Best used convertibles (and the ones to avoid)

Sunny weather is a fleeting phenomenon in this country, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite used convertibles to save you precious decision-making time...

Best used convertibles (and the ones to avoid)

Best used convertibles montage

We’re not used to seeing the sun. It’s usually masked by a layer of low-flying cloud, so when it’s revealed, we must act fast to enjoy as much of it as we can. That’s what makes a convertible so great because it allows you to bask in the sunshine, even on the way to work. You may have thought that we, as a nation, wouldn’t care much for open-top cars, but, in fact, we buy more than most European countries. This means that there’s a welter of very affordable used examples available.

What’s more, there’s a used convertible to suit everyone – from practical and efficient four-seaters that can easily serve as family cars, to luxurious, elegant grand tourers that are perfect for wafting around, and even small, sporty two-seaters that are perfect for a sunny weekend. So grab a brew and envisage yourself behind the wheel of one of these fabulous cabrios. We’ve done all the hard work for you and put together a list of our favourites – and if you’re tempted, follow the links to our classifieds and go for a test drive in any of the examples in this slideshow.

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Best used convertibles

BMW 4 Series

10. BMW 4 Series

The BMW 4 Series Convertible follows in the footsteps of a long line of classy BMW cabriolets. It replaced the 3 Series Convertible in 2013, and in SE spec it’s very much a comfortable cruiser, with soft suspension giving it so-so handling but a smooth ride. M Sport was a popular model and it does feel sportier to drive, but you really need to find one with adaptive suspension because the ride is too firm without it.

We found: 2014 420d M Sport Auto, 26,465 miles, £20,442

Best used convertibles

BMW 4 Series

The people up front are well protected from wind rush with the roof down, but passengers in the back will find the 4 Series to be cramped and rather exposed to the elements. However, you get a classy dashboard, one of the best infotainment and navigation systems around, and a leather-lined interior that feels very posh indeed. The automatic is the gearbox to go for because it’s smooth and suits the relaxed nature of the car.

Read the used BMW 4 Series Convertible review

Find a used BMW 4 Series Convertible in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

Jaguar XK

9. Jaguar XK

Long, low and effortlessly elegant, the Jaguar XK is one of the most desirable used convertibles around. Every example is powered by a V8 engine, so even the entry-level XK is quick (and sounds amazing), while the supercharged XKR is a truly rapid grand touring weapon.

We found: 2014 5.0 V8 Portfolio, 16,001 miles, £35,990

Best used convertibles

Jaguar XK

The XK isn’t the most involving sports car in the world, but the payoff is comfort: you’ll be swaddled in those soft leather seats and the suspension eases away the bumps and ripples in the road. Apart from a strong appetite for fuel and tyres, there are few finer ways to travel.

Read the used Jaguar XK review

Find a used Jaguar XK in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

BMW 6 Series

8. BMW 6 Series

Like the Jaguar XK, the BMW 6 Series It isn’t the sharpest tool in the corners because the steering is rather remote. But, it’s still agile enough to be fun. Every engine option – the 6 Series came with a choice of petrol or diesel versions – is smooth and fast, and the thick fabric roof ensures it’s a quiet place to be with the roof up.

We found: 2014 640d SE, 28,933 miles, £25,000

Best used convertibles

BMW 6 Series

As large convertibles go, the 6 Series is one of the classiest and these days offers really good value as it undercuts most of its rivals. Stick with the SE version, though, as the M Sport suspension is liable to be uncomfortably firm. Also, make sure all of the electrics work (and there are plenty of them) and check that the air-conditioning works because there have been problems reported.

Read the used BMW 6 Series Convertible review

Find a used BMW 6 Series in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

7. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

A drop-top with the three-pointed star on its nose is a covetable thing indeed, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Convertible is no exception. Clever aerodynamics and an innovative heating system that blows warm air at your neck to help prevent the chilling effect of wind buffeting helps to keep occupants warm. It’s well-built inside and supremely smooth and wafty, especially in SE spec.

We found: E220 CDI AMG Sport, 19,810 miles, £20,230

Best used convertibles

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

There have been reports of injector issues with diesel engines and there was also a voluntary recall regarding reprogramming the car’s emissions software in a bid to cut NOx output. Despite this, the E-Class Cabriolet is well equipped, nice and refined with the top down and it has a big boot for extended holidays.

Read the Mercedes-Benz E-Class review

Find a used Mercedes-Benz E-Class in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

Mini Convertible

6. Mini Convertible

The Mini is one of the more accessible convertibles on the market, with some of the lowest prices of the lot. But, of course, that’s because it’s also one of the smallest, and while it’s a full four-seater, space in the back is pretty tight. That said, if you can live with that, those compact dimensions also mean it’s very easy to drive around town.

We found: 2014 1.6 Cooper, 14,470 miles, £8989

Best used convertibles

Mini Convertible

What’s more, with excellent build quality, great looks and some of the most fun driving dynamics around, not to mention a choice of impressively efficient engines, the Mini is a compelling cabrio.

Read the Mini Convertible review

Find a used Mini Convertible in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

Volkswagen Golf

5. Volkswagen Golf

You can’t knock the value offered by the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet. Soft suspension makes it comfortable, but it still handles tidily, and in the case of the rip-roaring R model, it goes like stink too.

We found: 2014 1.4 TSI S, 22,185 miles, £9537

Best used convertibles

Volkswagen Golf

Meanwhile, inside, there’s a solidly built interior, and all the controls are easy to find. What’s more, there’s plenty of space up front and a reasonable amount in the rear and a huge choice of engines to pick from. In other words, if you want the most sensible convertible out there, this is probably it.

Read the used Volkswagen Golf review

Find a used Volkswagen Golf in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

BMW Z4

4. BMW Z4

It’s one of the sexiest convertibles around, but the BMW Z4 doesn’t quite have the ride or handling to challenge the best in this class. That having been said, as long as you avoid the M Sport models, you’ll be comfortable enough, and the sharp steering and grippy nose mean it’s still a fun car to drive.

We found: 2014 20i sDrive, 28,225 miles, £15,995

Best used convertibles

BMW Z4

What’s more, the Z4 looks fantastic and comes with a superb range of punchy engines, and right now it’s looking like great value as a used buy, with prices well below those of many of its rivals. Make sure it comes with a full-service history and check the alloy wheels for cracks because replacements are expensive.

Read the used BMW Z4 review

Find a used BMW Z4 in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

Audi A3

3. Audi A3

A high purchase price is the only reason the Audi A3 Cabriolet didn’t finish higher in this feature. Otherwise, it’s a cracking all-rounder, offering the same sublime balance between ride and handling as any hard-top A3. The 1.4-litre TFSI is our favourite because it blends excellent performance with impressive economy.

We found: 2015 1.4 150 Sport, 14,514 miles, £16,492

Best used convertibles

Audi A3

You also get a gorgeous interior that’s beautifully designed, an impressively big boot for a car of this type, and enough room in the back for two adults, at a push. If you can stretch to it, then, it’s one of the best used convertibles out there. Make sure the hood mechanism works as it should and that the infotainment screen comes out of the dashboard without creaking.

Read the used Audi A3 review

Find a used Audi A3 in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

Audi TT

2. Audi TT

You might be surprised to find out how cheap the second-generation Audi TT is these days. In fact, considering how good it is to drive, we’d say it’s something of a bargain. Pick a petrol engine for a sportier drive or a diesel for fuel economy – both are available – and enjoy agile handling; quick, direct steering; and on higher-specification models, the grip and traction of four-wheel drive.

We found: 2016 1.8 TFSI Sport, 19,149 miles, £17,987

Best used convertibles

Audi TT

True, you’ll have to make do with two seats – but if that’s all you need, and you want a premium feel, the TT is about the best there is. Check with the previous owner if you can that diesel models have often been taken out on the motorway because fixing DPF issues can be expensive and time consuming.

Read the Audi TT review

Find a used Audi TT in the What Car? Classifieds

Best used convertibles

Mazda MX-5

1. Mazda MX-5

OK, so you probably won’t pick a Mazda MX-5 if practicality is a prime requirement. But if you can live with just two seats, there’s little to dislike here. The MX-5 is great fun to drive, as you might expect, but it’s also cheap to buy and run, extremely reliable, and very easy to drive.

We found: 2015 2.0i Sport Tech Nav, 22,500 miles, £13,250

Best used convertibles

Mazda MX-5

Its compact dimensions make it great around town, yet it never feels out of its depth on the motorway, and its soft suspension provides a brilliant ride. There’s even enough room in the boot for two decent-sized overnight bags. Make sure the MX-5 you’re looking at has been treated to regular servicing and you’ll have a reliable and fun little sports car.

Read the used Mazda MX-5 review

Find a used Mazda MX-5 in the What Car? Classifieds

And the convertibles to avoid…

Audi A5

Audi A5

Poor body stiffness means the Audi A5 Cabriolet shudders and groans over larger bumps, and it’s insipid to drive.

And the convertibles to avoid…

Lexus IS

Lexus IS

Heavy, thirsty, and stodgy to drive, the Lexus IS is also very expensive, and because it wasn’t popular when new, hard to find.


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