5 convertibles you will want to drive this summer

10 May 2018

Last winter was crazy tough. When most of the UK resembles the North Pole at the start of March, you know the weather gods are just being daft.

Touch wood, winter is finally over and the next few months should be plain sailing and care-free with all this to look forward to: the World Cup, a royal wedding, Wimbledon, summer festivals, another Star Wars movie, the GDPR compliance deadline (hey, it could be someone’s idea of fun), not to mention lots and lots of sun!

It’s the time of year when you wish you could get your car’s roof down and indulge in some wind-in-your-hair action and bask in those glorious rays. Well, in these cars, you can do just that...

BMW i8 Convertible

The i8 was never imagined as a convertible - all the hybrid workings and aerodynamic wizardry didn’t lend it well to being tinkered with. However, the people demanded it so BMW made it work.

Converting the i8 to a convertible has meant the rear seats have been chucked out, but they were never much use anyway. Aside from this and the electronically folding fabric roof, there isn’t much difference between the i8 Convertible and its facelifted fixed-roof counterpart.

It uses the same petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, but due to the extra weight from the droptop mechanism, its 0-62mph sprint is extended by a fifth of a second to 4.6 seconds - hardly a dealbreaker.

At £124,730, it’s the priciest choice on this list - but it’s also the coolest.

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Audi TT

Now would’ve been the ideal point to highlight the droptop R8 - the i8 Convertible’s most obvious rival. But in the interest of variety, we’ve gone for Audi’s eternally cool TT roadster.

Its slick, smooth side profile is iconic and instantly recognisable, but it’s the cabin that is perhaps the TT’s most impressive design aspect these days.

The entirely digital Virtual Cockpit does away with almost every physical button and dial to achieve an uber-tidy dashboard with all the info you’ll need being displayed behind the steering wheel.

VW Group’s versatile engine range means everyone’s a winner regardless of their fuel choice. Diesel drivers get excellent running costs (60.1mpg, 124g/km CO2), while the two-litre TFSI petrol delivers bracing performance (5.3sec 0-62mph, 155mph top speed).

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Mazda MX-5

Mazda’s plucky roadster always pops up in lists like this and, considering the current fourth-gen model was named World Car of the Year in 2016, who are we to deny it here?

The MX-5 has always been more about the journey than the destination, concentrating on sharp and responsive handling rather than breakneck pace.

At its nippiest, the two-litre MX-5 can hit 62mph in 7.3 seconds, which is fine for a £21k roadster. If you thirst for more horsepower though, there’s always Abarth’s 167bhp 124 Spider, which basically rebadges the MX-5 and chucks in one of Fiat’s 1,368cc turbopetrol engines to reach 62mph in 6.8 seconds.

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Mini Convertible

Not all great droptops have to be sports cars and the Mini Convertible is proof of that.

It delivers everything you’d want from a regular fixed-roof car - four seats, a cool design, smart interior - but just offers the option to do away with the roof.

If the Mini Convertible isn’t a valid choice for whatever reason, you could consider the DS 3 Cabrio. With a peel-back roof that acts more like a larger opening sunroof, this is an ideal halfway-house that’ll suit you all year round.

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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

We could’ve chose any number of Mercs to include here - C-Class, S-Class, SLC, SL, AMG-GT Roadster - but we’ve gone with the E-Class for its versatility and ability to satisfy almost everyone.

You get the same gorgeous looks as the C and S-Class, as well as exceptional performance, exemplary comfort and one of the most tech-laden cabins in UK showrooms.

Your ideal E-Class Cabriolet lease deal is over here...