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The best new convertibles for every budget

Fancy a drop-top drive on a winding country road? Here are the best new convertibles you can buy right now, whatever your budget.

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From regular roadsters to exotic drop-tops, we’ve calculated the best convertibles you can buy new from your local dealership.

Despite the rather dreary weather we get in the UK, it seems the British have always had a soft spot for a soft top, as we look to make the best of our two months of summer sun. If you are looking for the best set of wheels to do some wind-in-the-hair motoring yourself, we have you covered.

We’ve analysed all of the new convertibles and cabriolets available at each price point, then consulted our industry-leading Expert Rating Index to see which models have the highest review scores from across the UK motoring media.

With comprehensive review data backing our recommendations, you can be confident that this is the definitive guide to the best new convertibles for every budget that are on sale in the UK right now.

Under £20,000: Fiat 500C

The best new convertibles for every budget – Ferrari 500C Riva | The Car Expert

If you are looking for happiness on four wheels, this is it. For a small open-air runabout with a lot of character, you won’t find better value for money than the compact Fiat 500C. It is pretty much identical to the regular Fiat 500; but instead of a hard top it has a full-length retractable sunroof.

With prices starting from just over £15K, the Fiat 500C has been commended by the UK media for its unique styling and character which can be personalised to you hearts content, as well as being quite an affordable cabriolet package. In addition, the 500C has an easy-to-operate fabric roof that can also be opened partially.

Like the regular Fiat 500, the 500C is a very agile city car that is easy to drive and park, and has a very economical selection of engines to choose from. However, as the last facelift for the 500C was in 2015, the model is starting to look a bit dated. It is not the most practical of options either, as the back seats are quite cramped and it has a very small boot.

But does the Fiat 500C feel just a little bit too common to you? You should also check out the Citroen C1 Airscape, which is similarly nimble and cheap to run as the Fiat 500C.

As of October 2021, the Fiat 500 holds an Expert Rating of 53%, based on 21 reviews published by the UK media.

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Up to £30,000: Mazda MX-5

Now in its fourth generation, the Mazda MX-5 is the world’s favourite roadster and beloved in Britain. In fact, half of all MX-5s sold in Europe are now on UK roads, offering sports car thrills for much more reasonable prices than premium alternatives.

The MX-5 has won over 30 industry awards since the launch of the fourth generation model, including World Car of the Year and UK Car of the Year in 2016.

Reviewers particularly commend the Mazda MX-5 for its light and agile driving dynamics, and just how thrilling it is to drive with the top down, but more consumer-focused reviewers are quick to point out that the MX-5 lacks cabin space, and is not a very practical choice for your daily commute.

If you are looking for something with a bit more legroom, the popular Mini Convertible may be more up your alley. Similarly priced to the MX-5, the Mini Convertible also offers an exciting driving experience, while providing more interior space and a bigger boot.

As of October 2021, the Mazda MX-5 holds an impressive Expert Rating of 86%, based on 40 reviews published by UK media sources.

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Up to £40,000: Audi TT Roadster

Audi TT Roadster test drive wallpaper 2019 | The Car Expert

Another UK fan favourite, the Audi TT Roadster is a two-door convertible that possesses plenty of pace, but still maintains confident road manners and poise. Reviewers generally conclude that the Audi TT Roadster has impressive build quality and distinctive styling both inside and out.

Conversely, some reviewers feel that the TT Roadster is too sensible for its own good, as it’s not as sporty to drive as you might expect from a drop-top sports car.

Another roadster that deserves a mention in this price range is the BMW Z4, which has been praised for its build quality and its attractive design, inside and out.

As of October 2021, the Audi TT has an Expert Rating of 78%, based on 47 reviews written by the UK media.

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Up to £50,000: Porsche 718 Boxster

Widely regarded by the British media as the most complete sports car package available for (just) under £50,000, the Porsche 718 Boxster is the entry-level model in the Porsche convertible range. Go much beyond the entry-level model, however, and you’ll easily be breaking the £50K threshold.

Reviews of the 718 Boxster published by the UK media have been overwhelmingly positive, as reviewers generally conclude that the 718 Boxster is beautifully built, has blistering turbocharged pace, has exceptional handling and body control, and a very attractive exterior design.

However, reviewers are not too happy about the 718 Boxster’s engine, which is rather unusual for a Porsche. Despite guaranteed driving thrills, the four-cylinder engine of the newest generation can’t quite match the punchy performance of the six-cylinder engines of older Boxster models.

If you are feeling particularly patriotic, the British-made Lotus Elise is another fantastic option under £50,000, commended for its agile handling and rapid acceleration.

As of October 2021, the Porsche 718 Boxster holds an excellent Expert Rating of 86%, calculated using the scores given in 28 different reviews.

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Up to £75,000: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

If you prefer comfort over performance, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet is one of the best convertibles on the the market. This open-top cruiser offers fantastic day-to-day practicality and cabin space for four, with interior luxuries that no other cabriolet under £75K can match.

Reviewers are also keen to mention how great the E-Class Cabriolet’s ride comfort is; an elegant choice for those who prefer leisurely drives to track days. However, the infotainment system is also said to be a bit fiddly, and the optional extras available can make things very pricey quite quickly.

As of October 2021, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet holds an Expert Rating of 74%, based on reviews collected from 13 different UK media sources.

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Up to £100,000: Porsche 911 Cabriolet

It’s no great surprise to find a Porsche 911 in this list. The 911 Cabriolet has been a mainstay of the Porsche family since the 1980s, and the latest 992 generation is undoubtedly the company’s best soft-top 911 yet.

Reviewers also generally conclude that the Porsche 911 Cabriolet has very responsive handling and is reasonably practical; there’s decent luggage space in the traditional 911 frunk, while you may as well use rear seats for storage as well, because they’re not great for passengers.

With prices starting from £95K, it is a very expensive purchase too, and although the six-cylinder engine sounds fantastic while cruising with the top down, it is not the most economical of powertrains, and you will find yourself refuelling it far more often than the family car.

As of October 2021, the Porsche 911 hold an outstanding Expert Rating of 91%, based on 41 reviews published by the UK media.

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Over £100,000: Ferrari F8 Spider

Possibly the last mid-engine V8 convertible that Ferrari will ever produce before the illustrious Italian manufacturer is dragged kicking and screaming into the electric age, the Ferrari F8 Spider is most powerful conventional V8 drop-top that Ferrari has ever produced.

Highlights for F8 Spider reviewers are the sports car’s fantastic performance and typically stunning exterior design, as well as its surprisingly practical interior trim.

If you have always dreamed of driving an extremely fast convertible sports car, then the Ferrari F8 Spider is a fantastic choice, should you have at least £225K lying around… Yes, you read that number correctly. Ferrari has also made Apple CarPlay an optional extra, and is charging a further £2,400 for it – cheeky.

Reviewers like to compare the Ferrari F8 Spider to the McLaren 720 Spider, which is another exhilarating candidate available for around the same price.

As of October 2021, the Ferrari F8 holds a formidable Expert Rating of 89%, based on 19 reviews published by UK media sources.

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Coming soon

Carrying Britain’s convertible culture into the near future, there are a few new cabriolet candidates on the horizon, due to arrive on UK roads in the coming years.

BMW has a few convertible models set for a UK launch; the 4 Series and M4 convertible variants are arriving imminently, while there will almost inevitably be a new version of the popular 2 Series convertible. It’s not been announced yet, but the coupé version has just been launched and so the soft-top sibling is likely to be allong shortly.

Mercedes-Benz is also launching the next generation of its famous SL sports car in 2022. The new model has been developed by AMG, and is said to be the sportiest SL we’ve seen since the 1950s ‘Gullwing’ original.

If you’re in the market for a new Ferrari or McLaren, but for some reason you’re not convinced by the current models, you could instead wait for the release of the Ferrari 296 GTS and McLaren Artura Spider – neither of which have been confirmed, but are likely to appear as open-air siblings to the new coupé models from each brand.

For the definitive rankings of the best new convertibles for every budget, we’ve used The Car Expert’s industry-leading Expert Rating Index.

The Index analyses new car reviews from 25 of the top UK motoring websites, using an advanced algorithm that we have developed specifically to compare review scores. It constantly recalculates and updates the Expert Rating score for every single car in real time to make sure you’re getting the most accurate and reliable ratings for every new car.

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Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.