Top 10: best used affordable convertibles
It’s time to get a great used convertible before the sun disappears, so here's our top 10 list of the best examples for less than £25,000.....
Yes, summer's drawing to a close but there's still time to get a convertible car in your garage and enjoy the last rays of the year. And autumnal open-top motoring can be excellent, too.
But if you’ve got £25,000 burning a hole in your pocket what should you consider? Well don't worry - that's why we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best convertible cars for less than the aforementioned figure, saving you precious shortlisting time.
All the cars on this list are capable of losing their lids in a matter of moments. And when the inevitable rain arrives, you can quickly get their roofs back up again to avoid getting drenched.
10: BMW 4 Series Convertible
There’s definitely a certain something about a lidless BMW, even if you’re stuck in rush-hour traffic. The folding metal roof of the 4 Series is pretty clever and allows you to operate it on the go at speeds below 8mph.
That makes this BMW a fair bit heavier than its soft-top alternatives (the convertible version is actually heavier than the Coupé), so if you want something with a bit more oomph, you could opt for the 435i or 430d if you can find one within your budget.
10: BMW 4 Series Convertible - interior
The market for this classy convertible starts at around £15,000 for a 2014-2015 model with around 100,000 miles on the clock, and for that you get a premium interior and one of the best infotainment systems in the business. The amount of available boot space varies dramatically whether the roof is open or closed, so bear that in mind.
There was a recall to check the rear axle bolts to make sure they weren’t loose or that the old ones had been reused after a repair. A little pricey at this price-point otherwise it would have finished higher.
We found: 2017 BMW 4 Series Convertible 420d M Sport manual, 12,542 miles, £24,500
9: Jaguar XKR 5.0 Convertible
This might be the oldest car here but don't let that fool you - the 503bhp XKR 5.0 is still a belter. The V8 packed under the bonnet belies the car’s slinky elegance – the road-burning supercharged XKR can sprint from 0 to 60mph in just 4.6sec.
9: Jaguar XKR 5.0 Convertible - interior
It’s got plenty of pace but it is thirsty – you’ll struggle to get more than 23mpg – and maintenance costs are high. Be on the lookout for accident damage, inspect the fabric hood for tears and check the tread depth of the tyres. Replacements aren’t cheap.
We found: 2011 Jaguar XKR 5.0 V8 Convertible, 43,000 miles, £24,995
8: BMW 6 Series Convertible
As a fairly large convertible suited to touring, the 6 Series Convertible has a thick fabric roof that ensures peaceful progress when it's closed. An upmarket interior is a given in the 6 Series, and even the six-cylinder diesel is a punchy and hushed engine.
You might want to opt for the SE model, though, because the firm M Sport suspension might not be for everyone. The 640d SE should manage a combined NEDC economy figure of 50.4mpg, although road tax can reach an eye-watering £465 a year if the car was registered after 1 April 2017.
8: BMW 6 Series Convertible - interior
Check that the air conditioning works, because expensive faults are notorious. Also look for any scuffed bumpers and damaged alloy wheels since this is a fairly big car that can be hard to park.
There have also been a few recalls, including for airbag faults, failed exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) valves and pedestrian protection systems not working, so check with a BMW dealer to make sure your car isn’t affected.
We found: 2016 BMW 6 Series Convertible 640d M Sport auto, 50,000 miles, £23,000
7: Ford Mustang Convertible
Inject some American style into your open-top drive with the Ford Mustang. The big selling point here, apart from its distinctive looks, is the potent V8 engine under the bonnet.
7: Ford Mustang Convertible - interior
Its prodigious power makes the Mustang explosive in a straight line, which partly makes up for its mediocre handling and sky-high running costs. But at under £25,000 for a used one with a full service history I'm sure you could, like us, easily be tempted.
We found: 2016 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 Convertible, 20,000 miles, £24,995
6: Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
A convertible Merc certainly sounds tempting, especially if it’s as refined as the E-Class Cabriolet. It can even direct warm air at the occupants’ neck to prevent wind chill. You will find it’s less of a sports car and more of a cruiser, though.
6: Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet - interior
In terms of size, the E-Class sits between the smaller C-Class and larger S-Class, aiming to provide some middle ground between agility and luxury. There are plenty of engine variants, too, from frugal four-cylinders to thumping V8s. Watch for injector issues on diesel models, though.
We found: 2017 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet E220d AMG Line, 14,275 miles, £23,000
5: Audi A5 Cabriolet
Although we weren’t too keen on the ride of the older A5 Cabriolet models (the S line in particular), the latest car is much better in that respect, and if you shop around you can now find examples for less than £25,000.
The A5 is a very elegant convertible, has a smooth and light gearbox and comes with a wide variety of engine and trim options. S line models have a sportier look to them, while mid-range Sport cars have softer suspension fitted and are more comfortable.
5: Audi A5 Cabriolet - interior
The entry-level four-cylinder diesel is no disgrace to the elegant looks of the A5, because it’s smooth and quiet, and the 188bhp 2.0 TDI even has an official average fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg, while the 2.0 TFSI petrol should get 47.9mpg.
Some high-spec A5 Cabriolets registered after 1 April 2017 will have broken the £40,000 tax barrier, so check this out if you want to avoid paying the additional tax charge. It’s quite a long car, so check the wheels for kerb damage and make sure the infotainment system works correctly.
We found: 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI Sport S tronic, 21,000 miles, £24,495
4: BMW 2 Series Convertible
The BMW 2 Series Convertible looks expensive next to its immediate rivals, but it is much better value as a used car and it's great fun to drive and comfortable over long distances too.
It's a compact convertible with a rather delicious interior and a fine infotainment system.
4: BMW 2 Series Convertible - interior
It feels more agile than its larger 4 Series sibling, and it's better value. Our recommended Sport trim gets you sports seats and bespoke alloy wheels – and the 220d engine we recommend is punchy yet reasonably economical.
We found: 2018 BMW 220d Sport, 2200 miles, £24,000
3: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet
The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet is up against some strong competition in this market, particularly from BMW's open-top 2 and 4 Series.
The good news is that, while the BMWs may have the edge on handling and driving dynamics, the Mercedes is the more complete package, offering a more refined, economical and comfortable experience.
3: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet - interior
There's also an extensive list of standard equipment, which includes satellite navigation, heated front seats, a self-parking system and LED headlights, and used values are excellent.
We found: 2018 Mercedes-Benz C220d Cabriolet, 26,000 miles, £23,995
2: Mini Convertible
If you like your convertibles small and cute, look no further than the Mini Convertible. You get the same smart styling and good driving dynamics of the modern Mini hatchback, but there's also an electric folding fabric roof for when the sun is out.
2: Mini Convertible - interior
There isn't a great deal of space for rear passengers, but it is great fun to drive. Buying used at, say, a year old, will save you a healthy dollop of cash, too, so even more reason to put the cheeky convertible on your drive.
We found: 2018 Mini 1.5 Convertible, 2000 miles, £22,995
1: Audi A3 Cabriolet
The A3 Cabriolet is exceptionally good, as evidenced by a price-point win at the 2019 What Car? Car of the Year awards. The 1.4 TFSI 150 petrol is a great engine, blending strong performance with excellent fuel economy.
It was replaced by the 1.5 TFSI engine in 2018, and our money should find you one of these. This model is nice to drive, too, and because it has four seats and a decent boot, the A3 Cabriolet is a great all-rounder.
1: Audi A3 Cabriolet - interior
Its lightweight fabric roof can be operated at speeds up to 31mph, too, so you don't have to stop to open or close it. The A3 will be pricier to buy than some on the cars on this list, but running costs for some models are quite low, with the 1.6 TDI in particular being capable of 67.3mpg.
As with any used convertible, check the footwells for water damage and the roof for leaks. Make sure the sat-nav doesn’t creak when it slides in and out of the dash, and listen for engine rattles from the older 1.4 TFSI.
We found: 2018 Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.5 TFSI Sport, 2200 miles, £24,000