Although convertibles aren’t always the most practical vehicles, especially in the colder, wetter climates of the UK, they offer drivers something special: carefree fun on the road. Ask any owner of a convertible, and they’ll tell you that there’s nothing quite like cruising down the open road with the wind in your hair, enjoying the best that motoring has to offer.
The UK’s love affair with convertibles started back in the 1950s with prestigious automakers like Rolls Royce and Bentley bringing open-tops to the market. Since then, the best convertibles have been associated with luxury, prestige and having a lot of fun.
Today’s market is, clearly, very different from that of the 1950s. Although there are some premium convertibles out there from the likes of Audi, Mercedes, and Lamborghini, there is also a range of more affordable options for the budget-conscious motorist.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best convertibles for 2018.
Porsche 718 Boxster
When Porsche first designed the 718 Boxster, they did so with driver thrill in mind. The Boxster isn’t meant to be a practical car in any sense of the word: this beauty is all about having fun and experiencing life to the full.
The Boxster comes in two engines; a 296 bhp 2.0 litre, and a 2.5 litre, 345 bhp Boxster S. The latter of which allows the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in an impressive 4.2 seconds. What Car? awarded the car its prestigious Car of the Year Award in the Best Sports Car category in 2017, and for a good reason: the car is not only high-performance but comes with a relatively tame price tag compared to the more expensive 911.
The Boxster, however, shouldn’t be viewed as a poor man’s 911: it’s a quality, entry-level sports car in its own right, with impressive cornering and handling capabilities. Space is limited on the interior, but there is still a 150-litre boot for those who need it for their golf clubs. When it comes to the 718 Boxster, there’s little not to like.
The Mini Convertible
Although the Mini Convertible might sound like a bit of a gimmick, the car has proven to be popular among professional reviewers and the public alike, thanks to its unique combination of low price, fun driving performance, and luggage space.
In 2016, the Mini Convertible won Auto Express’s highly coveted Convertible of the Year award. The auto magazine said that they loved the fact that Mini allowed customers to personalise their vehicles on the inside and out with novel technologies, like 3D printing.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the vehicle is its go-kart-like handling. It feels fun on the road with its snappy cornering and BMW engineering. Although relatively inexpensive, the Mini is surprisingly popular among celebrities. Wayne Rooney, Madonna and Lily Allen have all been snapped in their Coopers.
When Mazda released the original MX-5 25 years ago, drivers couldn’t quite believe their eyes. Here was what seemed like a fully-fledged sports car, complete with open-top, for a surprisingly affordable price. Mazda’s budget offering has since gone from strength to strength.
The current model is over 100 kg lighter than the previous version, improving acceleration and cornering stability. And the new model has since become the best-selling convertible in the UK – an ideal substitute for people who don’t want to drop the cash required to buy a Boxster.
The car comes with two roof types: a manual on the standard MX-5 and an electric version on the RF. MX-5s with the new SkyActiv engine will go from 0 to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds.
Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI 190 Sport
Audi is having something of a successful year with the A5 with both the standard version of the car and the open-top Cabriolet exceeding sales expectations.
Why is this happening? Well, it’s not the performance. Although it’s called the 190 Sport, the 2.0 litre A5 takes more than 8.3 seconds to reach 62 mph, so you won’t get much in the way of straight-line acceleration thrills from the car.
But what is impressive is the fuel economy. Unlike many of the other vehicles in this list (with the exception perhaps of the Mini), the A5 offers astonishing economy that is verging on the unbelievable. Drivers, Audi says, can get 68.9 mpg. What’s more, the A5 comes with rear seating ample enough to fit two adults quite comfortably.
The A5 Cabriolet won What Car?’s Convertible of the Year Award in 2018 which probably explains why it is so popular, despite a price tag of more than £35,000.
Jaguar F-Type Convertible
The F-Type is arguably one of the best-looking cars that Jaguar have ever made, with its seductive lines, low profile, and elegant wheel arches. And among all of the models in the F-Type range, the convertible is probably the most stylish.
The F-Type comes in a variety of engine sizes, depending on your budget and preferences. Jaguar ships an entry-level version of the car with a 2.0-litre four-pot, but also gives customers the option to upgrade to a 3.0 litre V6 or a 5.0 litre V8 for maximum sound and thrills.
One of the most impressive features of the car is the 50:50 weight distribution in both X and Y directions. Jaguar made the F-Type Convertible with the aim of making it as sporty as possible, giving drivers what they wanted: a real performance car. Like so many cars in the performance segment, Jaguar opted for rear wheel drive, enabling drivers to get to 60 mph in under six seconds.
Celebrities love F-Type Jaguars. Victoria and David Beckham have been known to be partial to the model in the past.
The car, however, isn’t the most practical. The boot, while present, is only around 200-litres, so busy executives with lots of luggage might want to think twice. With that said, boot space isn’t compromised when running the car with the roof down.
The best convertibles: Summary
Although there were a lot of cars that deserved to be on the list of ‘best convertibles’ for 2018, we have whittled it down to just those that are truly deserving. From budget models to options for those who want to splash a little more cash. There is something available for everything. We are looking forward to what 2019 brings. We will be sure to create a list of the best convertibles at the end of this year.
Own one of the best convertibles from 2018? Here at Cayman Autos, we are experts in helping you keep your convertible in the best condition possible. Talented professionals undertake all of our repairs and they come with a 1-year warranty! If you need help looking after your convertible roof, contact us today on 01737 761599. Or visit the shop at 51 Ormside Way Redhill, Surrey RH1 2LG.