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Best convertibles and cabriolets of 2022

Sunny skies, a warm breeze and long stretches of tarmac devoid of traffic are what drop-top driving dreams are made of. Well not if you’re British apparently. Despite our distinctly non-convertible friendly weather, we often top the convertible sales charts compared to most European countries. Whether it’s out of sheer stubbornness or simply our nature to see the light at the end of even the darkest cloud cover, we have selected the best convertibles and cabriolets on the market for you to indulge your rain-drenched drop-top fantasies.

Oh, one thing to highlight: the words 'convertible' and 'cabriolet' are effectively synonymous, and used interchangeably by manufacturers.

Porsche 718 Boxster

1. Porsche 718 Boxster

carwow price from
£697* / month
Mazda MX-5

2. Mazda MX-5

carwow price from
£296* / month (£24,834)
Audi R8 Spyder

3. Audi R8 Spyder

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Lexus LC Convertible

4. Lexus LC Convertible

carwow price from
£1,259* / month (£100,536)
Audi TT Roadster

5. Audi TT Roadster

carwow price from
£471* / month (£35,013)
BMW 4 Series Convertible

6. BMW 4 Series Convertible

carwow price from
£587* / month (£43,905)
Jaguar F-Type Convertible

7. Jaguar F-Type Convertible

carwow price from
£962* / month (£63,216)
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

8. Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

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BMW 8 Series Convertible

9. BMW 8 Series Convertible

carwow price from
£1,032* / month (£79,576)
MINI Convertible

10. MINI Convertible

carwow price from
£361* / month (£24,725)

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Advice about convertible cars

Convertible cars FAQs

According to the dictionary of Google… there’s not much difference between a convertible and a cabriolet. A convertible is "a car with a folding or detachable roof". A cabriolet means a "car with a roof that folds down". Then there are roadsters, which are two-seater convertibles and are also sometimes called spiders – or spyders. Sounds confusing but essentially they all mean the same thing – a car that can drop its roof.

Interestingly, originally a cabriolet was a type of horse drawn carriage. It was a two-wheeled carriage with a soft hood and was pulled by a single horse. Cabriolet is from the French word cabriole which means 'goats leap', so called from the motion of the carriage.

Hybrid convertibles seem like the perfect combination, offering silent EV progress while cruising along your favourite high street (or beach drive), then bursting into a V8 crescendo as you head out on the open road. Yet they are few and far between, and none come with anything quite as exotic as a V8, in fact the now discontinued BMW i8 was the only true hybrid convertible on sale and it matched its EV powertrain with a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine. Cars like the Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet offer what is termed mild-hybrid setup which incorporates a small electric motor to aid the internal combustion engine, but these cannot drive on pure EV power alone.

A pure electric convertible seems like another great idea, yet this is another area where there are precious few entrants. In fact, currently there are just two; the miniscule Smart EQ fortwo cabrio and the insane Ferrari SF90 Spider. A juxtaposition of offerings if ever there was one.

The tiny little Smart EQ is perfect for tight city streets but not great pretty much everywhere else. The SF90 meanwhile is best sampled on a racetrack by a trained professional. We hope to see some more attainable and balanced entrants in this segment soon, such as the VW ID.3 convertible which was teased back in 2021 with a potential 2022 launch date. 

There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to tow a caravan or trailer with a convertible, however, as with any tow car it will need to be officially approved for towing by the manufacturer. This can usually be confirmed on the manufacturer’s website.

Another rule to follow is that the total weight of the caravan should not exceed 85% of the tow car’s kerb weight. This applies to any vehicle, regardless of whether it has a convertible roof or not.

A convertible vehicle tends to weigh and cost more than its hardtop equivalent. Most also lose a bit of handling sharpness and will be a bit slower against a stopwatch thanks to that extra weight. 

Unless you are planning to take your car regularly to track days, the dynamic differences are hard to notice in daily driving conditions. Interior space tends to be compromised but if that isn’t a concern then the feel-good factor of drop top motoring more than makes up for any potential shortcomings.  In summary, if you want one get one!

Folding metal hard tops were fashionable in the 2000s and early 2010s, but have now largely fallen out of favour due to the weight and complexity they add to a car, and the fact a metal roof tends to take up more space than a fabric one when stowed, leading to less luggage space. Sound and heat insulation materials for fabric roofs have also improved markedly over time, although the extra security of a metal roof can be appealing for people living in town who have to street park their car. The Mazda MX-5 RF has a metal section of roof that electronically folds away but, other than that, you'll need to turn to the second-hand market if you're after a car with a folding hardtop, and whatever you do, listen out for strange noises or slow operation when opening and closing the roof on a test drive, as these things can be tricky and expensive to put right if they go wrong.

The Fiat 500C starts from £19,140, although this isn't a full convertible, but rather has a vast fabric sunroof that covers the length and width of the roof and slides back above the boot. The Mazda MX-5, meanwhile, is a bona fide convertible and starts at £25,800 (prices correct as of Nov 2022).

The Bugatti Mistral can travel at 261mph and is due for launch soon.

Yes, and studies have shown modern convertibles to be as safe as conventional cars thanks to features like rollover hoops that pop out to protect occupants' heads if the car flips.