Tesla Model S Convertible Test Drive Review

OCT 30 2015 BY MARK KANE 16


Newport Convertible Tesla Model S

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.”

Overall look:

“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.”

Source: Autoweek

Categories: Tesla

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16 Comments on "Tesla Model S Convertible Test Drive Review"

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I don’t get it… this is a group whose whole business is to create convertibles out of normal cars… but in my eyes they have yet to make one that is even remotely good looking. In every case they make the car look worse. How do they stay in business???


I love convertibles, but I’m not interested in this one at all. (And not just because of the “bitch basket” configuration.) When announced, I thought I would like it. No longer.

I’ve seen renders of the Model S converted to a two door convertible, but nothing in real life. I can’t imagine moving the B pillar is something a third party could do without a crazy stack of money.

I hope that eventually, Tesla produces such a car because the third party solutions don’t look so good right now.

Well, Tesla’s first car, the Roadster, was a convertible, so I suppose it’s not completely out of the question. But I doubt Tesla is going to compromise the Model S’s five-star safety rating by making a convertible version.

the roadster is a 2-door car and not a 4-door car as is the model s. i think a 4-door convertible is very difficult to do in general, which is why convertibles tend to be coupes.

i tend to agree with the other posters, this is a modification that they probably should not have bothered to make.

I don’t like the MS as a convertible. It simply does not have good looks without a roof. Convertibles need to look mean and sporty like a Lotus Elise. They need to look like a PREDATOR on the hunt!

A Model S with no roof looks as if it drove too fast under a low barrier and the top sheared off.

I suppose my big problem with the Model S as a convertible, or any car that is modified in such a fashion, is you’re making it into something it’s not supposed to be. Something it isn’t suited to be.

It’s kind of like trying to replace a gentleman’s top hat with a baseball cap to try and make him look ‘cool’. It doesn’t work.

Even if you eliminate the side pillars, you’ve still got a ridiculously slanted windscreen. In fact, without the upper half, the Model S looks utterly unremarkable – a bland, straight chassis with a nose-cone on the front.

It’s like an artist’s painting left half finished.

Sometimes, car conversions look good, but most of the time they are simply the tampering of an art piece. It’s like drawing a pair of glasses on the Mona Lisa. Usually the best looking cabriolets are those which are designed for the purpose from the ground-up.

Very True!& nicely put…, As the old saying goes., “you can’t drink Whiskey from a bottle of wine”

It’s hideous

I could see a large ragtop as a better option if you wanted to preserve the looks and get the convertible feel. The existing sunroof is pretty damn big already though

Just awful. Gross. Ugliest thing since the convertible Nissan Rogue.

Perfect car for Scottsdale. For people with a lot of money and bad taste.

I like the fact that they left the B-pillar in there. It is like a Rabbit convertible (or Cabrio).

The car looks like a cross between a Miata and a Rabbit convertible.


The roofline of the Model S is what makes it eye catching

removing that makes it look weird af

gee, wonder what effect the hay-bale behind the rear seat has on range..

The silver one looks better, I’m not understanding the difference? (why does the black one have two Feet of stacked material and the silver one not?) The top-up Karmann Ghia effect is interesting..