Mustang Convertibles vs Coupes: Pros and Cons

Mustang Convertibles vs Coupes: Pros and Cons

Last Updated February 8, 2021 | Chris Cervenka
Contents

The Mustang Fastback or Coupe: Pros and Cons

To some, the most visually appealing Mustang is a coupe. There’s just something about a sloped roofline that makes the Mustang truly a pony car. Most coupe owners will argue that Mustang coupes and fastbacks are able to handle better due to the additional structural rigidity from the roof. This is true, but there are plenty of chassis stiffening options for convertible owners as well.

There are a few reasons as to why some Mustang owners would prefer to own a coupe or fastback over a convertible:

  • Looks: Some would argue that the coupe or fastback looks better with a sloped roofline versus a convertible. This is strictly opinion, however.
  • Weight Savings: The convertible top itself and the motors and mechanisms that power it add additional weight to the vehicle. For example, a base S550 GT Manual Fastback is 3,705 pounds whereas its convertible counterpart is 3,891 pounds. It may not sound like much of a difference, but a general rule of thumb is that dropping 100 pounds is good for a tenth in the quarter-mile.
  • Building a Race Car?: If you’re looking to build a road course, autocross, or drag car, all of them have limitations against convertibles such as roll bars and additional rollover prevention modifications. A coupe or fastback will definitely save you a bit of money in getting your car ready for the races.
  • Safety: Adding to the previous point, rollover safety is definitely hindered when it comes to convertible cars. Obviously, if convertibles weren’t safe, then automakers wouldn’t be able to manufacture or sell them. The fact of the matter is that convertibles aren’t as safe as coupes/fastbacks when it comes to rollover situations.
  • Leaks and Seals: If we’re talking about an older Mustang, then it’s obvious that the lack of additional weatherstripping and seals will result in less potential for leaks. This is always something to consider when taking on a restoration.
  • Yellow Mustang coupe

Mustang Fastback/Coupe Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
Increased structural rigidity Can’t drop the top on a nice day
Weight savings off the bat Cramped interior
Safer than a convertible for rollovers
Leaks and seals over time

Mustang Convertibles: Pros & Cons

"cool breeze in your hair"

While some may long for the rigidity of a hardtop or coupe, others may prefer to drop the top! Picture this: It’s early on a summer Sunday morning and you want to take your Mustang out for a spin. It’s a crisp 72 degrees with a slight breeze as the sun breaks through the trees. If you’re getting your Mustang ready to go on a cruise, do you want the ability to put the windows down, or the convertible top down. This is why convertibles are popular - for those perfect weather situations where just about nothing feels as good as the cool breeze in your hair!

That said, there are also a few other reasons why convertibles may be the better option for you.

  • Looks: Just like coupes, some people may prefer the iconic look of a convertible with the top down, especially when paired with a styling bar. After all, the Mustang has been offered in a convertible dating back all the way to 1964-1/2.
  • Freedom: One of the main advantages to choosing a convertible over a coupe is the freedom to put the top down whenever you want. The best a coupe owner can do is put the windows down, and sometimes that just isn’t enough.
  • Cruiser: If your Mustang will be a cruiser or daily driver, a convertible may be the better choice for you. The freedom you get from being able to drop the top anytime you’d like could outweigh the restrictive hardtop interior, especially when the sun is baking down on the car.

Mustang Convertible Styling Bars
Mustang Convertible With A Styling Bar

Mustang Convertible Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
Ability to drop the top on a nice day Need additional chassis stiffening to equalize handling capabilities
Ideal for daily drivers and cruisers Most are automatic transmissions, manuals are harder to find
Unlimited headroom for all passengers Heavier, which means slower
Wind in your hair Potential maintenance costs

Mustang Coupes vs Convertibles: Advantages and Disadvantages

Black GT Fastback Autocross CJ’s Black 2015 GT on the Autocross Course

Now that you know a couple of reasons to go coupe over convertible or vice versa, it’s time to decide which best fits your lifestyle. It’s clear that if you're a performance-minded enthusiast, then a coupe is the better choice for you. This is due to the fact a convertible will need additional chassis stiffening (adding more weight) in order to have similar structural integrity characteristics as a coupe. On top of that, many road courses, autocross, and dragstrip organizations will not allow convertibles to race without the addition of a roll bar. Again, more weight on a car that’s already another ~100-200 pounds heavier than the coupe. Mustang convertible prices also tend to be a little higher.

However, if none of that matters to you and you’re all about daily driving and cruising, then a convertible may be the best choice for you. The freedom to drop the top whenever you like and experience the wind blowing through your hair is definitely something you can’t get from a coupe.

Mustang Convertibles vs Coupes: Pros and Cons

Whether it’s your 1st Mustang or your 50th, sometimes it can be tough to decide between a Mustang fastback or coupe and a convertible for your next pony. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you enjoy maximum handling capability, you just can’t beat the structural integrity that comes with a hardtop. On the other hand, if you enjoy beachside cruises or early morning drives on your favorite backroad, a convertible may be better for you.

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