Competition is good, in most situations. When it comes to the Annual Topless in Miami event, several vehicle manufacturers come together to put their best convertible or panoramic roof-top vehicle up for a challenge against vehicles in its segment, the competition is tight.
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We recently took a trip to sunny and HOT Miami, FL for the Southern Automotive Media Association’s (SAMA) sixth annual Topless in Miami event. Our participation required our keen attention to drive and critique many popularized convertible vehicles, in addition to many new vehicles in other segments that featured a large panoramic sunroof. The vehicles included in the competition included the Mercedes-AMG SL65 Roadster, Mercedes-AMG SLC43, Chevrolet Camaro, Porsche 911 Carrera, Mazda MX-5 Miata, VW Beetle Dune, Mini Cooper, Ford Mustang GT Convertible, Nissan 370Z Roadster, Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, BMW X5 xDrive 40e, Infiniti QX60, Hyundai Genesis Sedan, Hyundai Santa Fe, Chrysler Pacifica, and Nissan Murano.
Taking home the win in several of the designated categories, which were some of our very own selections during our voting process, included the new Mercedes-AMG SL65, Hyundai Genesis Sedan, Mercedes-AMG SLC43, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Chevrolet Camaro, and Chrysler Pacifica.
Apart from several manufacturers participating and sponsoring the Topless in Miami event, the Haartz Corporation was on hand to share their wealth of knowledge and involvement in being the sole provider of fabric convertible tops of such vehicles in the United States of America. Not only did we take in the stunning sights and sounds of the beautiful cars and The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne hotel accommodations made possible for us by Nissan and crew at SAMA, but we enjoyed our discovery of how Haartz has pioneered the industry when it comes to fabric materials for all soft-top convertible and roadster vehicles you see on the road today.
We will be sure to make plans to make it a tradition of attending the Topless in Miami event and share our exclusive coverage.
The complete press release with additional highlights and details on the vehicle categories and winners is available below.
MERCEDES-BENZ SL65 AMG SELECTED ‘CONVERTIBLE OF THE YEAR’ AT ANNUAL ‘TOPLESS’ COMPETITION
The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG, a spectacular combination of automotive performance and luxury, captured top honors Thursday (June 2) in the sixth annual Topless in Miami Presented by Haartz, competition conducted by the Southern Automotive Media Association and featuring the top convertibles on the market today.
Headquartered at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, 44 SAMA members spent the day rating a field of 16 vehicles in six categories. They selected the SL65 as the winner of the Super Luxury/Exotic class as well as awarding it the title “Convertible of the Year” in South Florida.
The 2017 SL65 AMG is the second vehicle from the German automaker to receive such recognition from the automotive journalists as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster was Convertible of the Year in 2012. Other past winners were the Porsche Boxster GTS in 2015, Audi RS5 in 2014, Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet in 2013, and Audi R8 Spyder in the inaugural event in 2011.
Among other class winners for 2016, the Mazda MX-5 Miata was voted the top Small Convertible for the third consecutive year and the Chevrolet Camaro was selected the winner of the Performance Full-Size category.
The Mercedes-Benz SLC43 was No. 1 in the Performance Roadster class, giving Mercedes-Benz two winners for 2016.”Mercedes has a broad range of open-air vehicles — both soft-top and retractable hard-top from the Smart ForTwo to the E-Class Cabriolet to the Mercedes SL65 — they have a vehicle to suit drivers from all walks of life,” said Matthew Williams, director of business development for the Haartz Corporation.
“There was a great mix of vehicles at this year’s competition — from the classic sports cars to the high-end luxury vehicles. Our soft-top technology and innovation was well represented in the field.”
Also, for the first time vehicles with Panoramic sunroofs were included in the competition with the Hyundai Genesis winning the Panoramic Luxury class and the new Chrysler Pacifica the Panoramic Affordable category.
“It was an extremely close competition this year, and every vote counted,” SAMA President Jose “Pepe” Delfino said. “It’s not an easy job to distinguish among such great vehicles, but our members look forward to it each year.”
Other vehicles entered in the event were the Porsche 911 Carrera S (Super Luxury/Exotic), VW Beetle Dune and Mini Cooper (Small), Ford Mustang GT (Performance Full-Size), Nissan 370Z and Alfa Romeo 4C Spider (Performance Roadster), BMW X5 xDrive 40e and Infiniti QX60 (Panoramic Luxury), and Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Murano (Panoramic Affordable).
Winners and other entries from the competition will be on display at a special exhibit during the annual Miami International Auto Show Sept. 10-18 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. SAMA is an organization of automotive journalists, representatives of media organizations, corporate communications specialists, marketing and advertising representatives, and auto manufacturers related to South Florida’s dynamic automotive industry.
Based in Miami, it was formed in March 2007 and has grown to include more than 140 members from around the South and country. For more information, visit its website www.samaonline.org
The Haartz Corporation (Haartz) is a world leader in highly engineered and uniquely designed convertible toppings and interior surface materials. The company’s world headquarters and North American manufacturing operations are located in Acton, Massachusetts, with additional manufacturing in Mannheim, Germany and coming soon to Pune, India.
Beyond these manufacturing locations, Haartz maintains offices in Detroit, Munich, Tokyo, Delhi, Irapuato, Mexico, Shanghai and Chongqing, China. In April 2016, the company announced a strategic alliance for the Chinese automotive market by entering a joint venture with the Minth Group, the new company, to be known as Haartz-Minth (Ningbo) Automotive Ltd. Employing over 400 people worldwide, Haartz has been a trusted automotive supplier since 1907, and continues to be privately owned and operatedby the Haartz family. For more information, visit www.haartz.com Join the conversation on Twitter, @Haartz.