10 Best Convertible Cars For Summer 2018
Most motorists have considered a convertible variant of their chosen make and model, manufacturers love to have at least one in their lineup to give the "halo effect" and showroom appeal. I remember in our Peugeot showrooms starting in the late 80s', there was always great excitement when the latest model 205cc's arrived, which spawned models such as the Junior and of course the now legendary Roland Garros.
Most people who came in to look at these models would consider the years round practicality of ownership and would more often than not decide to "stick with" the typical harch back variants.
Now things have evolved, almost all manufacturers cater for most types of driver too; from those who want a bare-bones sports car with a simple drop top to a more luxurious two-seater suited to lengthier trips at a more relaxed pace. The four-seat convertible has also made a resurgence for sun-loving families who want to travel in style and compare tans at the end of any trip.
Here is the top 10 for summer 2018 - which, according to the weather forecasters, is going to be a long and hot season, one to remember!
Few cars can put a smile on your face like a MINI, and the latest MINI Convertible has all the ingredients for success. Losing the roof hasn’t really altered the way it drives, so it’s still great fun thanks to a superb chassis, go-kart-style handling and brilliant engines. Go for the 1.5-litre MINI Cooper Convertible and it’ll be cheap to run, but just as enjoyable to drive. You can also choose from Cooper D and Cooper SD diesels for the best economy, while Cooper S and John Cooper Works models are available if you want more power.
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
Positioned between the smaller Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet and the eye-wateringly expensive S-Class Cabriolet, the E-Class has a big gap to plug, but it does so with aplomb. True four-seat convertibles are rare, but the drop-top E-Class is genuinely spacious in the back and there’s a 385-litre boot to carry luggage. It’s quickly clear from behind the wheel that comfort takes priority over speed, thanks to soft suspension and smooth automatic gearboxes that have a relaxed rather than aggressive feel.
Audi A5 Cabriolet Convertible
Audi has long specialised in the four-seat convertible, and the Audi A5 Cabriolet is the latest of this kind of car from the German brand. It’s surprisingly practical thanks to a 380-litre boot, and the drop-top A5 has a beautifully built interior. There’s a long options list you can dip into, but even without added leather and technology, the dashboard is stylish and intuitive to use.
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
Mercedes has vast experience in designing convertibles, so it’s no surprise the C-Class Cabriolet is such a success. Even with the roof stowed, the interior is impressively refined and free from buffeting. With it up, the multi-layered fabric and clever design means there’s little difference between the Cabriolet and Coupe on the move in refinement terms.
BMW 2 Series Convertible
Following BMW’s new naming policy, the 2 Series Convertible takes the baton from the open-roofed BMW 1 Series. Not only has the model name changed, but the design is also far better resolved, with a sleek appearance and well-judged proportions from every angle. In typical BMW fashion, there’s a plethora of engines, with four petrols and three diesels ranging from 134bhp to 335bhp.
Audi A3 Cabriolet Convertible
The Audi A3 Cabriolet isn’t the most spacious four-seat convertible on sale, but it’s certainly one of the most stylish and desirable. It has simple, elegant lines and a classy interior, so you can show off whether you’ve got the roof up or down. You can choose from a wide range of efficient and smooth diesel or petrol engines, with manual and automatic gearboxes, and two or four-wheel drive.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
Like many cars on this list, the 4 Series Convertible is the drop-top version of a four-seater coupe. BMW has managed to fit a complex folding hard-top mechanism without affecting the standard car’s practicality or driving experience too much, making it a great choice if you plan to use the car every day; with the roof up, it’s just about as quiet as the coupe, and it’s more secure than soft-top rivals like the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet and Audi A5 Cabriolet
DS 3 Cabriolet Convertible
Best thought of as a premium supermini with a very large sunroof, the DS 3 Cabrio is based on the DS 3 hatchback and rivals retro-flavoured cars like the Fiat 500C and MINI Convertible. It’s a stylish proposition with a full-length, power-operated fabric roof to open up its comfortable interior to the elements; it can be folded back halfway, or fully retracted in 16 seconds at speeds of up to 70mph.
BMW 6 Series Convertible
BMW’s luxury convertible, the 6 Series, is a grand tourer designed to cover huge distances without breaking into a sweat. The least powerful 3.0-litre diesel engine has 309bhp, while the petrol 640i has 316bhp and the 650i gets 444bhp thanks to a 4.4-litre V8. The diesel might be the slowest, but getting from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds is still blisteringly fast, and its ability to return 52.3mpg makes it the best all-rounder.
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet
Like the MINI Convertible, the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet has an unashamedly retro design, especially when the roof goes down and sits on the rear deck, just like the 1960s model. This also frees up space at the rear of the Beetle, making room for a couple of back seats that adults can just about squeeze into. It doesn’t quite offer the driving experience of the MINI, but it’s still good fun and there’s a long list of impressive engines to choose from.
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