Top 10 spring convertible bargains
Thursday 22 April 2010
With the summer months almost upon us, the hours of daylight ever longer and a distinct possibility of a decent British summer, why not drop your top with one of our pick of the top 10 bargain convertibles?
From the teeny Daihatsu Copen to the glamorous Bentley Continental, there’s a convertible to suit all tastes and budgets.
Check out the full spring bargain convertibles gallery:
Alfa Romeo Spider 2.2 JTS
Price when new: £26,010
Used 2007/56: c.£13,350
It may not be the most fun to drive sports car, but the Spider’s looks, build quality and strong engines more than make up for it. High list price and running costs mean this piece of Italian style is a used bargain.
The 2.2 JTS is our pick of the range thanks to its blend of decent performance and manageable economy. The 3.2 V6 sounds fantastic but has an unhealthy appetite for super unleaded.
Price when new: £130,748
Used 2006/06: c.£60,165
The footballer’s favourite may not be out of your league. A four-year old example is worth less than list price, meaning you can enjoy the wonderful build quality and epic 553bhp, twin-turbo, W12 performance.
Just make sure you budget for 16mpg thirst and high servicing costs.
BMW 320i SE Auto
Price when new: £32,415
Used 2008/08: c.£20,890
There’s a reason for the BMW 3 Series’ popularity – it’s just about the best all-round drop top there is.
Its folding hard-top is snug and secure, it drives (almost) as well as any 3 Series and there’s even room for two in the back.
Running costs are low thanks to good fuel economy and residuals remain strong.
Price when new: £11,022
Used 2007/07: c.£7,125
Mini-Audi TT styling, a neat folding hardtop and an eager engine all make the cheeky Copen a quirky and fun convertible.
Reliability is good and running costs are the stuff of pocket-money.
Small boot, cramped cabin and too much top-down body flex mark it down.
Ford Focus CC-3 2.0
Price when new: £21,795
Used 2009/09: c.£13,500
The Focus CC isn’t the most glamorous-looking drophead on the block and so sales have remained slow since it was introduced in 2006. This lack of demand means used bargains are there for the taking.
The Focus is one of the best cars in its class to drive. It’s practical too, with two proper rear seats and a big boot.
Early models suffered from leaky roofs but should have been fixed by now.
Mazda MX-5 1.8i
Price when new: £15,750
Used 2008/58: c.£11,000
The ever-popular MX-5 is the embodiment of simple, affordable sports car fun. Its handling is sublime, its engines are responsive and there’s room for just two.
The Mazda is also supremely reliable, cheap to run and practical. It’s hard to think of any reasons not to buy.
Mercedes CLK280 Elegance
Price when new: £37,135
Used 2009/59: c.£27,450
The CLK has very recently been replaced by the new E-class cabriolet, so year-old examples are now genuine bargains.
It isn’t as well built as Mercs of old although later cars were improved. It is practical though and as good to drive as it is to look at.
The CLK280 is a good compromise between refinement and economy – avoid smaller-engined cars with manual transmission.
Mini Cooper S Convertible
Price when new: £17,995
Used 2007/07: c.£11,250
The hugely popular Mini holds its value well, but three-year old cars are affordable, even if you opt for the rapid Cooper S version.
It’s great to drive and well built – it is a BMW after all – but the rear seats are tiny and the boot is awkward to load.
Running costs are reasonable and you’re unlikely to lose too much money when the time comes to sell.
Price when new: £40,188
Used 2007/56: c.£24,150
Those who call the Boxster the ‘poor man’s 911’ have probably never driven one. For sheer driving pleasure, there’s little to match the smallest Porsche.
Go for the ‘S’ model and performance is genuinely rapid too. It’s also beautifully built and amazingly practical thanks to its two generous boots.
Running costs will, of course, be fairly high but very little goes wrong and residuals are strong.
Volvo C70 2.0D SE Lux
Price when new: £30,230
Used 2008/58: c.£18,295
The concept of a convertible Volvo may appear odd, but there’s plenty to recommend about the C70.
Its folding hardtop is safe and secure, it looks good in a chunky rather than sporty way and it’s very practical.
It’s not as sharp to drive as some of its rivals but is a great long-distance cruiser. As such we’d recommend the very sensible and economical 2-litre diesel engine.
By Owen Ready