Convertible cars are perfect for adding a little bit of drop-top glamour to your trip to the shops. Sure, they might not be quite as practical as many hard-top alternatives, but nothing lets you appreciate an unexpectedly sunny day like a cabriolet.
Specifically looking for a drop-top with space for three friends? Read our list of the best four-seat convertibles and cabriolets for some roomier alternatives that might not appear on this list or click ‘login’ in the top-right-hand corner to sign in and configure a brand-new car. Here, you can also browse our extensive range of pre-reg, ex-demo, new, nearly new and used in-stock cars.
[2018 update: The exceptional Audi R8 Spyder clings on to the top spot in our list for 2018, ahead of the sporty Mazda MX-5 and the recently revised Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet. If you’re looking for something that’ll get you noticed, there’s also the uber-luxurious S-Class Cabriolet and the brutish Jaguar F-Type Convertible, while the new Mini Convertible makes its way into ninth place.]
Here are the best convertibles and cabriolets on sale:
- Audi R8 Spyder
- Mazda MX-5
- Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
- Audi TT Roadster
- Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
- Fiat 124 Spider
- Jaguar F-Type Convertible
- Audi A5 Cabriolet
- Mini Convertible
- Toyota Aygo X-Wave
If you want a drop-top with a little more space, check out our list of the best four-seat convertibles. Click ‘login’ in the top-right-hand corner to sign up and configure a new car or browse our extensive range of new, nearly new and pre-reg stock cars.
1. Audi R8 Spyder
The Audi R8 Spyder takes the standard R8 coupe and swaps its metal roof for a folding fabric item that’ll let you experience some serious wind-in-the-hair thrills. For one thing, it lets you hear the glorious wail of the R8’s 5.2-litre V10 engine even more clearly as you leap from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of almost 200mph.
Sadly, all this loveliness comes at a price – it’s the most expensive car to buy, and to run, on our list. It’s not particularly practical, either – you only get two seats and its 112-litre boot will struggle to hold more than a few small soft bags – but it combines drop-top thrills with supercar speed in a way few cars can match.
2. Mazda MX-5
Few small convertibles have enjoyed as much success as the iconic Mazda MX-5. The latest model’s cheeky styling, affordable price tag and perky petrol engines help make it a joy to drive and one of the best convertibles currently on sale. Its responsive steering, sporty suspension and lightweight body give it an appetite for twisting country roads but without an expensive thirst for fuel, so you can stretch out every Sunday drive without worrying what effect it’ll have on your wallet.
Unfortunately, it’s not particularly practical and even the fastest 2.0-litre models takes 7.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph – way behind a modern hot hatch. Still, there’s no looking past the fact that the MX-5 is a seriously fun small car, and one of the best bang-for-your-buck convertibles on sale.
3. Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
Not sold on the idea of a sporty soft-top? Fancy something a bit more relaxing? You’ll want to check out the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet. This elegant four-seater convertible is more at home cruising the boulevards of southern France than tearing through Alpine passes thanks to its plush interior and fantastically comfortable (but optional) air suspension.
Unfortunately, the slightly clattery diesel engines do spoil its relaxed image slightly, and the rear seats are only really big enough for kids. Many alternatives have more intuitive infotainment systems too, but in spite of these flaws, this topless version of the C-Class is still one of the best drop-tops you can buy.
4. Audi TT Roadster
The latest Audi TT Roadster’s sharp styling and beefy engines certainly help make it feel a bit brawnier than the car it replaced – especially in range-topping TT RS guise, where you get a rip-roaring 2.5-litre engine with 395hp. Even the standard 2.0-litre petrol model feels pretty nippy, however, and its grippy four-wheel-drive system means your fun doesn’t have to stop each time the heavens open.
Sadly, with the roof up you’ll hear quite a lot of wind noise at motorway speeds, and the space taken up by the roof’s folding mechanisms mean you lose out on 25 litres of boot space and the coupe’s two rear seats. If you rarely carry passengers and don’t plan to do many long journeys, however, the TT makes a great small soft-top sports car.
5. Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
The Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet is one of the most opulent convertibles on sale. It comes with the same uber-plush interior as its saloon and coupe siblings, but swaps out their metal roofs for a folding fabric one that makes driving along feel like you’re sunbathing on the deck of a luxury yacht. It even comes with a clever suspension system that stops its enormous body leaning in tight corners to make it as relaxing to drive as possible.
Sadly, despite its huge size, rear passenger space isn’t particularly generous – especially with the roof up – and even entry-level diesel models will set you back more than £115,000. If you’ve got a superyacht-sized budget to spend on your next convertible, however, you’ll struggle to find anything more luxurious than the S-Class Cabriolet.
6. Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat’s 124 Spider shares plenty of its oily mechanical bits with the Mazda MX-5, but throws in a good sprinkling of Italian retro styling to help it stand out from its Japanese cousin. Also different are a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine in place of the Mazda’s 1.5 and 2.0-litre units and some slightly softer suspension to help the car better deal with rough UK roads.
As a result, the 124 is more comfortable than the MX-5, but doesn’t feel quite as sporty. It’s also more expensive – especially if you go for the most powerful Abarth version – and its turbocharged engine isn’t quite as cheap to run as the Mazda’s non-turbo 1.5-litre unit. If you fancy a small, sporty soft-top but don’t want a run-of-the-mill MX-5, the Fiat’s still an excellent choice.
7. Jaguar F-Type
The Jaguar F-Type Convertible might not be the ideal drop-top for retiring wallflowers, but if you’re looking to get noticed in your new cabriolet, the raucous V8 in high-spec R models will do a fabulous job. This 550hp supercharged unit will thrust the F-Type from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and on to a 186mph top speed – waking the dead as it goes.
Sadly, its interior design doesn’t quite live up to its flamboyant exterior and some alternatives have more intuitive, more high-tech infotainment systems and plusher cabins. What they can’t match, however, is the F-Type’s brash, old-school thrills and the aural assault you get on a spirited drive with the roof down.
8. Audi A5 Cabriolet
The Audi A5 comes with one of the classiest and best-built cabins around, so what better way to show it off to the world than by taking the roof off? The upmarket A5 Cabriolet lets you do just that. It’s an excellent drop-top cruiser that’ll dispatch hundreds of motorway miles with ease during the week and make the most of a sunny Sunday drive at the weekend.
It might not be quite as much fun to drive as the likes of the BMW 4 Series Convertible, or come with any particularly high-performance engines like the Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet, but it’s relaxing to drive and fairly cheap to run. There’s even just enough space in the back to bring two friends along for the ride.
9. Mini Convertible
The Mini Convertible takes the already characterful Mini hatchback and lops its head off – well, replaces it with a folding fabric roof at least. This turns the otherwise all-weather hatch into a summer specialist that’ll let you make the most of every sliver of sunshine a British summer has to offer. Its cabin really is a cut above what you’ll find in most small convertibles, too, and a new infotainment system for 2018 makes it easier to use than ever.
Unfortunately, the convertible model is quite a bit more expensive than the standard hatchback, and there’s very little space in the back seats and the boot. As a result, if you’re looking for a family-friendly drop-top, you may be better off with one of its slightly less characterful, but altogether more practical, alternatives.
10. Toyota Aygo X-Wave
The Toyota Aygo X-Wave might not be considered a true convertible by some, but fold back its huge fabric roof panel and it’ll let in just as much warm air and sunshine as any small soft-top. It also has a reasonably big boot for such a small car and its dinky dimensions mean it’ll be a doddle to nip through tight city streets on your way to the beach.
Sure, its 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine isn’t particularly powerful and means the Aygo has its work cut out keeping up with fast-moving motorway traffic, but it’s pretty quiet around town and impressively frugal, too. The biggest feather in the Aygo X-Wave’s cap is, however, its price – it’s by far and away the cheapest car on our list.
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