10 Affordable Convertibles Gearheads Should Consider

This year has been a mixed year of economic statistics, with persistent inflation and continued supply chain constraints encouraging a noticeable decline in affordability and sales of new vehicles. Admittedly, automakers have prioritized commercial vehicles and cars with higher market margins, while true customer preference takes a back seat. Nonetheless, this year’s summer is set to be among the hottest on record, making it the best time to own a convertible to deal with hot weather driving.

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Despite the shortage of supply, there is still a healthy range of decently priced convertibles to consider. Over the past year, the most significant trend in the segment has been the adoption of the fabric top over the heavier hardtop, not to mention improved fuel efficiency and sound insulation. With a few more weeks to soak up the sun, here’s a buying guide to the most affordable convertibles gearheads should consider.

ten BMW 4 Series – $55,500

The BMW 4 Series stands out in the premium midsize segment with its sensational styling, premium chassis design, diverse engine line-up, cutting-edge technology and innovative equipment. While there’s an impeccable M440i trim to consider, the most affordable way to access BMW’s entry luxury convertible is the 430i model, with a starting MSRP of $55,500.

The BMW 430i houses a 255hp TwinPower Turbo 2.0-litre inline-four, mated to an eight-speed Sport automatic transmission. The smart and sophisticated 430i four-seat convertible sets high-class standards that rival the Audi S5 Cabriolet, Mercedes-AMG C43 and some soft-top Porsches.

9 Mercedes-Benz C-Class – $55,400

Although Mercedes-Benz has redesigned the sporty entry-level C-Class for 2022, it retains the style and prestige of the flagship S-Class in a smaller, more economical package. In addition, the elegant C-Class Cabriolet maintains the unique Mercedes-Benz heritage with an ever-renewed design, an agile chassis, sophisticated technology, refined engines and coupe-like comfort.

Related: 10 Things to Know Before Buying the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The base C 300 Convertible benefits from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine developing 255 hp, mated to a fast and smooth 9G-Tronic transmission. Sitting below the S-Class and E-Class convertibles and the two-seat AMG SL, the C-Class Cabriolet offers the best price in the lineup, with a starting price of $55,400.

8 Audi TT Roadster – $54,600

The current generation of TTs have been around for a while, but they still stand out with distinctive styling, an intriguing interior, responsive handling, fun-to-drive demeanor and impressive fuel economy. In a niche where glamor and style trump outright performance, the Audi TT Roadster fits the bill for an affordable convertible with a competitive starting price of $54,600.

The Audi TT Roadster is equipped with a 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine developing 228 hp mated to a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. Although not as fast as its similarly priced rivals in the segment, the Audi TT Roadster makes up for the shortcoming with advanced technology and an impressive choice of premium materials.

seven Audi A5 Convertible – $52,200

Sitting atop the Audi A5 hierarchy, the A5 Cabriolet features the same sculpted design and refined interior as the four-seat coupé, with the unbeatable blend of outstanding performance and open-air driving. Considered one of the most attractive options in the segment, the A5 Cabriolet emphasizes luxury and driving entertainment more than performance for a starting price of $52,200.

Under the hood is a 261bhp 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder paired with a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission and ultra-technology Quattro all-wheel drive. The lack of expected creature comforts like well-padded armrests might deter some, but its well-balanced character and surprising functionality ensure excellent value for money.

6 BMW Z4 – $51,500

BMW is offering the irresistibly stylish Z4 two-door sports car only as a soft-top convertible, offering the comfort, dynamic performance, modern technology and premium cabin quality we’ve come to expect from contemporary roadsters. Surprisingly, the Z4’s starting price of $51,500 makes it one of the least expensive compact grand tourers in the luxury convertible segment.

Related: 10 Things to Know Before Buying the 2022 BMW Z4

The base sDrive30i trim features a rear-wheel-drive setup and an impressive 255-hp 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo inline-four mated to an eight-speed sport automatic transmission. Along with thrilling freedom in the open, the Z4’s handling, practicality and comfort make it a must-have candidate for everyday driving.

5 Chevy Camaro – $33,995

The Chevrolet Camaro is one of the last cars to keep the old-school muscle car segment alive, with all the iconic features combined with modern technology. With a starting price of $33,995 for the base 1LT trim, the Camaro Convertible echoes the classic styling and aerodynamic performance of the iconic coupe.

Chevrolet fitted the Camaro convertible with a 2.0-liter turbo engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission to deliver 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Chevrolet Camaro convertible may be disadvantaged by its limited functionality, but it still outstrips more expensive sports cars with driving thrills.

4 Mini Cooper – $33,800

The Mini Cooper Convertible is the only premium offering in the small car segment, imbued with the unmistakable retro-modern appearance and classic sporty style that characterizes the brand. The open-top four-seater is available in base, S, and John Cooper Works trim options, with the more affordable base model starting at $33,800.

Power for the base model comes courtesy of a 134bhp 1.5-liter TwinTurbo Power inline-three, mated to a standard six-speed manual or optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Although the Mini Cooper is stylish and fun to drive, its smaller dimensions make it more suitable for those who value driving pleasure without worrying about everyday practicality.

3 Ford Mustang EcoBoost – $32,970

Like other muscle cars, the Mustang EcoBoost convertible is a capable sports car with high levels of performance and a thoroughly engaging attitude. The Mustang EcoBoost Convertible’s starting price of $32,970 allows owners to add excellent performance-enhancing options, transformative appearance packages and distinct customization combinations within an affordable budget.

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Most will say that the joy of a Mustang comes from thunderous V-8 options, but the 2.3-litre, 310-hp turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is enough to embarrass some contemporary V-8s. Despite the limited luxury options and inferior interior quality compared to more upscale offerings, the Mustang EcoBoost is one of the more desirable choices in the relatively slim convertible muscle car niche.

2 Ford Bronco – $31,300

Ford specifically designed the Bronco as a capable off-roader with body-on-frame construction, available in two-door, four-door or Sport variants. For enthusiasts with active lifestyles, the four-door Bronco with a starting MSRP of $31,300 comes standard with a folding top and frameless doors to promote open-air motoring.

Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder is the standard engine, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission to deliver 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, the four-door Ford Bronco is one of two off-road convertible SUVs designed and equipped to tackle rugged trails straight from the factory.

1 Mazda MX-5 Miata – $27,300

The legendary MX-5 Miata is a staple in the convertible segment, a pure driver’s car with a timeless design inspired by classic 1960s roadsters. Along with delivering thrills, the Miata has earned an unbeatable reputation for affordability, a lifelong tradition that sees it become the most frugal convertible with an attractive starting price of $27,300.

The MX-5 Miata is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder SkyActive-G engine, mated to a six-speed SkyActiv-MT manual transmission and rated at 181 hp. Despite compromises like comfortable passenger space, firm ride and road noise, the MX-5 Miata’s near-perfect balance, precise steering and playful handling are key to its cheerful driving characteristics.