With the promise of sporty driving and the thrill of the wind in your hair, convertibles are the embodiment of the pleasure of driving. We’ve gathered a selection of the ten best convertibles available on the market today, covering everything from practical entry-level convertibles to exotic supercars. In putting our list together, we considered many aspects of each car, including performance, interior quality, range of options, critical and customer reviews, safety ratings and reliability scores.
Soft Top vs. Hardtop
Before selecting your next convertible, consider whether you want a hardtop or a soft top convertible; aside from the aesthetic concerns, there are some differences between the two styles of convertibles. Hardtops are typically more expensive, but they’re more secure and offer better insulation. Soft tops are less expensive, and they’re also more reliable. However, soft tops are vulnerable to slashing attacks by thieves, and soft tops offer less protection from bad weather.
2016 BMW 2-Series
With its low profile, wide body, and simple, athletic lines, the BMW 2-Series is an entry-level soft top convertible, offering great power and performance to match an attractive starting price. The interior is modern and sporting a leather trim, with the instruments arranged for maximum convenience around the driver. BMW’s iDrive package is available with a center console display of up to 8.8 inches, and shoppers can choose from a host of driver assistance packages for increased safety. Steering, braking and accelerating are all brisk and responsive in the 2-Series, with a suspension tuned to give tactile feedback to the driver without an uncomfortable ride. The front seats are comfortable, but some people may find the rear seat to be a bit constrained.
Engine: Turbocharged 240-horsepower 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder
Top Speed: 130 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 5.4 seconds
Base MSRP: $32,850
2016 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
With its wide stance, flowing lines and swept-back windshield, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class convertible will turn heads wherever you go. This luxury hardtop convertible fits nicely into its price range, with attractive stitching highlighting its leather interior and chrome accents adding a measure of shimmer and shine to the cabin. The Mercedes-Benz COMAND infotainment system is included with a range of creature comforts, including a 7-inch display, DVD player, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and more. The SL-Class is nimble and refined on the road, offering subtle power that reveals itself when needed. Drivers can alter some of the driving characteristics to suit their own personal driving style. There isn’t much storage space in this two-seated vehicle, however, and many of its performance options paradoxically detract from the fun of this vehicle; many drivers may prefer the driving characteristics of the base vehicle.
Engine: 329 horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
Top Speed: 155 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 5.1 seconds
Base MSRP: $86,950
2016 Audi TT
The sleek curves and rounded edges soften the aggressive stance of this hardtop convertible that straddles the line between an entry-level convertible and a luxury convertible. The interior of the vehicle is wrapped around the driver, with the capacious 12.3-inch screen mounted directly in the dashboard rather than the center console. The seats can be fitted with a variety of different materials and colors, with attractive accents sprinkled throughout. The magnetic suspension gives the vehicle a nimble, controlled feel on the road, and the TT is able to make the most of its power thanks to its new lighter body. The TT doesn’t offer much room for passengers in the rear seat, however, and the magnetic suspension can sometimes leave the driver feeling disconnected from the road.
Engine: Turbocharged 220 horsepower 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder
Top Speed: 130 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 5.3 seconds
Base MSRP: $42,900
2016 BMW 4-Series
The profile of the BMW 4-Series is noted for its clean lines, no-nonsense back end, and redesigned front end that takes advantage of negative space to build an athletic stance around its low roofline. The interior places the driver in a position of power, with all instruments and controls designed to work around the master of the vehicle. Contrasting colors, tastefully appointed seats and interior trim give the 4-Series an upscale feel. BMW’s iDrive system holds a prominent position in the center console, giving drivers access to the full power of the voice-controlled system. A host of different driver assistance technologies, including adaptive cruise control, complete the package for the driver. Performance is responsive and smooth, outputting plentiful power on demand, and this luxury hardtop convertible hugs the road while offering an easy ride. The 4-Series is a little heavy, however, and it suffers from somewhat sluggish steering.
Engine: Turbocharged 240 horsepower 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder
Top Speed: 155 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 5.7 seconds
Base MSRP: $41,950
2016 Porsche Boxster
With its swooping curves, scooped doors and bulbous headlights, the Porsche Boxster echoes the classic styling of its storied name. This luxury soft top convertible wraps the driver and his passengers in comfort and elegance, pairing quality leather surfaces with a raft of personalization options. The Boxster offers a host of technologies to make life easier, from a 7-inch touchscreen control system to parking assist technologies. Performance in the Boxster lives up to its Porsche pedigree, with abundant power, excellent steering and an adjustable suspension; unlike many cars in its class, the Boxster manages to give the driver a great feel for the road without compromising on comfort. This vehicle has few flaws to speak of; the rear seat can be cramped and storage space is limited, but those should be minor concerns for anyone shopping for a Boxster.
Engine: 265 horsepower 2.7-liter flat-6
Top Speed: 164 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 5.2 seconds
2016 Porsche 911
An oversized windshield, sloping roof and an abundance of smooth, classic lines typify the iconic Porsche 911. This exotic supercar pairs the freewheeling fun of a soft top convertible with the thrill of legendary automotive performance. The interior is classic and tastefully appointed, with many customization options and creature comforts to choose between. Controls are simple and direct, with buttons and switches favored over touchscreens. Performance across the entire lineup of the 911 is kingly; even in the base model, the 911 offers supercar power coupled with accurate steering and a nimble suspension, making this car a true pleasure to drive. With advanced brakes and plenty of driver assistance technologies, the 911 is remarkably safe for its level of performance. The rear seats in the 911 offer very limited leg and head room, and the electric steering can sometimes feel a little flat.
Engine: 350 horsepower 3.4-liter flat-6 engine
Top Speed: 179 mph
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds
2016 Chevrolet Corvette
The angular lines, exaggerated vents and gently sloping surfaces of the Chevrolet Corvette give it an aggressive and edgy image. This soft top convertible straddles the edge between a luxury sports car and an exotic supercar, offering performance that teases at the edges of supercar territory. The interior is laid out with premium materials and a host of technologies and creature comforts, including Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. Its powerful engine and well-tuned suspension give the Corvette the ability to run with cars twice its price; it accelerates quickly and handles like a dream thanks to its Performance Traction Management system. The Corvette offers surprisingly robust storage options, but it can be a fuel hog, especially around town.
Engine: 455 horsepower 6.2-liter V8
Top Speed: 195 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 3.7 seconds
Base MSRP: $55,400
2016 Alfa Romeo 4C
A low-slung, muscular frame with an oversized windshield and lines reminiscent of famous Italian cars, the Alfa Romeo 4C cuts a fine figure on the highway. The 4C offers both a cloth top and a hard top, allowing drivers to choose the style that best fits their needs at the moment. Unlike many of the other cars on this list, the interior of the 4C is fairly minimalistic; head room is abundant, but many of the accents inside are relatively cheap. The focus of the 4C is squarely on performance; the car’s lightweight body gives it a great power-to-weight ratio, helping it accelerate smoothly and handle like a dream. Although the 4C drives like a supercar, rear visibility is terrible, and the interior leaves something to be desired.
Engine: 237 horsepower turbocharged 1.75-liter 4-cylinder
Top Speed: 155 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 4.5 seconds
Base MSRP: $57,500
2016 Jaguar F-Type
With its elongated front end, smooth curves and truncated rear end, the Jaguar F-Type evokes the image of a crouching cat ready to pounce on the open road. This luxurious hardtop convertible is firmly focused on delivering dazzling performance, yet interior comforts aren’t neglected. An LCD screen links together many of the control functions of the vehicle, and leather surfaces and carbon fiber accents tie the interior together. The engine offers plenty of power to keep you moving, but handling is sometimes a little stiff, especially in the convertible option. Compared to similar vehicles from other manufacturers, however, the F-Type is a little more expensive than it needs to be.
Engine: 340 horsepower 3.0-liter V6
Top Speed: 161 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 5.1 seconds
Base MSRP: $65,000
2016 Aston Martin Vanquish
The lines and creases of Aston Martin Vanquish are sharp and precise, setting off elements of styling at precisely the right angle for maximum impact. Its profile is wide, low and elegant, with curves and muscular lines to evoke feelings of freedom and movement. This soft top convertible rests firmly and unashamedly in the land of exotic supercars. The interior is hand-assembled with the finest luxury materials, including quilted leather, solid metal accents and carbon fiber elements, and each interior is custom-designed to the buyer’s specifications. The minimal rear seat can be replaced with a cargo shelf for better storage options. The performance of the Vanquish doesn’t disappoint either; its V-12 powers the Vanquish along at a steady clip, and its wheels and adaptive suspension grip the road firmly for a fantastic road feel, so it’s not a surprise that the Vanquish is among the best 2016 convertibles. The infotainment system and other technologies are competent and expected, but not earth-shattering given the price of the Vanquish.
Engine: 568 horsepower 5.9-liter V12
Top Speed: 197 mph
0-60 MPH Acceleration: 3.8 seconds
Base MSRP: $287,650
From basic entry-level vehicles to the pinnacle of automotive perfection, convertibles offer a fun driving experience that can’t be matched on four wheels. With so many powerhouse convertibles available for fans of open-air driving, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.