Best convertibles

Last updated: Feb 4, 2014

Highly desirable and with thrills to match, convertibles offer a unique package that no other style of car can match. Great with the roof either up or down, the versatility of having a folding roof means it is a great car to own all year round.

Convertibles come in all shapes and sizes, from the cute Citroen DS3 Cabrio and Fiat 500C to the exciting Porsche Boxster and Mazda MX-5, all offer wind-in-the-hair thrills when the sun finally decides to shine.

So if the recent warm weather has got you lusting after a convertible, take a look at our comprehensive top 10 – detailing the best ways to go topless this summer.

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

As a normal hatchback, the Volkswagen Golf is one of our favourite cars, so it's easy to understand why we rate the Volkswagen Golf cabriolet model so highly. The folding fabric roof takes just 9.5 seconds to retract, operates at speeds of up to 18mph and leaves a reasonable 250 litres of boot space when stowed away. The interior can feel quite breezy without the wind guard in place, but you don't buy a convertible to feel isolated from the elements. You can buy the Golf with various engines and specifications, stretching from the cheap-to-run 1.6-litre diesel to the fast Volkswagen Golf R convertible. Read more.

Key points

4.4 / 5
Price 
£21,800 - £28,340

Porsche Boxster roadster

The Porsche Boxster is one of the best sports cars on sale today – being huge fun to drive on twisty roads, yet also quiet on the motorway, and comfortable around town. The Porsche’s roof can drop in nine seconds, while the sports car has two boots – one at the front and one at back – which combine to give it 280 litres of luggage capacity. Even the standard car is quick with 0-60mph taking 5.8 seconds, while the Porsche Boxster S does the same sprint in only 5.1 seconds. Read more.

Key points

4.4 / 5
Price 
£38,810 - £52,879

Audi TT Roadster

When the original Audi TT was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1995 its looks stunned the crowds, and it went on to be a huge success. The latest version still has the old car’s great looks and solid build quality, even if it isn't as much fun to drive as the more expensive Porsche Boxster. The fabric roof keeps the TT’s interior quiet when it’s up, and free from wind buffeting when it is down. Available with a range of engines, the TDI diesel is fast yet economical, while the very quick Audi TT RS Roadster will challenge some of the fastest sports cars for straight line speed. Read more.

Key points

4.3 / 5
Price 
£48,280 - £52,700

Mazda MX-5 roadster

In 1989, Mazda spotted a gap in the market for a fun sports car that was cheap to run and reliable to own. The result was the Mazda MX-5 and it was a huge sales success all across the globe. The car is now in its third incarnation, and is still great fun to drive, while being safer and more usable on a daily basis. It's not lightening quick, but the MX-5 should prove fast enough for most tastes, and if you opt for the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe, you'll benefit from a folding metal roof and better sound insulation as a result. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£18,495 - £23,695

Audi A5 Cabriolet

The Audi A5 Cabriolet is a handsome car that's available with a wide range of petrol or diesel engines for performance, economy or a mix of both. No matter what model you go for, the A5 has a very quiet interior – especially with the optional acoustic roof, which lowers in 17 seconds at speeds of up to 30mph. The A5’s not as fun to drive as some of the cars here, but it does have a decent 380-litre boot. Its feels very upmarket, but the cramped rear seats and slightly firm rides might not suit all tastes. Read more.

Key points

4.0 / 5
Price 
£31,965 - £46,500

BMW 1 Series convertible (2008-2014)

The BMW 1 Series convertible is cheap to run and fun to drive, and you can even operate the roof at speeds of up to 31mph. With the roof up, the BMW 1 Series has 370 litres of boot space, which drops to 260 litres when lowered, making it one of the more practical cars on this list. It does have quite a high asking price, but given the badge appeal and strong used values, the 1 Series is actually quite an attractive proposition. Read more.

Key points

3.6 / 5

MINI convertible

As a normal hatchback the MINI is not particularly practical, and the MINI convertible is even less so. The boot is just 125 litres, and the rear seats are cramped even for children. But if neither of those factors put you off then the MINI convertible offers fun, nippy handling and a roof that can drop in just 15 seconds. The MINI is also one of the cheapest convertibles on offer in the UK, is economical on fuel, and is genuinely quick in MINI Cooper S trim. Read more.

Key points

3.5 / 5
Price 
£16,420 - £26,565

Audi A3 cabriolet (2008-2013)

The Audi A3 Cabriolet is a direct rival for the BMW 1 Series convertible. The fabric roof means the Audi boasts a decent 260-litre boot, which expands to 674 litres with the rear seats folded down. While the BMW is more fun on twisty roads, the Audi is easy to drive, although its firm suspension means it does suffer from some vibrations on rough surfaces. The cherry on the cake is the A3's brilliant range of engines – from an economical diesel to a super-quick petrol. Read more.

Key points

3.4 / 5

Citroen DS3 Cabrio convertible

The Citroen DS3 Cabrio’s roof is a bit different to the other in this list - offering what is essentially a full-length fabric sunroof rather than a proper convertible. The upshot is that the car still has door frames so you get a near-convertible experience, but with less wind buffeting. The boot has a 245-litre capacity, but it can’t be opened with the roof fully retracted, but it does boast three rear seat belts so there's just about enough room for five at a squeeze. Read more.

Key points

3.3 / 5
Price 
£15,205 - £29,310

Mercedes SLK cabriolet

The Mercedes SLK is like a baby version of the luxurious Mercedes SL convertible. That means the SLK gets a folding metal roof, for a quiet and secure interior, plus a decent 335-litre boot. That drops to a less impressive 225 litres with the roof down, but practicality still isn't bad for a two-seat convertible. You can choose from a range of petrol engines – for economy or performance – or a frugal diesel for rock-bottom running costs. Although enjoyable to drive, the Mercedes can’t match rivals like the Porsche Boxster for thrills. Read more.

Key points

3.0 / 5
Price 
£33,150 - £55,345

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