Best convertible cars 2016

6 Jan, 2016 4:00pm Sam Naylor

Roadster, cabriolet or spider, we explore the best convertibles on sale now

The roof of a car is pretty important, especially in Britain - it keeps the inevitable bad weather out and makes sure the body stays rigid as you press on down a twisty road in the countryside. So why are people in the UK so in love with convertible cars?

Well, while a car with a fixed roof is sensible and practical, one without is an indulgence: good-looking, fun to drive and perfect on a summer's day.

Convertible cars tend to make a lot of sense in the UK, as strange as it might seem - the climate here means it's often just about warm enough to get the roof down, rather than being so hot that air-conditioning is needed.

There are two main types of convertible: ones that are built from the ground up to be roofless, and versions of existing models that have had the hard top chopped off and a complex folding canvas or metal roof fixed in its place.

Best roadster to buy now

The latest crop of convertible models is better than ever. Cars without a roof need extra strength in the body to make up for the rigidity that is lost from not having a fixed roof. This means they tend to be heavier and not as good to drive - but modern convertibles are so well made that you can hardly tell the difference. Plus, cars like the Mazda MX-5 that were built to be a roadster can be a real joy to drive.

Mazda MX-5 Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015

You can grab a bargain convertible in the form of a city car - even if these economical, urban runabouts do blur the line between a proper convertible hood and a glorified sunroof. 

Beyond that, the choice expands. There are family-sized cars with traditional lightweight multi-skinned fabric roofs offering eerily good noise insulation or full folding hard-tops claiming a best-of-both-worlds compromise. Depending on the size of these models, usable rear seats and a decent boot are now a very real possibility for convertibles.

The classic two-seater roadster is also in rude health, from the iconic Mazda MX-5 to the epic Jaguar F-Type. And the convertible market extends upwards further, to supercars like the McLaren 650S Spider promising huge performance and luxurious machines like Bentley's Continental GTC that afford those with the cash an unforgettable way to see and be seen. 

Amid all this convertible car choice, we've pinpointed our top 10 best convertible cars currently on the market. Hold on to your hats and click the links below to find out what made the list…          

Best convertible cars 2016