When you think of a convertible, it’s likely a hot summer day that comes to mind, and it’s true that these models tend to be more popular in the warmer months.
But despite the UK’s questionable weather, Brits have one of the greatest appetites for convertibles of any market. And these models aren’t just limited to summer – especially if you get a hard-top model that features a metal folding roof, as opposed to a fabric one.
So if you’re thinking about a hard-top convertible that’ll see you through the winter months, here’s what we recommend.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
BMW has flipped and flopped from soft-top convertibles to hard-top convertibles and back again over the years, but if you’re looking for year-round usability, the outgoing BMW 4 Series Convertible is a brilliant option.
Featuring a three-piece metal folding roof that can be lowered in just 20 seconds, the 4 Series offers impressive refinement for a drop-top and is available with a suite of engine options – from efficient diesel models through to the sporty M4. If you opt for the sportiest diesel model, the 435d, it also comes with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system for additional traction in poor conditions.
Think hard-top convertibles are big and expensive to run? Well, the Renault Wind has something to say about that, with its low pricing and affordable running costs. This little-known convertible had a short-lived career as it was on sale for just a couple of years until 2012.
Based on the Renault Twingo city car, the Wind won’t be winning any awards for its low-rent interior and limited space, but it’s a very charming drop-top that is good to drive and quite stylish – even 10 years on from its debut. A 133bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine helps to add a bit of poke to the mix.
Mazda MX-5 RF
When you think of the Mazda MX-5, it’s more than likely the rag-top model that comes to mind. But since 2017 buyers have been able to get the world’s best selling roadster as a hard-top Retractable Fastback model, shortened to RF.
Retaining all the charm of the standard MX-5, but with additional refinement thanks to the metal hard-top, the RF is brilliant fun to drive and looks fantastic as well. It’s available with either a 128bhp 1.5-litre petrol unit or a 158bhp 2.0-litre (upgraded to 181bhp in 2019), and regardless of engine the MX-5 is a sheer delight to use all-year round.
Mercedes is well-known for offering hard-top convertibles with genuine everyday usability, and all generations of the SLK feature an electric folding metal roof for added refinement and comfort.
While this Mercedes has been around since 1996, we’d recommend a later second- or third-generation car, which debuted in 2004 and 2011 respectively. These feature a higher-quality interior and are also surprisingly roomy, though are firmly restricted to being a two-seater, like all other models on this list (with the exception of the 4 Series). Hot AMG models are also available, with the sportiest versions packing more than 400bhp.
The Z4 is the closest BMW gets to a true two-seat roadster, making it more fun to drive than the more grown-up 4 Series.
There have been 3 generations of Z4 to date, but the only one to come with an electric folding hard-top is the middle model, which was on sale between 2009 and 2016. This BMW looks the part, has a well-built interior and is available with a great range of engine options.