Top coupe cabriolets for summer

  • The pick of the cars for cruising in the warm weather...
  • ...British weather means you'll want a coupe convertible
  • Choose from a VW Eos or a smaller Mazda MX-5

Here comes the sun, and as such, you might be thinking that the time's right to buy a convertible. However, the British weather can turn on a penny so you might feel that a coupe convertible is the only way to go.

Here's a selection of folding-hardtop superstars you could consider: 

Volkswagen Eos SE 1.4 TSI 158bhp

 

Price new: £22,820

Fuel economy: 41.5mpg

CO2 Emissions: 159g/km

Car tax: £155

Showroom tax: £155

BIK rating: 20%

The Eos is the surprise package in this selection. Why? Well, look at the price, then look at the power output. It's only £900 more than the Ford Focus CC, but you get much more power and a quality badge. This has everything: a refined, free-revving petrol engine that gives you sprightly acceleration along with composed handling and a well-built interior. Running costs are affordable and the boot is easily big enough to cope with a weekly shop.

 

Ford Focus CC 1.6 98bhp

 

Price new: £21,945

Fuel economy: 39.8mpg

CO2 Emissions: 169g/km

Car tax: £180

Showroom tax: £250

BIK rating: 22%

Like the hatch, the Focus droptop is one of the best handling in its class. In terms of cornering ability, it's better than the Volkswagen Eos, and it is cheaper. But, it only delivers 98bhp and it does labour when accelerating. The badge might also put you off - you've got a droptop, great, but it's just a Ford Focus. If you are insistent that you want wind-in-the-hair driving, you'll probably want something more flash.

 

Vauxhall Astra TwinTop Sport 1.6i 16v 113bhp

 

Price new: £22,005

Fuel economy: 41.5mpg

CO2 Emissions: 163g/km

Car tax: £155

Showroom tax: £155

BIK rating: 21%

It's £60 more expensive than its main rival, the Ford Focus CC, and it delivers 15bhp more, but it's still fairly ordinary. It's based on the old Astra so it doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of residuals. The old-shape Astra's resale values aren't great - around 35% - but the arrival of the new shape - should hurt them even more. The TwinTop is roomy and, unlike the Focus CC, is sleek and well-proportioned.

 

Peugeot 207 CC 1.6 VTi 120

 

Price new: £18,545

Fuel economy: 43.5mpg

CO2 Emissions: 150g/km

Car tax: £125

Showroom tax: £125

BIK rating: 19%

The 207 CC is for your young urbanite who fancies a bit of gallic flair. If you're after practicality and enough room to carry four people then you can forget it, the 207's rear seats are a token effort that adults- even young ones - cannot sit in. You can get a set of golf clubs in the back lying flat, but that's about it. This car does represent good value for money - it's just short of £18.5k, it's cheap to tax and fuel bills are reasonable.

 

BMW 3-Series 320i SE 170bhp

 

Price new: £32,910

Fuel economy: 41.5mpg

CO2 Emissions: 159g/km

Car tax: £155

Showroom tax: £155

BIK rating: 20%

You may look at the price of this and think 'no way' but the open-top 3-Series does represent good value for money. It may be a couple of grand more than the Mercedes-Benz SLK, but you get four decent-sized seats, low fuel and tax bills. There's plenty of bang for your bucks too - with 170bhp under the bonnet you won't feel short-changed at the lights.

 

Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe 1.8 SE 124bhp

 

Price new: £18,870

Fuel economy: 40.4mpg

CO2 Emissions: 167g/km

Car tax: £180

Showroom tax: £250

BIK rating: 22%

The MX-5 is the grand old man of convertibles. The first pop-up headlights version was introduced in 1990 and although the MX-5 has changed a lot since that version, the principle is still the same - this is a fun-to-drive, affordable, attractive two-seat sports car. The major change was the introduction of the retractable hard-top in 2006. This move might have been a disaster since the extra 37kg of weight required for the folding mechanism could have compromised the handling, but the reality is there's little difference between hard and the soft top version. Although the MX-5 is cheap to buy, the tax burden is pretty steep.

 

Lexus IS 250C SE 205bhp

 

Price new: £35,630

Fuel economy: 30.4mpg

CO2 Emissions: 219g/km

Car tax: £245

Showroom tax: £550

BIK rating: 32%

This is the most expensive coupe convertible in this selection and it's a tough call in pretty much every area. It's costly to run, it's emissions are high, it isn't as good to drive as the BMW 3-Series or even the Mercedes-Benz SLK and it doesn't look that great. But if comfort is your thing then splash out. The seating is comfortable and the sound insulation throughout the car works, even when the roof is down.

 

Mercedes-Benz SLK 200 Kompressor 182bhp

 

Price new: £30,755 (£1,615 auto)

Fuel economy: 36.2mpg

CO2 Emissions: 184g/km (192 auto)

Car tax: £200

Showroom tax: £300

BIK rating: 25%

The SLK was the first production car to feature a folding metal roof and it did it very effectively. So effectively that main rival BMW fitted one to its BMW 3-Series. The SLK has proved popular and for good reason - it's decent enough around the corners, it has enough pace to make the experience enjoyable and its rock-solid interior should persuade the most anti-convertible die-hards that you can have practicality as well as fun.