If you want a fully convertible car that is well equipped and handles superbly and comes with the added benefits of turning into a coupé at the flick of a switch, the 3 Series Convertible might be the one for you. You see, it uses a folding metal roof that, once erect, gives the car the refinement of the fixed-roof coupé. It means a bit of extra weight, but if performance is a problem, there are plenty of lively petrol and diesel engines to choose from, especially good being the 325 six-cylinder petrol version we found. All of them handle well and are great fun to punt down a winding country lane.
6. Toyota MR2
Buy a regular Ferrari or Lamborghini supercar and the chances are it will be a mid-engined two-seater, just like this MR2. Toyota managed to pack its little roadster with just enough power for it to be truly fun without it costing a supercar-like fortune to run. Now, it’s on the verge of becoming an appreciating classic, and rightly so: it’s great to drive, with a lusty 1.8-litre engine, a slick gearchange, terrific handling and a hood that can be put up or down easily with one hand from the driver’s seat. Although they might have been used enthusiastically, reported troubles are pleasingly few.
5. Honda S2000
What kind of car would one of the world’s most highly regarded engine makers build for itself on its 50th birthday? The S2000, that’s what: a well-balanced, two-seat, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive roadster with a 237bhp 2.0-litre VTEC engine that revs to 8000rpm and gives the car enough oomph to see off the 0-62mph sprint in just 6.0sec. Now, prices are on the up, so if you’re buying at this level, you’d better hurry. And remember that £5k is at the bottom of the S2000 catalogue, so shop carefully. At least Honda’s reputation for reliability is legendary.
Page 2 of 4