Top 10 best convertible cars
It's February, the morning temperatures are still dipping below freezing and there are still snow warnings in parts of the country. The perfect time to buy a convertible, yes?
Surprisingly, it could be. With demand at its lowest, prices for new and used convertibles are surprisingly reasonable. Best of all, modern drop-tops are so accomplished that there's really no reason why they shouldn't be used all year round.
With that in mind, we've rounded up ten of the best that should be attracting your attention...
It's the best-selling two-seat roadster in the country and has been for a number of years. Through all four of its generations, the MX-5 has embodied just a few simple principles – light weight, rear-wheel drive, and an accessible level of performance.
The current model is the best yet. Identical in size to the tiny first-gen car, it has perky engines, brilliant handling and is surprisingly adept at long journeys. A practical everyday car? Not if you're tall or regularly need to carry anything more than a soft weekend bag, but otherwise – yes. It even offers a choice between a traditional soft-top roof and a sleek folding hard-top.
There are few things more ostentatious than a big, powerful Jaguar convertible. The F-Type stands out from the crowd by virtue of its supermodel looks and fantastically shouty engines, which make every journey an event.
With a range starting at a fairly modest 296bhp and four cylinders, you can spec your way right up to the firebreathing V8 SVR model, and a myriad of alternatives in between ensure there's an F-Type for everyone.
Audi TT Cabriolet
The TT Is Audi's way of offering the R8's glitz and glamour in a smaller, everyday package. It retains a sharp-edged and modern design, but offers features that appeal to the accountant in all of us – such as front-wheel drive and even a diesel engine.
Of course, if you fancy a TT with a bit more go under its belt, you can have faster turbocharged petrol engines – ranging right up to the amazing four-wheel drive TT RS, with acceleration to rival many a supercar. Chuck in a gorgeous interior and remarkably sizeable boot and the TT is a great convertible option.
Cabriolets based on hatchbacks are often more compromised than those that were designed to be drop-tops from the off. The Mini is a bit different, though, as the joyous driving dynamics and quirky appeal haven't been dulled in the transition.
Whether you opt for sensible Cooper or crazy JCW engines, the Mini remains a hoot in the corners, and its handsome exterior and quality interior are carried over virtually unchanged. It's not exactly practical – the boot is tiny and you'd need a crowbar to fit humans in the rear seats – but it's packed with character.
Mercedes C-Class Convertible
If you're not looking for a sporty drive, and what you really want from a convertible is a good-looking boulevard cruiser instead, allow us to introduce you to the C-Class Convertible. With a prestigious badge, curvy bodywork and premium interior, it's the darling of many an Essex beauty queen.
It's remarkably practical for everyday use, too, as it remains totally hushed on the motorway thanks to a multi-layer roof and excellent sound deadening. Visibility isn't awful, and the boot and rear seats have room for real-sized suitcases and real-sized people. Amazing.
Porsche 911 Cabriolet
There's no sports car quite like the Porsche 911 – and no convertible sports car quite like the Porsche 911 Cabriolet. From the sonorous flat-six to the telepathic steering rack, the 911 is an absolute joy to pilot whether you're in a humble Carrera or the incredible Turbo S.
You're forced to sacrifice the rear seats in a 911 Convertible, but boot space – under the front bonnet – remains unchanged. We can't really think of a way we'd rather spend a weekend mini-break.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
Convertible BMWs have always enjoyed success. The 4 Series picks up where the old 3 Series Convertible left off, but this time offers a folding metal roof rather than a traditional soft-top.
This does wonders for refinement and indeed security, and with the roof up you'd barely even know the 4 Series was a convertible. Add in the usual BMW values of quality, dynamicism and athletic looks and you're on to a winner.
The original Porsche Boxster gained a slightly unfair reputation as a 'hairdresser's Porsche' – but it's really so much more than that. In fact, with near perfect weight distribution from its mid-mounted flat-four engine, it's one of the best-handling cars you can buy for less than £50,000.
Two boots – front and rear – up the practicality stakes, and though purists will complain that the four-pot turbo engine doesn't have the character of the old flat-six, it doesn't half go if you press on. It's a really lovely object.
For maximum opulence, serenity and glamour, you need a convertible Rolls-Royce. And you'll certainly want one after spending just a few seconds with the extraordinary Dawn. If money is no object, this is the convertible you simply must have.
It's approximately the size of a small European country, but significantly more luxurious, with carpets so thick you could lose yourself in them. Despite the fabric roof, it will waft along in total silence – as you'd expect from something that can easily cost over £300,000.
From blow-the-budget to bargain-basement, the 500C is the cheapest car on this list. It's an adorable city car which does without a traditional folding roof – but the extended fabric sunroof gives you almost all of the convertible experience without the associated drawbacks of a high price tag, reduced torsional stiffness and ungainly looks.
Spec your 500C with one of the perky TwinAir engines and you'll be amazed at how zingy it is to drive. It's also endlessly personalisable, which appeals to the 15-year-old girl within all of us.