1. Porsche 911 (991.1) Targa 4S
The idea of a phase one, pre-turbo 991-generation 911 Targa sells itself. Yes, the turbocharged 3.0-litre unit that came in with the 991.2 is by no means a bad engine. But turbos always dull sound and throttle response. So go a little earlier. The phase one Targa 4 and 4S use the gorgeous 3.8-litre flat-six engine. They also marked the introduction of the beautiful Targa roof design – all the open-air bliss of a convertible but without the clunky silhouette – the current-gen 911 is still using to this day. £70k buys a pre-loved 2014 Targa 4S in perfect condition.
2. Abarth 124 Spider
Question: what sounds like the end of the world, sits on Mazda’s MX-5 platform and delivers more laugh-out-at-loud fun for £20k than anything else on four wheels? Answer: Abarth’s 124 Spider, obviously. Small but perfectly daft, Fiat’s hot 124 is a hoot, with a manual soft-top roof that drops in moments, a loud and characterful turbo four-cylinder engine and a limited-slip diff that’ll have you Ken Block-ing every roundabout you come across. Not subtle, but you’ll be having too much fun to care.
3. Aston Martin DB11 V8 Volante
Despite some flawed product, Bond’s favourite car maker has lost none of its allure in recent years. And right now, with no-nonsense Lawrence Stroll calling the shots, Aston Martin looks suspiciously like it knows what it’s doing – perhaps for the first time ever. Its F1 cars are tearing it up (well, the one with Alonso driving is) and the new DB12 is everything an Aston Martin GT should be: beautiful, rapid and, finally, with a suitably top-tier interior. But the DB12 isn’t yet available as a convertible, so take a look at lightly used V8 DB11 Volantes. £100k buys one of the greatest looking – and sounding – drop-tops mankind’s yet created.
4. BMW M4 (F82) convertible
You want a BMW M4 but you don’t want to have to apologise for the way it looks. We hear you. The new M4 Convertible’s also too new, and therefore £70k secondhand… Solving both issues for as little as £27k is the F82 M4 convertible. £36k buys a 30,000-mile example. And if there’s a better place in which to enjoy summer 2023 then we haven’t found it yet.
5. Bentley Continental GTC
Designer Stefan Sielaff penned the third-generation Conti before being head-hunted by Chinese giant Geely to be its global design VP. Yep, he’s that good. Five years on, his take on Bentley’s dashing 2+2 remains a thoroughly gorgeous example of the breed, particularly in the right spec. Opting for a GTC and its folding fabric roof (forget your cabriolet prejudices – this thing feels as solid as a coupe when the roof’s up) does add a little weight and take away some boot space. But the Conti’s always been more cruiser than hustler anyway. Low-mileage examples start at a shade over £150k for a cherished V8 – the W12’s faster, sure, but it’s more expensive and lacks that all-important eight-cylinder soundtrack.