While the weather in Britain may be notoriously unreliable, convertible cars are very popular in this country. When the weather is good, driving with the roof down can feel very special and a convertible car with fun handling and a nice interior makes the whole experience even sweeter.
In this guide we pick out five of the best convertible cars that are currently available in Britain’s car market.
What to look for in a convertible car
Convertible cars typically appeal because they are stylish and sporty-looking. When the sun comes out, they offer the appealing opportunity to drive around with the roof down and the wind in your hair. Many also have impressive performance figures to complement their sporty appearance too.
Even better, while some older convertibles had to compromise on handling and refinement to integrate a new folding roof, these problems rarely apply with current examples on the market. Read on to see our pick of today's top convertible cars which feature either two, four or five seats.
Best 2 seater convertibles
Porsche 718 Boxster
If you want your new convertible car to be really fast and sharp behind the wheel, then there’s very little that can compete with the Boxster in these areas.
In its quickest guise, the 718 Boxster will cover the 0-62mph sprint in under five seconds. Not only fast, the Boxster also boasts very sharp handling, an appealing luxury interior and reasonable running costs for a sports car.
While far from being the most practical convertible around, the Boxster does offer noticeably more cabin and boot space than other quick convertibles like the BMW Z4 or Jaguar F-TYPE. The Porsche 718 Boxster is undoubtedly one of the best convertible cars on the market.
Priced from just over £30k, the Mercedes SLC is a sleek two-seater sports car recommended to those that value comfort, refinement and fuel economy. When the British weather is having one of its many rough patches, you’ll certainly appreciate the high quality metal-folding hard-top roof and the high quality ventilation system.
It’s also one of the few cars of its type to offer a really punchy diesel version, suiting those who use their sports cars to cover large distances, thanks to its extra range and lower running costs. The diverse engine range includes diesels which are not that expensive to run and still pack a punch, but if you want truly spectacular pace there's the V6-run AMG derivate to consider.
The Mazda MX-5 is one of the most iconic sports cars in the world, and has proven a very big hit with convertible buyers in Britain over the last few decades.
One of the main reasons for its continued success is its price. Starting from under £20k, the MX-5 is more accessible than virtually every other sporty convertible around. Another key appealing factor of the MX-5 is that it’s low-slung, lightweight body helps to deliver an impressively agile drive.
The MX-5 may not offer that much in the power department, but it’s very responsive steering and plentiful front-end grip make for an entertaining experience. If you want an affordable, fun and one of the best convertibles, the Mazda MX-5 remains a name that has to be considered.
Since early 2017, the current-generation MX-5 has been available with a metal-folding roof (known as the Retractable Fastback) as well as its more traditional fabric soft-top.
Best 4 or 5 seater convertibles
Audi A3 Cabriolet
One of the most sought-after and best convertible cars in the British car market nowadays, the A3 Cabriolet offers swarve, luxury appeal and a smooth ride.
There’s a diverse mixture of engines for the A3, from frugal diesels to potent petrol units and the S tronic automatic gearbox available is great.
In terms of pricing, the Audi A3 Cabriolet is a lot more affordable than many of the other German convertibles on the market, yet it doesn’t really compromise on standard equipment or luxury feel.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
The BMW 4 Series Convertible is a luxurious car that’s more practical than a lot of other options. The metal-folding roof of the 4 Series provides excellent insulation when it’s in use. The car remains impressively refined when the roof is down as well, thanks in part to the car’s removable wind deflector.
Priced from around £35k, the 4 Convertible is heavier than other versions of the 4 Series which takes away some of the sportiness from the drive. It’s still comfortable and sharp on the road however and there are numerous driving settings which the driver can select to suit different circumstances and style of driving. Boot space varies between 220 litres with the roof down and a sizeable 370 litres when the roof is up.
The latest MINI Convertible has two doors but enough room to seat four people and it has virtually all the qualities which other MINI cars boast. It’s agile on the road, has strong performing engines, respectable efficiency and running costs and attractive premium quality. There’s a vast range of personalisation options allowing customers to tweak their MINI Convertible to suit very particular tastes.
Standard kit includes luxuries like an infotainment screen, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and a reversing camera. There are a lot of quality features with the MINI Convertible which make one of the top convertible cars available to buy.
DS 3 Cabrio
The DS 3 Cabrio is a rarity in today’s new car market, as it is one of the best convertibles with as many as five seats available. The cool and modern styling of this car is another way it manages to stand out.
It’s not all just about the styling though, the fabric roof of the Cabrio can be opened to varying degrees and operated at speeds of up to 75mph. The hatchback version of the DS 3 has a noticeably stiffer body, but the Cabrio still reasonably well, particularly if you go with one of the lightweight but punchy petrol engines available.
The DS3 Cabrio is also impressively practical for what is a fairly small convertible and certainly feels superior in this department compared to other stylish cabriolets like the Fiat 500C.