The 2014 Audi RS5 earned top honors as “Convertible of the Year” in the Southern Automotive Media Association’s (SAMA) fourth annual “Topless in Miami” convertible competition June 12 in Key Bisscayne.
It was the second time the German luxury automaker has claimed top honors in the competition that draws the best drop-tops manufacturers from around the world have to offer. The Audi R8 Spyder won the initial competition as Convertible of the Year in 2011.
“The driving experience the RS5 offers in an overall luxurious package won over the judges,” said SAMA vice president Paul Borden, who served as coordinator of the event. “Certainly any one of the class winners could have won and nobody would have questioned it.
The competition was that close.” The RS5 also was recognized as the Luxury Convertible of the Year among the class winners.
Earning top honors in the other classes were the Bentley Continental GT in the Super Luxury/Exotic class, Ford Mustang GT in the Full-size competition, Chevrolet Corvette in Performance/Roadster, and Mazda MX5 Miata in Small Convertible.
The Corvette was a previous winner in the inaugural event in 2011. Other past winners of the Convertible of the Year award were the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S in 2013 and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster in 2012.
In all, 15 manufacturers entered 17 vehicles in the competition that drew over 70 automotive journalists, including SAMA members from Atlanta, to the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, which served as event headquarters.
In addition to Audi, Bentley, Chevrolet, Ford, and Mazda, participating manufacturers were BMW, Fiat, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche and Volkswagen.
A special exhibit at the Miami International Auto Show will feature the convertibles at a special Topless in Miami display. The 2014 show will run Nov. 7- 16 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Based in Miami, SAMA is an organization made up of journalists, media organizations, corporate communication specialists, marketing and advertising specialists, and manufacturers specializing in the automotive industry. Formed in 2007, the organization now has more than 100 members throughout Florida and the southeastern United States.
Each year, SAMA hosts a luncheon at the Miami International Auto Show and recognizes the outstanding vehicles in the show, including the coveted “Star of the Show.” Many of the SAMA selections have gone on to win national honors in the automotive industry media.
SAMA also sponsors the annual Rides- N-Smiles event in conjunction with the Homestead-Miami Speedway and the support of many auto manufacturers. The event is intended to bring smiles to patients and families in programs at Baptist Children’s Hospital and Miami Children’s Hospital as well as Wounded Warriors by giving them rides in “dream cars” around the speedway’s road course.