If you were asked to name the country where most convertibles were sold, what would you say? Perhaps sunny Spain – with only 37 days of rain in the Alicante region per year you would think most people would be driving around with the hood almost permanently down. How about Italy, or even the south of France – both known for producing long languid summers. Well, it may come as a surprise that in fact, the UK is actually the biggest market.
The reason may lie in our typical British response to a summer heatwave. A few days of warm sunshine has us throwing caution - as well as clothing - to the wind, eating ice cream on overcrowded beaches, dusting down the barbecue and, according to official sales figures, snapping up convertible cars. “There is most definitely a seasonal demand for convertibles,” says Rupert Pontin, chief car editor at motoring guide Glass’s. “There is a general trend for demand for convertibles in the used car sector to peak early in the summer months.
And who can blame us? The appeal of topless motoring is as clear as the sky on a summer day. The good news is that there is a convertible for everyone. Enjoy our top 5 picks and you could experience the sun on your face and the wind in your hair – for as long as summer lasts of course. It is Britain after all!
Audi A3 Cabriolet
One of the most stylish and desirable vehicles around, the A3 Cabriolet has simple, elegant lines complemented with a sophisticated interior, so you can show off whether you’ve got the roof up or down. Speaking of which, in less than 18 seconds – and at speeds of up to 31mph – the roof can be effortlessly deployed to make the most of the weather. With Colour Driver’s Information System, Audi Smartphone Interface and Bluetooth interface, the A3 Cabriolet delivers a ride as smooth as it is smart.
Fiat 124 Spider
Looking good, feeling good – the 124 Spider is very nimble out on the open road. Originally introduced 50 years ago at the Turin Motor Show, this vintage convertible has recently re-launched, benefitting from a stylish re-boot in the process. Classic Italian design and pure driving pleasure are brought to a completely new generation, through a powerful turbo-charged petrol engine, sophisticated suspension and traditional rear-wheel drive layout. Many of the components are shared with the Mazda MX-5 which contributes to the overall feel of quality craftmanship.
Citroen DS3 Cabriolet
Not a convertible in the traditional sense, the DS3 Cabriolet is more of a hatchback with an extremely large sunroof. Cleverly designed, it blends the distinct Citroën aesthetic with environmentally-friendly and efficient performance. All of the engines available are efficient and provide good performance, too. Choose from 2 HDi engines that supply either 110bhp or 90bhp and come with five or six-speed manual transmission. Alternatively, you could opt for one of three petrol engines that include manual transmission of either five or six speeds.
Jaguar F-Type Convertible
This is a convertible with a lot of personality and road presence. With the roof down you can hear the Jaguar roar – well, the engine at any rate. This stunning machine delivers glamour, pace, handling and comfort – making it the ultimate driving experience. The handling will have you enthralled - with sharp steering, powerful grip and agility this is a true sports car. Delivering a breadth of capabilities, it delivers power and excitement through its remarkable 5.0 litre engine.
No list would be complete without mention of the MX-5. It’s the ubiquitous summer drive. This two-seater roadster has been thrilling drivers for 25 years. Now in its fourth generation, its rightful claim to fame is being the world’s best-selling two-seater sports car. They are a favourite of us Brits especially, with an estimated 50% of all MX-5s sold in Europe going to UK buyers. Successfully combining usability, driving fun and reliability, it will likely be around to excite drivers for the next 25 years.