This summer's best convertibles
Sales figures clearly show our love for the drop top, with 63,000 sold in the UK last year (2010). Want to join that happy band? Best check out our round-up of the top new cabriolets out this summer, plus a couple of our old favourites. We've scored each out of ten for style, substance and value.
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante
On sale: Spring 2011
OK, so the spoiler, stripes, air ducts and angular body kit might be too showy for some, but nobody does flamboyant convertibles better than Lambo. Except maybe Zonda.
Losing the roof usually means more weight and less performance. Here the opposite is true; the only compromise the driver makes is to his hair style.
Costs around £20,000 more than the regular Gallardo Spyder, but is much prettier thanks to plenty of exposed carbon fibre bits. Plus lighter and quicker thanks to clever engineering.
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet
On sale: July 2011
It's a two-door Volkswagen Golf with a cloth roof. What did you expect?
The electric folding fabric roof means that minimal boot space is taken up when its stowed, and it retains four proper seats.
No prices yet, but we expect this to undercut the (very good) Audi A3 Cabriolet while, of course, retaining the quality the Golf is famed for.
On sale: June 2011
It's difficult to deviate from a certain shape with a two-door convertible, however the SLK manages to look lovely and rakish, while taking tips from the SLS AMG supercar.
A high quality cabin, better handling than ever, CO2 emissions below 170g/km and the folding hardtop roof offering coupé-like noise insulation.
A starting price of £30,000 is expensive, but in line with rivals like the BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster.
BMW 6 Series Convertible
On sale: March 2011
The styling has been toned down, meaning the 6 Series Convertible is now handsome, where before it was 'challenging'.
With two useable back seats, plenty of headroom front and rear and a decent sized-boot, the 6 Series Convertible is easy to live with day-to-day.
Starting at £65,000 and with a long options list, it's hardly cheap. It will hold its value well, though, and at a squeeze could be used as a family car. At a real squeeze.
Aston Martin Virage Volante
On sale: since February 2011
Aston Martins are unanimously considered beautiful, but we think the company could have made more effort making the Virage look different from the DB9.
The back seats are all but useless, but for two this extremely comfortable and a quiet cruiser, albeit one with supercar speed thanks to a 6.0-litre V12 engine.
If you're buying a Virage just to pose in, we'd suggest going for the £20,000 cheaper DB9 Volante. Maybe use the 20 grand for fuel?
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet
On sale since: December 2010
There's nothing unusual about a 911 Cabriolet any more, but the GTS has subtleties like a widened body, a unique body kit (some of it painted black) and Alcantara interior trim.
Not the ultimate open top 911 (see the Turbo Cabriolet), the GTS is still a cut above the standard Carrera. It has a 408bhp version of Porsche's 3.9-litre six-cylinder engine and a sports exhaust for added loudness. Keep the top down for that.
Perfect for posing and performance - which you'd expect frankly with a price tag of £85,000. It's only £1,000 or so more than the Carrera S Cabriolet though.
Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible
On sale since: Summer 2010
Subtle differences between the Continental GT Supersports Convertible and the regular version include satin effect carbon fibre and Alcantara trim, Supersports alloy wheels and bigger tailpipes.
The fastest Bentley convertible ever, thanks to a 12-cylinder turbo engine, and able to run on E85 bio-ethanol. A lot to brag about.
At £182,000 this costs about the same as the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder Performante, but seats two more. People will assume you're a footballer though.
On sale since: March 2009
The cutesy appeal makes the MINI Convertible a love it/hate it car but whatever your view, the latest version's an improvement on the old model.
With a car this small, MINI had to make big compromises to include a folding cloth roof. They've actually done a good job, but the result is, naturally, still a de facto two-seater with a glove box for a boot.
Buying a MINI means weighing up cost versus residuals. In other words, it's expensive to buy, but they hold their value better than most small cars.
Audi A3 Cabriolet
On sale since: March 2008
Audi's done a good job making a hatch as compact as the A3 look good with two-doors and a cloth roof. In fact, this is one of the best looking affordable cabriolets on sale.
The neatly folding roof leaves a reasonable space left in the boot (260 litres in size) and there's some rear head and leg room. Best though is that it drives well, without wobbling like many drop tops.
Although a classy convertible, Audi charges a hefty premium over an equivalent A3 hatchback. A base model 1.2-litre TFSI costs £21,000, whereas the hatch is £17,000.
Peugeot 207 CC
On sale since: March 2007
If you can live with its slightly 'girly' reputation, we think this is the most handsome CC Peugeot has ever made.
The company an expert in small convertibles, and the 207 CC's no exception. The folding electric hard top stows compactly and the rear seats just avoid being useless.
The 207 CC matches the (relatively) economical MINI Convertible, but gives you more space and kit for the money.
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