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Erin Baker: The 10 best convertibles to buy in 2017

03rd May 2017
erin_baker_headshot.jpg Erin Baker

The past 12 months have been cracking for new convertibles. Maybe everyone senses the onslaught of autonomous cars, and we’re all suddenly keen to maximise enjoyment from four wheels.

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Whatever the reason, there’s nothing like the wind in your hair, even when it’s minus two degrees and you’ve got the heated seats and heated steering wheel on and the temperature round to red hot. Yes, it’s more financially prudent to buy your open-top roadster in the dead of winter when dealers are keen to shift drop-tops, but if you’ve left it until now, here’s my pick of the bunch this year (until BMW finally lets us drive its i8 Spyder, that is), based on that ethereal mixture of driving dynamics, thrills, good looks and sheer unadulterated pleasure. 

Mazda MX-5 RF

The MX-5 finally shifted its unfair description as a hairdresser’s car with this model, which has muscular hips and metal buttresses supporting that handsome targa roof. It’s the pick of the bunch for us, dynamically and styling-wise…

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Abarth 124 Spider

…Until, that is, we got behind the wheel of this. Great sound from the exhausts, clever little breathed-on 1.4-litre engine from Fiat, matt black bonnet contrasting with white paintwork. Yes, please. 

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Rolls-Royce Dawn

The most expensive, luxurious convertible to go on sale in the last 12 months. Retains Rolls’s famous, peerless “waftability”, with a silent cabin despite the huge fabric roof. The exterior styling gains from having the top lopped off. There is no finer way to travel with the wind in your hair.

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Jaguar F-Type SVR

Boom, it’s noisy, it’s aggressive, it’s purposeful: it’s Jaguar’s finest assault on the senses ever. It’s also 567bhp-fast. Not one for pootling around the countryside looking for a picnic spot, more one for hiring through country lanes looking for the next apex.

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Lamborghini Huracan Spider

A “lifestyle Lambo?”. Well, yes, if your lifestyle is lived at ten-tenths, in the fast lane, the entire time. It’s still ferociously good to drive but now you can hear that V10 in all its monstrous glory, even more clearly. La dolce vita.

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Caterham Seven Sprint

Don’t get excited: all 60 of this limited edition are sold, but wait patiently for some to appear on the secondhand market, or buy yourself another Caterham. You might well get more power (this is the Suzuki three-pot with 80bhp), but you’ll never get these looks on another Caterham; those cream 14in wheels and the flared wings…. sigh.

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BMW 2-Series Convertible

The M2 is an absolute barn-stormer, and the 2-Series in many way encapsulates all that BMW does well: great build quality, punchy wheelbase and sharp handling, so what’s not to like about a topless version? It’s had rave reviews from nearly everyone. Far better looking than the 1-Series it replaces.

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Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet

A short step down from the Rolls-Royce Dawn (although the financial gap is thankfully bigger), you’ll find the Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet. A true luxury convertible, with all the bells and whistles and great looks to boot, matched by extraordinary chassis refinement. We have one in next week; joy.

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Mini Convertible

Still a classic for city summer driving: turn up the tunes and live life. The second convertible from BMW Group on the list, and with good reason: few brands match the solid build once you’ve chopped the top off a metal box. Hardly any scuttle shake, but a lot of pleasure to be had. 

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Audi A3 Cabriolet

Sharp styling replaced the ungainly looks of its predecessor, and it drives far better too, with refined suspension and efficient engines, and significantly more space. This or the 2-Series convertible? Would both be greedy?

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