Tips and advice

Top 3 used four-seat convertibles for £25,000

Dear Carbuyer, I want to buy a used premium convertible with four seats. What can I get for £25,000?

Convertible cars are still a slightly niche choice for UK drivers, as despite the strong appeal of roof-down motoring, many models offer limited practicality. However, this is where four-seat convertibles come into their own, combining greater versatility with the thrill of open air motoring. 

Top 10 best used convertibles 2022

Several manufacturers now offer four-seat convertible versions based on coupe and saloon models. Examples include the BMW 4 Series Cabriolet, which shares parts of its design and engine range with the 4 Series Coupe and 3 Series saloon models, along with the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet. The wide array of models available is great news for second-hand buyers, as there is now a broad selection of used four-seat convertibles available on the market.

One of the main advantages of buying a used four-seat convertible over a smaller model with two seats is the added practicality. Most models feature the same interior as their coupe and saloon counterparts, with enough space to comfortably sit four people and a decent sized boot large enough for the weekly shop or a weekend away. 

A good four-seat convertible must also be sharp to drive. Examples such as the BMW 2 Series Convertible can be comfortable around town and drive almost as sharply as a sports car along a twisty road. Most models are available with a variety of different engines, from powerful petrols to economical diesels, meaning there is a model to suit your needs and budget. 

When new, four-seat convertibles usually come with a premium price tag due to the added complexity of the folding roof. However, thanks to depreciation, there are several great models available for far less than what they cost new. 

This makes a used four-seat convertible good value for money, as nearly all cars of this type boast a luxury interior and an extensive list of standard equipment including items such as sat nav, a premium stereo and even heated and cooled seats, meaning you can put the roof down throughout the year. 

Our reader is looking for a used four-seat convertible with a premium badge for a budget of £25,000. We’ve scoured the internet to find three of the best models available. All three are capable cars, and every one has an array of luxury features and a powerful engine. 

The sporty choice: BMW 4 Series Convertible

  • FOR: Direct, dynamic driving experience, sporty feel
  • AGAINST: Cabin lacks flair and isn’t as luxurious as rivals’

The BMW 4 Series Convertible is an impressively versatile car. It remains very comfortable and relaxing, while also being the sharpest to drive of these three cars. There’s a wide range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, so you can prioritise performance or economy as you wish.

Although it’s not as opulent as those of the A5 or E-Class, the 4 Series’ interior is well made. Nevertheless, the ergonomics inside the BMW are excellent, while the equipment fitted as standard includes Bluetooth, cruise control and heated leather seats. The Professional Media Pack, which features upgraded infotainment, is worth looking out for. The rear seats aren’t great for adults, but are perfectly suitable for children. The boot space is 370 litres with the roof up, but 220 litres when it’s down. It is also worth noting that the 4 Series is the only car here with a convertible hard-top – something to consider if you’re after a tad more security.

We found a 19-plate, 18,000-mile 420i 2.0-litre petrol M Sport (35mpg, 0-60mph in 8.0 seconds) model for £24,000. If you would rather have a diesel model, these are also within budget. 

The balanced choice: Audi A5 Cabriolet

  • FOR: Great blend of performance and comfort, good tech
  • AGAINST: BMW is sportier and Merc more comfortable

The Audi A5 Cabriolet is a generally very refined and composed soft-top. The lack of a solid roof means it has less structural rigidity than the coupé version, resulting in a slightly unsettled ride in bumpy corners, but there’s plenty of grip. Cars with optional adaptive dampers are worth seeking, because they give greater flexibility to the driving experience. In comfort mode, the A5 is the best-riding car of this trio and the soft-top is insulating.

Interior quality in the A5 is incredible; everything feels upmarket and, while it’s arguably a little austere compared with the E-Class, it’s packed with tech. The Virtual Cockpit digital display is a highlight, while the central infotainment screen is slick and is controlled by a rotary dial, or via the touchscreen in later facelifted cars. The back seats, meanwhile, aren’t actually too bad for adults for this class of car, so children will have no problem sitting back there comfortably. Boot capacity is also good for a cabriolet. You get 320 litres with the roof down and 380 with it up.

We found an 18-plate, 25,000-mile A5 S line 2.0-litre diesel (61mpg, 0-60mph in eight seconds) for a little under £25,000. This is fitted with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dial cluster, sat-nav, a reversing camera and heated seats.

The luxury choice: Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

  • FOR: Incredibly luxurious, effortless cruiser, spacious seats
  • AGAINST: Not as dynamic as the other two cars here

The E-Class definitely has more of a focus on luxury cruising than the Audi and BMW; its handling places less emphasis on dynamics and rewards less in the corners than its rivals, but the flip side is that the ride quality is immensely smooth – even more so if you pick up a car with the optional air suspension.

The interior is a highlight of the E-Class; it has a real sense of occasion, and is a high-quality environment in which to travel. In this regard, it beats even the A5. While the standard 8.4-inch display works well enough, look out for the optional 12.3-inch screen, as well as the digital instrument cluster. Individual seats for rear passengers increase the already decent feeling of space in the E-Class; there’ll be no problem getting children or average-sized adults back there. The boot is quite shallow, but at 310 to 385 litres – depending on whether the roof is up or down – its capacity is about par with the other two entries.

Given the E-Class is technically in a class above the A5 and 4 Series, our budget only stretches to slightly older and higher-mileage examples. For £25,000, we found a four-year old 60,000-mile E300 AMG-Line Premium Plus with a 2.0-litre petrol engine (39mpg, 0-60mph in 6.6 seconds).

Carbuyer’s choice:

All three of the cars here are excellent used buys, but for us, the Audi A5 Cabriolet is our pick. The German brand has always made sharp looking cars, and the A5 is one of the best-looking with its full-frame front grill and slim headlights giving it a sporty look. While it can’t quite match the sharp handling of the 4 Series, it is still capable of roof-down thrills, and its refinement is closely matched to the E-Class. 

The Audi has the best in-car tech as well, with the slick Virtual Cockpit giving it a modern feel inside, along with a plushly specced interior. Plus, thanks to its spacious four seats and a practical sized boot, this is a convertible that you can use every day – not just on weekends. 

Want something fast with a fixed roof? Check out our top 3 sports coupes for £20,000

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