Sunshine and the promise of warmer

weather summons the notion of open top motoring. But what cabriolet to buy, and how much to afford?

Top-of-the-range is the new Rolls-Royce Dawn, which is perfection as long as you’ve got £273,240 and more to spend.

Cabriolet (from £38,080)

accommodates four in much more style and comfort, but even so there’s less rear leg room than you’ll find in the comparatively sized A4 saloon.

Rolls-Royce Dawn

By the way, you’ll need a suitably grand garage in which to house this country estate on wheels. No less majestic is the Bentley Continental which will wring as little as £154,000 from your wallet for sheer opulence – but you’ll still want those little extras which will squeeze another few thousand pounds from you in a moment of impulse.

BMW has a rich offering of convertibles starting with the 2 Series, which in effect is a topless 1 Series which has been given a boot. The recipe works, and for what is essentially a small car there’s more space front and rear than you’d imagine. Prices begin at £28,255 rising to nearly £31,000, and that’s without any optional extras. Go up a notch and the 4 Series Cabriolet, which is priced from £37,705, has a

metal folding roof which affords saloon comfort when closed, though it does add considerable weight to the car. Based on the 3 Series, it’s high on quality, and there’s the option of specifying all-wheel drive. Even more refinement comes with the vast 6 Series Convertible, commanding a whisper over £66,000. It’s a lesson in elegance with its continental grand tourer styling and appointment, and sophisticated performance is assured thanks to a choice of exceptional straight six- or Vee-eight engines. Unlike the 4 Series Cabrio, this is an old-school convertible with a hefty cloth hood that’s impervious to the worst weather imaginable.

Audi A3 Cabrio

More mainstream, possibly, are the offerings from Audi, BMW and Mercedes- Benz. Audi’s A3 Cabrio, the price starting from £29,680, is nicely refined and well- equipped, and for its compact size it manages to be a true four-seater, though rear space is limited. The larger A5


The Mercedes-Benz range of open tops begins with the C-Class (main picture) which directly rivals Audi’s A5 and BMW’s 4 Series cabriolets, both of which offer more luggage space. That said, this is an all- road dream machine, especially with the optional 4Matic all-wheel drive. At prices starting from a shade under £37,000, it’s an indulgence which is topped by the new

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

BMW 2 Series Convertible

£45,360 E-Class Cabrio which shares its technology with the E-Class Coupé. Notwithstanding the Rolls-Royce Dawn and Bentley Continental, the ultimate in cabriolets is the new S-Class which will have you reaching in your pocket for a few coins under £116,000. Sumptuous in every respect, expect the figure to blossom once those essential optional extras have been chosen, all adding to unsurpassed extravagance.

MINI Cooper Convertible

If it’s a chic foursome convertible with bags of fun that’s wanted, there’s always the style-conscious MINI, which could be just the bargain with prices commencing at £18,530.

Malcolm Bobbitt

ISSUE 424 | 22 MARCH 2018 | 47

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