- Not as common as before, but a wide range to choose from in 2019
- We pick our favourite adaptable sports car and coupes
- A car for every budget, from £20,000 to £200,000
Hardtop convertibles used to be a common sight – even popular hatchback models like the Ford Focus and Renault Megane got in on the action – offering all the roof-down advantages of a soft-top with none of the associated refinement drawbacks. For city living with only on-street parking, a hardtop convertible offers greater security and requires less maintenance.
Now, though, your choice is restricted to a handful of models. That’s because a folding metal roof is heavy, hard to engineer and it’s hard to show off the fact you have a convertible when it’s closed. However, the appeal of a quiet, solid roof that can also be tucked away at a moment’s notice can be enough to overlook those points.
The best hardtop convertible cars
We’ve picked our favourite folding hardtop convertible cars to make your search a bit easier. Make sure you get a free car valuation before finding your dream model in the Cars for Sale section. Plus, you can visit our finance section to work out how to get the best car for your budget and see how much you can afford to borrow with our finance calculator.
1. Mazda MX-5 RF
Unlike the simple, manually operated fabric roof of the standard car, the Mazda MX-5 RF (for retractable fastback) features a motorised metal and plastic hard top that offers better refinement and more mature styling when closed. The RF is heavier than the soft-top but also features stiffer suspension to help deal with that weight. Net result? Considerably less bodyroll when you fling it into a corner. Bonus.
New price: £23,095 - £29,895
Lease this car from new: From £271 per month
Used price: £12,815 - £22,115
Typical used monthly cost: £316 - £546
0-62mph: 7.3 seconds
Fuel economy: 39 - 46mpg
Boot space: 130 litres
Insurance group: 24 - 30
2. Mercedes-Benz SLC
Previously known as the SLK, this is the latest iteration of the often diesel-powered roadster, prioritising badge appeal and interior quality over all-out driving enjoyment. You can have it with a variety of four-cylinder motors (there’s no V8 this time around, sadly) plus a lusty V6 in the form of the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43. The roof folds away neatly for refined, bluster-free roof-down motoring, and can even be specified with a large glass panel so it looks like it’s down even when it’s not.
New price: £32,774 - £48,425
Lease this car from new: From £343 per month
Used price: £15,130 - £34,915
Typical used monthly cost: £373 - £861
0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
Fuel economy: 36 - 70mpg
Boot space: 225 litres
Insurance group: 41 - 45
3. BMW 4 Series Convertible
If you want an open top cruiser for the weekend that transforms into a sensible business-class coupe in the week, the BMW 4 Series is really your only choice nowadays. Being a four-seater, there’s an awful lot of car to cover, and as such the roof itself is quite impressively huge and concertinas into the boot with balletic precision. Engine-wise you’re limited to the more powerful petrol and diesel options, but there’s the usual selection of BMW trim levels including the popular performance-focused M Sport – plus the fire-breathing M4 Convertible.
New price: £41,375 - £78,205
Lease this car from new: From £464 per month
Used price: £10,905 - £50,955
0-62mph: 4.5 seconds
Fuel economy: 29 - 64mpg
Boot space: 220 litres
Insurance group: 30 - 45
4. Ferrari 488 Spider
Getting behind the wheel of a convertible Ferrari with a powerful, mid-mounted V8 is about as good as it gets, right? Few other cars can match its pace and soundtrack – the latter piped directly into your ears with no roof to interrupt proceedings. Then, when it rains or you want to be a bit more conspicuous, the folding roof can be deployed electronically. There’s even a little window behind the seats that can be lowered to preserve the exhaust noise level for the best of both worlds. The range is quite simple – one 3.9-litre turbocharged engine, one trim level and as many options as your bank balance will allow.
New price: £219,409 - £219,409
Used price: £137,870 - £212,975
0-62mph: 3.0 seconds
Fuel economy: 24.8mpg
Boot space: 230 litres
Insurance group: N/A
Another bedroom wall poster pipe-dream, the McLaren 650S Spider is a serious focused speed machine powered by a fearsome turbocharged V8 motor. Open the unconventional dihedral doors and hurdle over the carbonfibre tub and you’ll find yourself in a cockpit not unlike that of a racing car, but the McLaren is actually a very accessible and enjoyable car to drive at normal speeds too. As with the Ferrari 488, you don’t have to sift through loads of engine or trim choices, but there are plenty of customisation options, including loads of carbonfibre trim both inside and out.
New price: £218,305
0-62mph: 3.0 seconds
Fuel economy: 24mpg
Boot space: 144 litres
Insurance group: N/A
What to read next:
*Prices correct at the time of publication and are all subject to change.