Spring is finally in the air, and with it comes a spike in sales of soft-top cars, with demand for ragtops shooting up in line with the temperature.
But if you want to go topless, what are the best options – here are our 10 favourites to suit all different budgets. Thinking about it? Be roofless…
There are soft top models aplenty in the BMW line-up, but the 4-Series is probably the best all-rounder. Not stupidly expensive, great to drive and big enough for four passengers, the 4-Series convertible manages to combine elegance and badge appeal into a practical and surprisingly affordable package.
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet
True, it may be a little kitsch, but the Beetle Cabriolet is quite charming in its own way. Its cheeky looks are matched by excellent build quality, while it seats four people in comfort. There aren’t many small cabriolets that can say that. Just don’t be tempted to add Herbie graphics – that’s not cool.
Audi A3 Cabriolet
The A3 Cabriolet is strikingly pretty in a very understated way, and offers the badge appeal of a high-end car with the affordability of a mid-size saloon. It also has exceptional resale values, meaning you can enjoy cruising around in the sun without the impact of crippling depreciation. It’s also surprisingly firm and agile for a car with no roof.
It may have a bit of an estate agent image, but the MINI Cabriolet is undeniably cute, and also a real laugh to drive, with exceptional handling and grip. Choose one of MINI’s optional raspy exhausts for the full-on aural experience. Spend even just a few minutes behind the wheel and the topless MINI is impossible to dislike.
Range Rover Evoque Convertible
The ultimate accessory for the footballer’s wife around town, the soft-top Evoque is nevertheless extremely well executed, with a stunning cabin and impressive build quality. It drives pretty tidily, too. If you want to look like you’re cruising the French Riviera while you drive down Blackpool prom, this is the car for you.
Mercedes E-Class Convertible
The E-Class is one of several convertibles offered by Mercedes, ranging from sports cars such as the SL to the sumptuously decadent S-Class cabriolet – the ultimate luxury cruiser. But if you want a big and extremely comfortable convertible without such excess, the E-Class fits the bill just fine. It’s a handsome and elegant car that’s beautifully finished.
Ford Mustang Convertible
How cool is the Mustang Convertible? Sure, it’s flawed in many ways, with average-at-best build quality and dire fuel economy, but that’s the price you pay to sit behind a thumping V8. With no roof, you can really appreciate how it sounds, too. And just look at it. Then look again. It’s the kind of car you’ll always look back at after you’ve parked up.
Porsche 718 Boxster
Sensational. That’s the only word to describe the 718 Boxster, which is not only one of the most affordable ways into Porsche ownership but also one of the best – it’s a truly terrific sports car and if you do treat yourself to one, you won’t regret it. It’s a fabulous car, and an achingly pretty one, too.
If you can’t run to a Boxster, then the MX-5 is a perfectly acceptable poor relation. The little Mazda is more dynamically competent than ever and has almost 30 years of heritage behind it – and today, it’s still true to its roots as one of the best handling small convertibles on the market. It truly is sensational to drive.
Here’s the car that out-MX-5s the MX-5. The baby Fiat convertible is based on the same architecture as the Mazda as the two cars were developed in tandem, and although it’s a more leftfield choice in the UK, it’s a name that’s steeped in romance and heritage. It’s also truly beautiful, just as good to drive as the Mazda, and incredible value for money.