The days are growing longer and the sales of aftersun products are about to fly through the roof, which can mean only one thing: summer is fast approaching! So what cars should you aim to drive when the sky is blue and bright?
The Italian one: Abarth 124 Spider
Mechanical limited-slip diff, an extra 36lb ft of torque from the 1.4 Multijet engine, a louder exhaust and a matte black bonnet… this is a great take on the world’s best-selling roadster, the Mazda MX-5, and a bit of a bargain.
We’ve yet to drive it, but we already know we want this four-seat German grand tourer. Straight-six diesel or twin-turbo V8 petrol form your choice. Only an M8 Convertible could possibly whet our appetite more.
The clever one: Honda NSX
Sunny weather doesn’t just attract convertible drivers: a twisting patch of dry tarmac and the promise of sun bouncing off metallic bodywork calls for the Japanese engineering marvel that is the sure-footed NSX, with its three electric motors and 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, sprinting to 62mph in 3.3 seconds.
Choose from Cooper, Cooper S or JCW iterations. Either way, it’s a short, sharp urban package oozing funky little details inside and out, and the chance to endlessly personalise. The John Cooper Works version with BMW’s 2.0-litre four pot engine turns this three-door cabrio into a proper hot hatch.
The glamorous one: Aston Martin DB11 Volante
It has the twin-turbo V8, not the V12, under the bonnet, but that’s not a problem: this chassis feels far more attuned to a tight twisting mountain road. The Volante is possibly the best-looking drop-top out there right now, and performance isn’t bad either: 510 horses and almost the same amount of torque.
Is there a better way career across muddy tracks or down snow-covered fields than in a high-sided convertible that keeps the mud and water out but lets the sun and fresh air in? The answer, but the way, is a resounding no.
The pure one: Caterham Seven 360
Ford Duratec 2.0-lite engine, 180 horsepower, 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds, and an awful lot of fresh air. Available in kit form or factory built, and with the normal chassis or the large version. It might be a classic design, but why tamper with a car that works so well?
Bentley’s famous W12 engine delivers large mouthfuls of seamless power, swallowed silently by the chassis. The fabric roof options include a glorious tweed version, excellent when mated to the dark cricket ball paintwork. The interior remains one of the best crafted mix of wood and leather on wheels.
The classic one: Ferrari Portofino
A splendid two-plus-two, mid-engined grand tourer from the Prancing Horse. The Portofino replaces the folding-hardtop California which didn’t have the sales success Ferrari is used to. The Portofino, however, has much better styling and is 35 per cent stiffer than the California. A wonderful way to travel.
The name denotes the power, which is a stupendous amount to try to put down on any public road: 0-62mph is dealt with in just 2.8 seconds. Roof down motoring is a lot of fun, but with the roof up, the best toy is the optional tinted glass roof – press a button for a 90 per cent tint to keep out prying eyes.