Yep, ‘tis almost the season… hang on, that’s Christmas. It’s nearly summer, anyways. And that means you might be getting the seasonal itch for open-top motoring. Despite having some of the most unpredictable weather, the UK is regularly the biggest market for convertibles in Europe. We love them: warm sun beating down on your bonce, the sound of the wind and the open road drowning out the inane chatter of your passengers. Bliss. So we’ve picked 5 convertibles that will scratch that itch, and at various price points. Something for everyone.
Fiat 500C Electric
The new Fiat 500C holds the distinction of being the only fully electric 4-seat convertible on sale today; the Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio is the only other open-top EV, but it’s a 2-seater. The beauty of Fiat’s little convertible EV is its sliding fabric roof mechanism, which gives you the benefit of open-top motoring but without weighty and space-inefficient folding metal complexity. A good job, because the 500 is hardly a spacious runabout in any event. But it is one of the best small EVs on the market, with decent battery range, unique style and a really fun driving experience.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
It’s fair to say that the BMW 4 Series Convertible isn’t conventionally beautiful - that grille, right? - but most will agree it’s a striking thing. Whatever your view, it’s one extremely well-resolved and fuss-free open-top experience. Its multi-layered fabric folding roof means that closed-top refinement is outstanding, very close to the quiet, comfy and spacious 4-seat experience you’d get with the Coupe. With the top down you don’t lose too much boot space either: 55 litres less than the hard top’s 440-litre volume. The engine range is fantastic too, from relatively economical 2.0-litre turbo units to smooth and quick 3.0-litre 6-cylinder ones.
Audi TT Roadster
Far from being the ‘all style, no substance’ thing you might assume it is, the Audi TT Roadster gives you a proper engaging driving experience, but one with genuinely agreeable day-to-day comfort. There are some compromises, of course. The Roadster doesn’t have the Coupe’s rear seats, and because the fabric roof folds into the boot, you lose the hatchback practicality too; this is a car with room for 2 people and very little else. However, the quality, refinement, ergonomics and engine range are all outstanding; even a base Sport model is well equipped, quick and capable of 40mpg.
VW T-Roc Convertible
It’s better than you think, honestly. After the… interesting… convertible conversion of the Range Rover Evoque, it didn’t bode too well for Volkswagen’s crack at chopping the roof off the T-Roc crossover. Thankfully, it’s surprisingly non-compromised compared to the standard car. There are some, obviously - less rear seat space, a smaller boot and a £2500 premium - but actually the driving experience is as pleasant as it is unique. There’s something odd and satisfying about a convertible that sits you so high up. It looks a bit like a pram, and the ride quality isn’t quite as smooth as you might want at times, and it’s not very quick, but it’s a cool novelty that’ll do 40mpg and just about work as a family car. Just about.
The MINI Convertible is wildly popular - the UK’s best-selling drop-top - because it offers a brilliantly accessible way to open-air motoring. Available across every generation of the 3-door BMW-era MINI Hatch across 2 decades, it’s always been very reasonably priced and has in many ways enhanced what’s great about driving a MINI - the open top makes the whole thing even more go-karty. The latest model is outstanding. Obviously there isn’t much space - the rear seats are little more than parcel shelves and the loss of the rear hatchback makes the boot more akin to a letterbox - but roof-up refinement is better than ever, and as usual the engine range spans from a frugal Cooper model to a properly quick, noisy (in a good way) John Cooper Works model.