The best convertibles for summer 2013
To help out, here's a list of our favourite convertibles split into three categories: less than £25,000, £25,000-£40,000 and more than £40,000.
Convertibles less than £25,000
Audi A3 Cabriolet
The Audi A3 Cabriolet is a desirable car. There is a wide choice of engines and all models come with an electric roof. The only downsides are a slightly unforgiving ride and cramped rear seats. Prices start at £21,185 for the 1.2-litre petrol model.
Citroen DS3 Cabriolet
The Citroen DS3 Cabriolet offers buyers a lot of style for their money. The cabin is classy and the dashboard is easy to use. It has strong engines, but the ride is crashy. All models come with rear parking sensors to counter poor rear visibility when the roof is folded. The Citroen DS3 Cabriolet starts at £15,045, making it one of the most affordable ways into a convertible.
The Mazda MX-5 is a stylish and fun two-seat roadster. It is a well-built car that's affordable to purchase. Buyers can choose from a traditional soft-top or a folding glassfibre roof. Both cars are agile, nippy and great fun to drive. The Mazda MX-5 Open comes with a soft-top roof and costs from £18,495, while Roadster-Coupe has the folding glassfibre roof and starts from £19,995.
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet
The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet is a proper four-seat drop-top. Based on the new Golf, the convertible has a well-built cabin, is enjoyable to drive and cheap to run. The Cabriolet's body flexes more than the hatchback's, but it's still a fun and desirable convertible. Prices for the 1.2 TSI 105 S start at £21,040.
£25,000 to £40,000
Audi TT Roadster
The second Audi to appear on our list is the TT Roadster - our 2013 Open-Top Car of the Year. It looks great, handles well and offers plenty of power. The only downsides are that the boot is shallow and over-the-shoulder visibility is restricted with the roof up. The Audi TT Roadster costs from £26,370.
The BMW Z4 looks fantastic and has a classy cabin. It is great to drive, offers capable handling, a supple ride and strong engines. However, the Z4 is not as fun to drive as the Audi TT Roadster. Prices for a Z4 with the entry-level 2.0-litre petrol – our pick of the range – start at £29,710.
BMW 3 Series Convertible
The BMW 3 Series Convertible is a desirable car that looks great and drives well. It is available with a wide range of engines, both petrol and diesel, all of which are smooth. The 3 Series Convertible is expensive to buy, but running costs are low. The range starts at £33,930 for the 320i SE.
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
The Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet has room for four people and is an excellent cruiser. It offers a fine range of engines and the ride is good as long as you avoid the sports suspension. The boot is an awkward shape, but a decent size. Aircap is Mercedes' windscreen-mounted wind deflector system, which works brilliantly, but does impact on the car's looks. The entry-level E200 CGI Blue Efficiency SE Cabriolet starts at £35,970.
The Porsche Boxster is a beautiful two-seater that is great to drive – and our 2013 Sports Car of the Year. The only downsides are that it is expensive to buy and that Porsche could be more generous with standard kit. Boxsters cost from £37,589.
The Eos is a hard-top convertible built on the Mk5 Golf's underpinnings. It has room for four in its comfortable cabin, is enjoyable to drive and rides well. Refinement is one of its strong points. Prices start at £26,410 for the 1.4 TSI.
More than £40,000
Audi R8 Spyder
The R8 Spyder is every bit the supercar. It looks the part and offers great performance and handling. The R8 Spyder really is a supercar that can be used on a daily basis. A couple of things let it down, though; the cabin is starting to look a bit dated and the Porsche 911 is more practical and more economical. R8 Spyders start at £100,225.
Bentley Continental GT Convertible
The Continental GT Convertible is hugely luxurious and visually dramatic. It is supremely comfortable and refined and has surprisingly capable handling along with mighty performance. The Continental GT Convertible costs from £136,250.
BMW 6 Series Convertible
The BMW 6 Series Convertible is a great long-distance cruiser. It has a choice of powerful engines, sounds good and is very refined. However, the low-speed ride is firm and space is tight in the back. The entry-level 640i SE Convertible costs from £66,000.
Ferrari 458 Spider
The 458 Spider offers awesome performance, a fabulous cabin and is great styling. As you'd expect, the 458 Spider is a thrill to drive and a real head-turner. The 458 Spider costs £198,906.
Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster
The SLS Roadster misses out on the gullwing doors of the Coupe, but shares the same brutal performance, awesome grip and fantastic-sounding V8. Inside, the cabin is drab and a bit of a letdown. It's yours from £176,950.
Porsche 911 Cabriolet
The Porsche 911 Cabriolet is one of the best high-performance convertibles in the world. It has an exceptionally stiff body and its dynamics are barely compromised over the Coupe's, which is an impressive feat of engineering. Prices start at £79,947 for the 3.4 Carrera.
By Matthew Burrow
Featured in this story