The 10 best convertibles and cabrios

The 10 best convertibles and cabrios
The 10 best convertibles and cabrios

You could argue that wanting a convertible in the UK is not a sensible idea, given our climate. But at least when it’s raining or cold you can have the roof up, and some of these have metal tops anyway. So let’s not be curmudgeons, let’s celebrate the sun and wind in our face and hair, the wind-burn and skin blemishes, the flies and the lorry fumes. Oh, we’re not being curmudgeons?

Okay, here’s the top 10 then.

1. Porsche 718 Boxster

Porsche 718 Boxter

Oh don’t go on, yes we’re aware it only has a flat-four instead of the flat-six, and yes you’re right, it doesn’t sound as charismatic. But the 718 Boxster is still a mighty piece of kit, with tons of grunt, impeccable chassis and handling, amazing steering, and a practicality too often missing from this kind of car.

2. Audi TT Roadster

Audi TT Roadster

It may not quite have the handling and steering involvement of our winner, but the TT Roadster is still a fine driver’s car, for less money. There’s also a wide range of engines, everything from a 178bhp 1.8-litre to the 395bhp engine in the RS. You can even have it with a diesel for heaven’s sake. But bear in mind the moving roof means those small rear seats are gone.

3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Convertible

This E-Class is more of a laid-back cruiser, or at least when compared to the previous pair, and its ability to waft you along at pace is pretty peerless. Of the wide range of engines on offer we’d choose the 30-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine from the E400 for the best combination of power and refinement.

4. Mini Convertible

The new model will hopefully take over where the previous model left off, since that one was a thrilling combination of fun, handling and good manners. Often losing the roof means losing some integrity unless you double the weight, but somehow Mini has pulled it off with this Convertible. Just go steady on the options lists or you’ll get a nosebleed.

5. BMW 4 Series Convertible

BMW 4 Series Convertible

There’s a lot to like here, everything from a folding metal roof for security, to the practicality of two sensible rear seats. It may not look quite as good as its solid-roofed sibling, but it’s still a great drive. The four-cylinder engine range is broad and realistic, but we’d ignore that and go for the 322bhp 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine as it sounds great and adds the sort of pace those looks demand.

6. Audi A5 Cabriolet

If you’re after a laser-focused cabriolet with intense driving manners, then look elsewhere. But if you want to waft along at more reasonable speeds in the fresh air – maybe, for example, you’re worried your syrup of figs doesn’t have strong enough glue – then the A5 Cabriolet is perfect. The cabin is full of not just fresh air, but also of high tech, high quality and various other high-type things that we can’t recall right this minute.

7. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Convertible

The second Merc in the top 10 may be being replaced soon but it’s a handsome devil, with a cabin so richly appointed you’d think you were in an even more expensive car. You can also buy one to suit your temperament. If you want sensible running costs with comfort and class then you’ll go for the one with the four-cylinder diesel engine. If however you want to go classily berserk then there’s the C 63 S with its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 for when the foam starts appearing at the edges of your mouth.

8. Audi A3 Cabriolet

Audi’s third entry in this top 10 shows the versatility of the line-up. Based on the saloon, as opposed to the hatchback it used to be based on, the latest version is a smooth looker that was made even smoother by the 2016 update. It’s a composed and stylish drop-top that has decent performance and handling to back up the looks.

9. Mercedes-Benz SLC

Mercedes SLC 43

This is hardly in its first flush of youth, but the SLC still handles better than the SLK ever did. It remains more of a cruiser rather than an outright performance monster, but as a relaxed two-seater it still scores decent points. If you wanted to push it further the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 adds some serious V6 punch.

10. Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

There’s little point in delving into the minutiae of the suspension or how this cabriolet handles on the edge. You’re either going to want one because of how it looks or you won’t. Yes, we’re all shallow, don’t worry about it. You’re more likely to buy one because of how it matches your wardrobe than because of its choice of engines. We think it looks funky. We’ll get our coat, that gorgeous little felt and cashmere one we found at Camden Market.

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