With longer days and warmer temperatures, convertible season has certainly begun. Gone are the frosty mornings and chilly evenings, so now is the perfect time to pick up a drop top to make the most of the sunshine.

We’ve rounded up the most popular cabriolets on which include everything from a sharply-styled two-seater to sleek but family-friendly four-seaters and compact but affordable drop tops.

Don’t think you’ve got to break the bank to put a convertible on your drive, either, as well under £10,000 can secure you a stylish and affordable model for the same price as a similar age family hatchback.

Mercedes SLK: Stylish two-seater

The SLK may have been around in several forms since the mid-1990s, but it still looks just as sharp as ever. With just two seats, this isn’t a practical machine, however, what it is very good at is offering a cosy driving position and a real sense of occasion with a folding hard top that lets you stay cool in the summer and keeps you warm when winter comes.

A variety of engines are available from economical small petrol and diesel motors to a fire-breathing V8 AMG version. All models should give you the requisite convertible feel good factor, though.

Search for used Mercedes SLKs here.

BMW 1 Series Convertible: Chic four-seater

With appealing styling and a comfortable four-seat interior, the BMW 1 Series makes a strong case for itself. Thanks to BMW’s trademark of sending power to the rear wheels, the 1 Series is also one of the sharpest handling small convertibles around.

Buyers can choose from a number of punchy but frugal petrol and diesel engines, along with a rapid turbocharged 135i model. Drivers who cover many miles will want to opt for a diesel, though the powerful 135i provides a scintillating driving experience.

Search for a used BMW 1 Series Convertible here.

Mini Convertible: Cute compact drop top

Next most popular in the cabriolet charts is the Mini Convertible. This compact convertible boasts retro styling and a quirky interior, along with the Mini’s trademark go kart handling.

Engines on offer vary from economy-focused petrol and diesel units to the sporty Cooper S and SD versions. Topping the range, though, is the John Cooper Works model, which churns out a hefty 208bhp – enough to launch this little Mini to 62mph in a scant 6.9 seconds.

Search for a a used Mini Convertible here.

Mercedes E-Class Convertible: Smart four-seater

This Mercedes may lack the Mini’s fun factor, but what it offers in its place, is class. With its elegant shape and well-insulated fabric hood this upmarket machine feels very grown up but a number of powerful petrol and diesel engines mean that is also very satisfying to drive.

Slotting in a size or two above the BMW 1 Series above, the E-Class should offer more than enough space for four adults and makes a great car for summer road trips, with its pillarless windows letting in plenty of light – even when the roof is up.

Search for a used Mercedes E-Class Convertible here.

Audi A3 Convertible: Sleek four-seat soft top

Last in the lineup is the Audi A3 Convertible. Recently updated from being a slightly dowdy hatchback-shape four-seater to a much sleeker saloon-based model with particularly economical turbocharged petrol engines, the A3 is more attractive than ever.

Opt for the turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol and the car is capable of impressive 57.6mpg claimed fuel economy, though it can still sprint to 62mph in a sprightly 8.9 seconds. Several even more frugal diesels and a rapid S3 Cabriolet are also available.

Search for a used Audi A3 Convertible here.

Pictures: Manufacturers

Chris Lloyd


April 24, 2015