Best Of

Top 5 best Convertibles

Despite the weather, Britain loves a convertible. Here are our top picks...

Words by: First published: 1st September 2016
Britain loves a convertible. After Germany, the UK is Europe’s second-biggest market for vehicles whose roofs unfurl. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to get your vitamin D fix that include folding soft tops and folding hard tops. Here are Auto Trader’s five favourite convertibles.
  • Mini Convertible
  • Mazda MX-5
  • Audi A3 Cabriolet
  • Porsche Boxster
  • Mercedes SL
Mini Convertible – the popular one
The Mini Convertible is the best-selling convertible in Britain. It’s also built in the UK and you can have the Union Jack stitched into the soft top, although we wouldn’t. National identity is a bit of a sticky subject post Brexit…

Fortunately, all the bits that make the Mini Hatch such a superb small car – darty steering, sharp body control, quirky but high quality details – are all present and correct in the Convertible.

Granted, the rear two seats are only acceptable for children and it looks expensive when compared with other retro rivals such as the DS3 Cabrio and Fiat 500C, but this will be offset by considerably stronger resale prices and much more polish. It’s also worth noting that rear visibility is pretty terrible, roof up or down, but Mini compensates by fitting rear parking sensors and a reversing camera as standard to every model.

Expert review | Owner reviews
Mazda MX-5 – the clean, fun, simple one
The Mazda MX-5 has been the world’s best-selling sports car for more than 20 years, and with good reason. It’s a fantastic sports car with classic roadster proportions and is eager, light and fast enough to thrill without endangering your licence. It offers nimble, playful handling in a compact package that makes it particularly well suited to Britain’s B roads.

The MX-5 is a refreshingly analogue experience in a digital world, thanks to a naturally aspirated engine, rear-wheel drive, manually operated fabric roof and zero driver modes. But that doesn’t mean it’s free from modern technology: specify the SE-L Nav trim level and you receive climate and cruise controls, sat-nav and a multifunction steering wheel.

Take the plunge and we guarantee you’ll love this car so much, you’ll be driving the MX-5 until the summer sun has disappeared and your arms are sunburned to the point of looking like a steamed lobster.

Expert review | Owner reviews
Audi A3 Cabriolet – the all-rounder
The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the best compact convertible on sale, and offers very little in the way of compromise. Based on the Audi A3 saloon, it’s handsome and dripping with typical Audi quality, is available with big car infotainment features, is fun yet comfortable to drive, and it’s roomy enough to seat four adults. It’s also one of the few convertibles that looks as stylish with the roof up as it is does down, which in the UK, will be most of the time.

The three-layer fabric roof offers impeccable refinement, eliminating any trace of wind noise, and thanks to the optional wind deflector and heated seats, is a genuine all-season convertible. The roof can even unfurl at the touch of a button at speeds up to 31mph.

Expert review | Owner reviews
Porsche Boxster – the enthusiast’s one
When it comes to convertibles that can handle, the Porsche Boxster has had the competition licked since its inception. The latest 718 Boxster is no exception, thanks to a mid-engine configuration that helps the car feel balanced and poised at all times, plus a range of turbocharged engines that offer entertaining and accessible performance even on the most mundane drives.

The fabric roof can be operated at speeds up to 31mph, and with a front and rear boot, both big enough to take a couple of weekend bags, you could even call the 718 Boxster practical.

However, any long lasting impressions will be made from behind the simple steering wheel and slender pedal box, perfectly spaced for heel and toe gear-changes if you’re so inclined to order the six-speed manual over the PDK automatic gearbox. Thanks to delicious steering response and agile handling, the 718 is a sports car that you’ll be able to place on the road with incredible precision and relish every corner. That said, keep in mind that you’ll need to spend big on optional equipment to make your 718 Boxster habitable. Base specification makes a monastery look cluttered.

Expert review | Owner reviews
Mercedes SL – the posh one
The Mercedes-Benz SL is a luxurious two seat convertible that’s as adept at grand touring as it is boulevard cruising. The combination of accurate steering, adaptive suspension and supremely comfortable seats in a beautifully appointed interior make this Merc one effortless conveyance. It’s also loaded with gadgets, from massaging and ventilated seats that can blow warm air onto your neck to the latest raft of active safety equipment.

Crucially at this level, it also boasts more than enough glamour to park outside the finest Park Lane hotel and that’s before you show off its party piece roof. Strangely, you have to begin this process from a standing start, after which the unfurling process is able to continue at speeds up to 25mph.

The V6 engine and relaxing nine-speed automatic gearbox work in silky smooth harmony, although if you’re after ultimate bragging rights, the barmy Mercedes-AMG versions are a very effective way of exposing toupes.

Expert review | Owner reviews

Interested in buying a MINI Convertible?