Tesla Model S Convertible Test Drive Review
The Tesla Model S convertible by Newport Convertible Engineering didn’t get too much love from us when we first saw it. The reason behind that is because of a difficult convertible conversion of a four-door sedan (and rear shock tower problem), which we feel resulted in a questionable-looking car.
According to a review by Autoweek, as of August of this year, Newport Convertible Engineering has made a total eight of such conversions (maybe more today) for about $49,000 each (plus car).
Autoweek tested the car and notes that wind noise is muted even when well underway with the top up. With the top dropped, you lose rear vision, but still there is no buffeting inside the cabin up to the tested 50 mph.
Structural rigidity was called solid:
“Crossing a couple rain gutters, the whole car stays stiff, and there’s no squeaking or creaking to indicate a decline in torsional rigidity. We found the same stiff bodies on other NCE convertibles we’ve driven in the past. Reinforcements are added around the door sills, pillars and window frame…”
“The electrically operated top closes via a button on the dash and is finished off with two easy-to-use manual latches on the edges of the header. A power-latching system is available for more dinero.”
“Our first view of the Tesla project car came with the top down. It stacks behind the rear seat in a big pile that blocks rear vision from the driver’s seat. It looked a little like one of those original Beetle convertibles. The top could stack lower, but there is the problem of the rear shock towers, which are located right there in the corners. The shock tower location necessitates that everything to do with the top be built around them. This encroaches on rear-seat shoulder room, but not too much else. You can still seat three across in the rear seat, but they have to be a very skinny three. Newport could engineer a new rear suspension that allows for a lower top stack on the Tesla, and has such plans in the books should any customer want to pursue that avenue, but such a deal would be cost-prohibitive.
Likewise the B-pillars have to stay, connected by a basket-handle structural bar. Leaving the B-pillar in place allows Newport Convertible Engineering to keep the same rear doors and windows.”