As we move into spring, the minds of many drivers start turning, as they do every year, to thoughts of open-air motoring. In one sense, they are more likely to be disappointed than they were in the past. Manufacturers are no longer so keen to offer cars with soft folding roofs, and several of the major ones have all but abandoned the idea.
If the choice is no longer as deep as it once was, though, it is still impressively wide. To demonstrate, here’s a list of the soft-tops on sale in the UK today, with prices ranging from under £14,000 to over a quarter of a million.
Abarth 124 Spider
This is a more powerful version of the Fiat 124 Spider, with a 168bhp version of that car’s 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine. It’s available with both manual and automatic transmission.
Price: from £29,565
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
The Spider gives Alfa enthusiasts the opportunity to combine the performance of the 4C sports car with a wind-in-your-hair driving experience.
Price: from £59,505
Audi A3 Cabriolet
Audi’s small family car is available in Cabriolet form in addition to saloon, hatchback and Sportback body styles. The ultimate model is the high-performance S3, with a 306bhp engine and four-wheel drive.
Price: from £27,395
Audi A5 Cabriolet
The A5 Cabriolet is the soft-top version of the regular A5, which in turn is a sister car to the A4 saloon. The fastest and most expensive car in the range is the 349bhp S5.
Price: from £35,235
Audi R8 Spyder
The Spyder version of Audi’s fastest car follows the coupe range quite closely. The only difference is that only the coupe is available in Plus form with a 602bhp engine. The highest output for the Spyder is a more modest 533bhp, which should be enough for most people.
Price: from £131,140
Audi TT Roadster
Like its coupe equivalent, the TT Roadster comes with a choice of petrol or diesel engines and front- or four-wheel drive. The performance versions are the TTS and the TT RS.
Price: from £29,845
Bentley Continental GT Convertible
Bentley’s most successful model is also the only one available with a folding roof. It’s available with V8 or W12 engines, the most powerful producing 700bhp.
Price: from £154,400
BMW 2-Series Convertible
The soft-top version of BMW’s 1-Series is available in three trim levels and with seven engines, including the turbocharged six-cylinder petrol unit fitted to the high-performance M240i.
Price: from £27,060
BMW 6-Series Convertible
Other than the ones with the lowest specification, every 6-Series coupe has its Convertible equivalent, up to and including the very fast M6.
Price: from £65,435
DS 3 Cabrio
Citroen no longer sells soft-tops in the UK except through its DS brand. The DS 3 Cabrio range is very similar to that of the hatchback, except that the least powerful engine isn’t included.
Price: from £18,935
Fiat 124 Spider
The 124 Spider is essentially the same thing as the Mazda MX-5, but it has Fiat’s own 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine. The more powerful version is marketed as an Abarth.
Price: from £20,995
Like the DS 3 Cabrio, the 500C only just qualifies as a convertible because its roof moves up and down along rails in the side panels, and the car’s silhouette never changes. It does, however, offer wind-in-the-hair motoring to 500 fans.
Price: from £14,000
Ford Mustang Convertible
The only Ford currently on sale in the UK with a soft-top option is the Mustang. Like the Fastback hardtop, it’s available with either a 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine or a five-litre V8, and with manual or automatic transmission.
Price: from £32,345
The F-Type is unusual in that it appeared first as a convertible and only later as a fixed-roof coupe. All versions have supercharged petrol engines, with outputs of up to 567bhp, and the more powerful ones have four-wheel drive.
Price: from £56,935
Based on the GranTurismo, this is the first four-seat convertible Maserati has every put into production. The only engine on offer is a 444bhp 4.7-litre V8, though for variety there are Sport, MC and Centennial Edition versions as well as the standard model.
Price: from £98,970
Across its four generations, the MX-5 is the most popular two-seater sports car in history, with production now exceeding one million. The third-generation Roadster Coupe was very successful, and the new RF is likely to be too, though strictly speaking they shouldn’t be on this list as they’re not soft-tops.
Price: from £18,495
Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster
Mercedes subsidiary AMG rapidly followed up the launch of the GT with that of the Roadster version in 2016. Powered by a four-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, it’s available in two forms, the C model having a higher output (549bhp) and an extra Race mode for its seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox.
Price: from £108,245
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
The C-Class is available in saloon, estate and coupe forms as well as the convertible. The there’s a choice of six engines, from the 114bhp 1.6-litre of the C 180 to the 362bhp three-litre V6 of the C 43. All versions are available with a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Price: from £36,900
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
The Cabriolet, announced in March and not yet on sale in the UK, is the fifth and newest version of the current E-Class range. It will be the first soft-top E-Class ever available with four-wheel drive.
Price: to be confirmed
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
Although there are several kinds of S-Class saloon and coupe, only the S 500 and the AMG-developed S 63 and S 65 (the latter with a storming 621bhp from its six-litre V12 engine) get the Cabriolet treatment.
Price: from £112,860
MINI deleted a few body styles from its line-up some years ago, but the Convertible was popular enough to be saved from the chop. It’s available in four forms, from the relatively humble Cooper to the quick 228bhp John Cooper Works.
Price: from £18,765
All cars in the Morgan Classic range (4/4, Plus 4, Plus 8 and Roadster) are soft-tops. The Aero 8, though a convertible, has a solid (but folding) roof, while the Three Wheeler has no roof at all.
Price: from £35,600
Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Porsche has been making soft-top versions of the 911 since 1982. The current Cabriolet is available in many forms, from the entry-level Carrera to the 572bhp Turbo S, the most expensive Porsche on sale in the UK at just over £156,000.
Price: from £86,732
Mechanically identical to the Cayman coupe, the Boxster is available in standard and more powerful S forms. Controversially, both versions have four-cylinder engines these days, which has not gone down universally well with Porsche fans who prefer the sound of the old six-cylinder unit.
Price: from £44,758
Range Rover Evoque Convertible
The already popular Evoque became even more desirable when Range Rover introduced the Convertible version in 2016. It’s available with a 237bhp petrol engine or a 178bhp diesel, and four-wheel drive is standard.
Price: from £47,500
Built on the same platform as the Ghost and Wraith, and with essentially the same 6.6-litre V12 engine, the Dawn is the only convertible Rolls-Royce builds. It’s also the company’s most expensive model (and the UK’s most expensive soft-top) now that the Phantom has gone out of production.
Price: from £264,000
smart fortwo cabrio
The soft-top version of the smart fortwo comes in many forms, with power outputs from a modest 70bhp to a more exciting 108bhp for the Brabus versions. All-electric fortwos have already gone on sale in the US and are due to arrive here in September 2017. In its most basic form, the cabrio is the cheapest convertible available in the UK.
Price: from £13,510
The Cascada is Vauxhall’s only soft-top model, and is sold only in convertible form. On its launch in 2013, Vauxhall promoted it as a cheaper alternative to the Audi A5 Cabriolet.
Price: from £26,760
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet
Beetles are available as soft-top Cabriolets as well as hatchbacks. The range includes the rugged-looking Dune, which is more of a styling exercise than a serious off-roader.
Price: from £20,220