrari calls it a voyage of rediscovery, familiarizing one with the entry level grand touring convertible that balances the inexorable irony of unhurried drivers encircling and gawking at a 612
The 3.9-liter, twin-turbo V8 features a dual-clutch automated eight-speed transaxle. In layman’s terms, launch mode is a riotously good, pulse-rushing time. Many perceive the words ‘Ferrari’ and ‘approachable’ to sit in diametric opposition. Not so with Portofino M. Built on an all-aluminum platform and chassis, with double-wishbone suspension in the front and rear, Portofino M deploys both active and adaptive magnetic dampers. The result is a conclusively dynamic but altogether softer ride, a surprise arriving in the form of a big front-engine convertible.
It’s also simply stunning. Proportionally it makes sense; the long, low hood holds tension without pinching or exaggerating, like a well-tailored dinner jacket. The swept back windshield leads the eye past the door line to the classic tail lights and vaguely familiar but sporty new rear undercarriage. The retractable hardtop encourages a litheness despite the season.
2022 Ferrari Portofino M from $222,050, ferrari.com
Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS
There’s an astounding number of 911 variants in the Porsche lineup. First introduced 10 years ago, the 911 GTS models combine the daily driving ease of the Carrera with the track-minded performance of the GT3. The GTS exemplifies the very essence of 911 — approachable enough to handle without hypercar-level focus while still providing an emotional response 58 years in the making.
Known as the 992 generation, all five GTS models feature a twin-turbo 3.0-liter engine that produces 473 hp along with two transmission options, the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) paddle controls or a seven-speed manual. The ease of paddle technology cannot be overstated, but the shortened gear lever leads to full-length fun; indulge in the proper third pedal clutch. It enlivens the performance-oriented chassis and active all-wheel drive, while effectively summoning nostalgia.
The particular essence of this automobile thrives in the space between unadulterated power and around-town drivability. Opt for the high gloss black caliper ceramic composite brakes with 21-inch satin black wheels; they exaggerate the vehicle’s sumptuous-but-poised thru lines. Consider the glossy-but-assertive Carmine Red exterior paint with a matching interior package. Particularly in the GTS, Porsche’s attention to finishing details and options elevates the design aesthetic of the sportscar. Choose the Targa; the storied silhouette thoughtfully offers additional headroom and storage, not to mention easy access to the rear seats.
2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS from $156,800, porsche.com
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This article appears in the 29 Nov 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Winter 2021/22