Convertibles are fantastic fun and there is plenty of choice for spring/summer 2016. The following list reveals some of the best, each of which has a special strength that helps it stand out from the crowd. Represented brands include: Rolls-Royce, Mazda, Ford, Mercedes-AMG, Caterham and VW with prices from £18,495 to £264,000.
10 - Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet (7-Speed Automatic)
The Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet's core strength is its immense speed. It has a 3.8-litre, 580hp, petrol engine that propels it to 62mph in 3.0 seconds. Top speed is 205mph and it has 4-wheel-drive to help motorists exploit its potential. This 2 door fashion statement averages 30.4mpg and emits carbon at the rate of 216g/km.
Further strengths include the prestigious badge and striking exterior styling. The cabin incorporates: leather sports seats, a multi-function steering wheel (with paddles for changing gear), plus a high quality Burmester stereo. The 911 also has a range of driving modes to change how it feels on the road. All for £155,309.
9 - Mazda MX-5 1.5i SE (6-Speed Manual)
The Mazda MX-5 earns plaudits for safety features such as its active bonnet. Its purpose if it strikes a pedestrian is to lift slightly to create an energy absorbing buffer. Among other features, this enabled Euro NCAP – the independent body that assesses vehicle safety – to award it a “Best in Class” title 2015.
The 1.5i SE trim: produces 131hp, hits 62mph in 8.3 seconds and averages 47.1mpg. Carbon emissions are 139gkm. This plaything also has rear-wheel-drive which suits enthusiastic drivers as it guarantees sharper handling than front. Standard equipment includes: air-con, power mirrors and side airbags. All for £18,495.
8 - Rolls-Royce Dawn (8-Speed Automatic)
The Rolls-Royce Dawn's most notable strength is its prestige. Irrespective of any mechanical credentials, the badge elevates it beyond virtually every other convertible on these terms. Power comes via a 6.6-litre, 571PS, petrol engine that propels it to 62mph in 4.9s. Expect: 155mph top speed, 19.9mpg and Co2 of 330gkm.
The cabin is modern yet pays homage to the company's past via elegant wooden trim on the: dashboard, centre console, door pockets and behind the rear seats. Standard equipment includes everything that could reasonably be expected, of course. Optional extras include a cocktail bar/personalised tread plates. All for £264,000.
7 - Ford Mustang GT 5.0 V8 (6-Speed Automatic)
The Ford Mustang GT 5.0i V8 stands out because its name is truly iconic. Say “Mustang” and every motoring lover pays attention. It inherited this strength from a long line of illustrious predecessors. Expect: 416hp, 0-62 mph in 5 seconds (approximately), a maximum speed of 155mph, 22.1mpg and carbon emissions of 289g/km.
Standard equipment includes: a rear-view camera, key-less entry system, start/stop button and dual-zone climate control. Leather seats add a touch of class and there is room for 4 people. The styling is pure muscle car and that is refreshing. All for £39,995.
6 - Morgan Plus 8 (6-Speed Manual)
The Morgan Plus 8 excels thanks to its classic styling that ensures it cannot be mistaken. Highlights include: the monstrous front grille, twin circular headlamps, vast wheel arches and low, sporting, profile. Chromed detailing further emphasises its status.
Power comes courtesy of a 4.8-litre, 367hp, V8 petrol that ensures it hits 62mph in 4.5 seconds. Top speed is 155mph, it averages 23.3mpg and emits carbon at a pace of 282g/km. Power is sent to the rear-wheels only. Standard equipment includes: power steering, leather sports seats and a FM/AM stereo. Prices start from £86,355.
5 - Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI S Cabriolet (6-Speed Manual)
The Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI S earns plaudits as a capable, practical, all-rounder that is sensibly priced. It has 4 seats, for starters – plus a class-competitive 250-litre boot. Furthermore, fuel costs are low as its 110hp petrol engine averages 54.3mpg. Road tax costs very little too as its emissions are merely 119g/km.
The Golf Cabriolet – as is typical of the manufacturer's vehicles – also feels more robust than many competitors. Standard equipment includes: air-conditioning, electric front/rear windows, powered mirrors, alloy wheels and stability control. The styling is restrained and sophisticated, yet sporty. Prices start at £22,980.
4 - Porsche Boxster 2.7 (6-Speed Manual)
The Boxster excels as it is tremendous value for money. For £40,098, motorists get one of the most fashionable badges on the road. That is important in this class. Furthermore, the 265hp petrol engine propels it to 62mph in 5.8 seconds and maximum speed is 164mph. The Boxster 2.7 is a serious sports car, in other words.
The Porsche styling – that is reminiscent of the 911 – emphasises how much it offers for the money. Expect 33.6mpg and emissions of 195g/km, so running costs are fair considering the performance. Standard equipment includes air-conditioning and stability control.
3 - DS (Citroen) DS3 1.6 BlueHDi DStyle (5-Speed Manual)
The DS 3 Cabrio 1.6 BlueHDi DStyle has to be commended for its environmental efficiency. The 100hp diesel engine averages 80.7mpg, returns 85.6mpg on the extra-urban cycle and hits 70.6mpg in town. Emissions are 92g/km, so it qualifies for free road tax. These strengths ensure very low running costs and it hits 62mph in 10.8s.
The DS 3 Cabrio also has quirky styling to help it stand out. Highlights include the fabric roof that rolls backwards while leaving the metal supports that run its length in position. Motorists feel less exposed than in a full convertible, in other words. Standard equipment includes cruise control. All for £18,595.
2 - Mercedes-AMG SL 65 (7-Speed Automatic)
The Mercedes-AMG SL 65 wins praise for its remarkable equipment specification. It automatically steers into parking spaces, for example. It also monitors motorists for signs of fatigue then recommends rest if necessary. These gadgets complement the: adjustable suspension/transmission, neck warmer, active bonnet that protects pedestrians during a collision, plus the soft close doors.
Power comes courtesy of a 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine. Expect: 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds, a maximum speed of 155mph, 24.4mpg and emissions of 270g/km. The styling is muscular, purposeful and imposing; yet reasonably subtle. The AMG SL 65 costs from £173,360.
1 - Caterham Seven 2.3 CSR 260 (6-Speed Manual)
The Caterham Seven CSR is among the most thrilling, heart stopping and enticing convertibles on the market. Irrespective of its impressive speed, the very low seating position, compact cabin and pin-sharp handling demand attention. Want to feel alive? Want to feel exposed to the mechanics of driving? If so, choose a Caterham.
The 260hp petrol engine sends it to 62mph in 3.1 seconds and top speed is 155mph. In reality, however, it feels fast even when travelling fairly slowly. Standard equipment includes the: full windscreen, heater, carpeted interior, push button start, immobiliser and ventilated front brakes. Prices start from £43,855.