How To Buy A Convertible

A convertible buying guide with Inchcape.

Convertible Buying Guide With Inchcape

Despite our generally unkind climate, Brits buy more convertibles than anybody else in Europe. It’s part of the reason why convertibles come in more shapes and sizes than ever – from tiny two-seater roadsters like the Jaguar F-Type, to luxurious, all-season SUVs like the Range Rover Evoque.

Read our guide to help you choose your next convertible and discover more about these thrilling cars. 

Considering A Convertible

Convertibles are often viewed as more desirable than other models of car as they are slightly less common than other styles of car and offer a more fun driving and ownership experience. This level of desirability can mean reduce the overall cost of owning a convertible if depreciation is slower than a comparable coupe or saloon. 

Convertibles often offer a sporty driving experience and appeal to a wide range of customers. There are are a range of options, styles and engine types to choose from when deciding which convertible to buy. 

The main selling factor of a convertible is the opportunity to be able to put the roof down, have the sun beam down and the wind through your hair whenever you feel like it. A convertible immerses you in your surroundings. This is especially fun in the summer months and on road trips. The lowering of the roof also means you can hear more of the car which is ideal if you choose a sports convertible and worth considering if you are deciding between a diesel or petrol as the diesel will not sound as nice. 

The same factor which makes a convertible so much fun also compromises the car to some extent. Removing the roof means the car has to be strengthened in other ways such as adding additional support to the chassis. This adds weight which can reduce performance and increased fuel consumption. Additionally, no matter how much extra strength is added the car may remain more unsettled on a drive compared to a coupe. Choosing a sports car convertible such as a Jaguar F-TYPE or Porsche will ensure you are never disappointed with the driving dynamics. 

One possible drawback of a convertible is the lack of practicality. They often only seat two people and don't have as much luggage space due to sacrificing space to store the roof and its motors. Having said this there are a range of models to choose from which can still offer practicality by offering room for four adults and some models such as the Porsche 718 have two boots. 

Most convertibles still offer plenty of boot space for a weekend away or to play golf.

Convertibles may be less refined, especially if they are a soft top as these are not as dense as a conventional metal roof on a coupe. However many manufactures now offer four layer soft tops which offer very similar levels of refinement and insulation whilst saving weight compared to a hard top alternative. 

A common concern of a convertible is how safe it is, as you may assume the passengers are exposed. However, convertibles like all cars must pass stringent tests before being able to be sold. Most convertibles have a strengthened windscreen and roll bars which pop up in seconds following a crash. These plus other safety systems such as airbags and crash prevention software ensure that convertibles offer good levels of protection to their occupants.  


Types Of Convertible

There are a range of body styles to choose from: 

  • Roadster - A roadster is a two seater sports car with a folding roof, these are also referred to as a Spyder.
  • Four Seater - A convertible with space for four adults.
  • Hard Top - A convertible with a metal folding roof.
  • Soft Top - A convertible with a fabric folding roof.
  • Targa - Removable roof with a full width roll bar behind the front seats.

Most convertibles come with one of two roof configurations; a soft top or a hard top. 

Soft tops are made out of fabric and are often cheaper as they use more cost effective materials and have a simpler construction. They also weigh less than hard top roofs so this can improve performance and reduce fuel consumption. The main downside is that fabric roofs may be less secure than a hard top alternative made out of metal. Fabric roofs may also offer slightly less refinement. 

Hard tops are can look better than fabric roofs as the roof blends into the rest of the car body. They also offer greater security and insulation. However, hard tops often cost more due to the added technology such as the materials used, motors and computers powering the roof operation. Hard tops also take up more room in the boot when the roof is folded down as unlike with fabric the roof takes up a fixed space and cannot be folded. 

Buying A Used Convertible

Buying a used convertible can be a cost effective way to get into a premium convertible car which is only a few years old. There are lots of models available and hard top versions won't be so expensive compared to when they are new. 

Although used convertible cars have more components to check compared to other body styles as there are more complicated and expensive parts powering the roof. Therefore, it is essential to check over the roof operation and condition. 

At Inchcape all our used cars undergo a thorough check to give you peace of mind. 

Browse the latest Used Convertible Deals with Inchcape.  


New Convertibles With Inchcape

Audi offers a range of convertible models all with soft top roofs: 
  • The Audi A5 Convertible - a four seater convertible based on the desirable A5 Coupe with a soft top roof. 
  • The Audi TT Roadster - an iconic design with two seats and a soft top roof. Available with a range of engines and trims including the thrilling RS TT. 
  • The Audi R8 Spyder - the most exciting convertible in the Audi range with a V10 engine and supercar driving dynamics. 
Browse the latest New Convertible Offers with Inchcape. 

BMW offer a range of convertibles for every taste: 
  • BMW 2 Series - the compact sports convertible in the BMW range with rear wheel drive, four seats and a fabric roof.
  • BMW 4 Series - recently released the new 4 Series Convertible can comfortably seat four adults, has a redeveloped soft top roof that is 40% lighter and a range of engine choices. 
  • BMW 8 Series - the flagship convertible model, the 8 Series is a GT car. With beautiful lines, a luxurious cabin for four adults and a range of powerful engines including the M8 Competition with 625bhp.  
  • BMW Z4 - the pure sports car in the BMW convertible range. This two seater roadster ensures a fun drive with a range of petrol engines and a light soft top roof.
Browse the latest New Convertible Offers with Inchcape. 

Jaguar's current convertible lineup is limited to the desirable Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible which is available with a range of engines including a 2.0l petrol and V8 petrol. The F-TYPE seats two adults in style and has a soft top roof to ensure the driving dynamics are not compromised.

Browse the latest New Convertible Offers with Inchcape. 

The Lexus convertible range features the halo Lexus model the LC. Designed to be the most beautiful convertible with the four layer fabric roof up or down. The LC has four seats, but is designed to carry two adults in luxury. With the roof down the driving experience is thrilling with a V8 sound accompaniment. 

Browse the latest New Convertible Offers with Inchcape. 

The Mercedes-Benz lineup features a range of convertible models including: 
  • C-Class Cabriolet - offering comfort for four adults, the C-Class has a range of engine options including the C63 S with 510hp.
  • E-Class Cabriolet - the most luxurious cabriolet in the range can seat four adults. It is a showcase of technology with a stunning and advanced interior, a range of engine choices and a soft top roof.
  • AMG GT Roadster - the most exciting convertible in the Mercedes-Benz lineup with stunning sports car design elements, a 4.0 litre petrol engine and soft-top roof the AMGT GT is designed to thrill. 
Browse the latest New Convertible Offers with Inchcape. 

MINI offers the MINI Convertible. Based on the three door hatch with the same styling and interior, the MINI Convertible has a fabric roof which ensures that limited weight is added to the model. Recently updated with new styling, technology and colours, the MINI Convertible has never been so desirable. Available with a range of engines from the 1.5l petrol engine with 135hp to the JCW model with the 2.0l petrol producing 231hp, there is a MINI for everyone. 

Browse the latest New Convertible Offers with Inchcape. 

Porsche have a range of convertible and targa models including: 
  • 718 Boxster and Spyder - the 718 is a sports car for two adults, offering exhilarating driving dynamics due to its mid-engine chassis. 
  • 911 Cabriolet - capable of seating four, the 911 Cabriolet is a soft top sports car based on the 911 Coupe. It is available with a range of engines with the Turbo S model offering the most performance. 
  • 911 Targa - with a classy design, the Targa features a removable roof section and glass rear section. The Targa can seat four and is available in the 4S specification. 
Browse the latest New Convertible Offers with Inchcape. 

Volkswagen's convertible offering is the T-Roc Cabriolet which offers a mix between an SUV and a convertible. This model can seat four adults, its soft top roof, digital dashboard and strong looks all contribute to a desirable model. 

Browse the latest New Convertible Offers with Inchcape.