Best Convertibles for 2021
  • Buying Guides

Best Convertibles for 2021

By Zac Estrada | March 8, 2021

Convertibles have special appeal to those who appreciate the wind-in-your-hair approach to driving. They can be for showing off in Florida or enjoying a twisty road in California. Or even in the winter in Colorado with enough jackets and scarves. Over the years, convertible cars have taken on new shapes to incorporate various tastes. There are two-seat models (roadsters) with either four, six, or eight-cylinder engines. There are luxurious four-seat models or more focused sports cars. There have even been a few based on SUVs.

They are all compromised over body styles with fixed roofs, with sacrifices made in terms of quietness, blind spots, and cargo space. But for some, nothing beats the experience of being closer to nature than cooped up inside a, well, a coupe. While there are brands like Ferrari and McLaren that make convertibles, the new cars on this list can leave the dealership for less than $30,000. Here are some of the best convertibles for 2021.


Audi A5 Cabriolet

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Based on Audi’s equally-noteworthy A5 Coupe and Sportback models, the A5 Cabriolet is an opulent four-seat convertible. Its slick exterior styling is mated to a beautifully finished interior, with high-grade materials and reasonably comfortable seating for four people. The fully-powered fabric top is better insulated from the elements than most, too, while it doesn’t take up an unusually greedy amount of space in the trunk when it’s down.

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The S5 model offers more performance than the standard A5, along with a smooth turbocharged V6 engine and an aggressive exterior styling treatment. But while it may be quicker from a stop and offer a sportier driving experience, the A5’s 2.0-liter turbo-four offers plenty of power already, with its 261 horsepower and quick-shifting seven-speed transmission. And the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system reinforces the A5’s position as a four-season convertible. At $51,445 MSRP to start, it’s firmly an upscale car. But it’s a very satisfying
one.

Browse Audi A5 Cabriolet listings here.


Audi TT Roadster

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Another stylish Audi drop-top, the TT Roadster, offers less in terms of practicality than an A5 Cabriolet, but it can get away with it because of its perky personality. The compact dimensions reveal a two-seat interior that is certainly intimate but recalls that of a sports car rather than a luxurious cruiser. Yet even with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 228 horsepower and Quattro all-wheel-drive powering a relatively small car, the TT doesn’t entirely live up to the sports car ideal.

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Instead, it also offers a comfortable driving experience and everyday usability. The interior is beautifully finished, too, and comes with metal accents and a fully digital instrument panel, the Audi Digital Cockpit. At $55,540 MSRP, it costs more than the larger A5, but the TT also comes extremely well-equipped. And now that Mercedes-Benz has dropped its SLK roadster, the TT has style and luxury game to itself among this price class.

Browse Audi TT Roadster listings here.


BMW 4 Series Convertible

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The 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible adopts the changes made to the coupe equivalent this year. It also utilizes much of the components from the very well-rounded 3 Series models. That means it’s offered as the 255-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo-four as the 430i, and the 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder M440i with 382 horsepower.

The 2020 4 Series was a hardtop convertible used a retractable hard roof, but this new model swaps in a fabric roof. The disadvantage of this soft top is that it might be less secure from vandals. But soft top advantages include taking up less space in the already-small trunk when the roof is down, plus weight savings that boost fuel economy and the car’s driveability.

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Like every 4 Series, the interior is not only made from fine materials but also has extremely simple controls. It may not be as overtly stylish as an Audi A5’s, but the plastics and leathers are just as high-grade, and the BMW iDrive infotainment system is easy to become familiar with. It’s also available with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Yes, the front-end styling may not be for everyone and a starting price of just over $54,000 for the 430i (the M440i costs nearly $11,000 more). But no other four-seat convertible at this price offers this balance of performance and luxury.

Browse BMW 4 Series Convertible listings here.


BMW Z4

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BMW’s long-running Z4 roadster offers its customers a balance between the traditional two-seat convertible experience and the more luxurious atmosphere of the larger 4 Series Convertible.

Also available with a 255-horsepower turbo four-cylinder in the sDrive30i or the 382-horsepower M40i, the Z4 replaces the 4 Series’ laid-back persona with a more aggressive one, although one that is still relatively comfortable for a sports car (the related Toyota Supra comes as a coupe only).

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There’s a neat power-folding fabric roof and adequate trunk space for a weekend getaway. While it’s arguably not as stylish as the Audi TT Roadster, it’s a more aggressive interpretation, especially with its rear-wheel-drive and classic proportions.

With prices ranging from $50,695 to $64,695, a Mazda MX-5 Miata is significantly less expensive. But the Z4 combines more refinement and luxuries that buyers in that price range demand.

Browse BMW Z4 listings here.


Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

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The Chevy Camaro is an American institution, and the convertible version adds to the appeal for an open-air experience on the open road. Its sharp exterior styling is matched with a relatively sharp driving experience for a four-seat convertible.

And the Camaro Convertible gets nearly all of the engine choices from the hardtop, itself available with a wide range of powerful options that range from a 275-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo-four to a ferocious 650-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 on the ZL1 muscle car.

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The interior isn’t the most well-appointed or the most spacious for a four-seat convertible, and more expensive models certainly lack the panache of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz drop-tops of this size.

But with prices ranging from $32,495 MSRP for a turbo with a six-speed manual transmission to $72,690 for that 650-horsepower version, the Camaro offers a lot of performance for far less money than a Chevrolet Corvette.

Browse Chevrolet Camaro Convertible listings here.


Ford Mustang Convertible

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Another muscle car drop-top (Dodge is the only company that doesn’t make one), the Ford Mustang convertible has long been one of America’s favorite convertibles. That might go without saying, considering the car itself represents a slice of the country’s culture.

On sale since 1964, the current iteration of the Mustang Convertible has been brought into the 21st century with a modern infotainment system and powertrain while keeping much of what makes it a feel-good car for so many people.

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A Mustang feels most right with a V8 engine, and the GT Convertible comes with a 460-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8, and either a six-speed manual transmission or 10-speed automatic, as well as the iconic rumble from an eight-cylinder engine.

But even though the base, 310-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder gets derided as a rental car from Miami, it’s a capable performer in its own right. While four passengers won’t exactly be the most comfortable, the trunk is more than suitable for them.

And prices start at a somewhat reasonable $34,245 MSRP, making the Mustang Convertible one of the more accessible four-seat convertibles around.

Browse Ford Mustang Convertible listings here.


Jaguar F-Type Roadster

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The Jaguar F-Type carries the torch for the Jaguar sports car, epitomized by the E-Type of 1961. And since that model was most popular as a roadster, the F-Type Roadster is perhaps the strongest link to that car. It’s been around since 2013, and some styling and interior technology changes only go so far as to hide that.

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A change for 2021 also made the 380-horsepower supercharged V6 and 575-horsepower supercharged V8 models all-wheel-drive, a proposition sports car purists may balk at (along with the mandatory eight-speed automatic transmission), but it turns the F-Type into a sports car that snarls and goes quickly into a four-season roadster.

And consider that from just under $66,000 MSRP for a rear-wheel-drive, 296-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder version, it’s not much more expensive than a BMW or Porsche but more distinctive.

Browse Jaguar F-Type Roadster listings here.


Jeep Wrangler

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The Jeep Wrangler is the most left-field choice on this list when it comes to open-roof driving, but it remains a popular choice for those who don’t necessarily like roads with their convertible experience.

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Strictly speaking, the Wrangler isn’t a totally open convertible with its rollbars, and only certain models offer a removable roof. But once the standard soft-top or available hardtop is removed, the Wrangler offers an enjoyable open-air experience that’s also extremely capable off-road.

Generous ground clearance on all models and standard four-wheel-drive means it’s about the most go-anywhere new car available today. Base Sport models starting from just under $30,000 lack many creature comforts, and the two-door models have tiny rear seats and a small cargo area, but other models offer an 8.4-inch infotainment system, navigation, and even leather upholstery, as well as four-doors.

Browse Jeep Wrangler listings here.


Mazda MX-5 Miata

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The Miata is by now a classic convertible. The long hood, small two-seat cockpit, and rear-wheel-drive is a recipe that’s more than half a century old. It evokes memories of classic convertibles like the MG B, Lotus Elan, and Triumph TR6. But it hardly feels old.

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With 181 horsepower from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, it has more than double the power of some of those cars, along with modern conveniences like power windows, a USB port, and a roof that with some dexterity can be raised and lowered with one hand. It’s even rated by the EPA at up to 35 mpg highway.

There’s more driving enjoyment with a slick six-speed manual transmission (an automatic is optional) and razor-sharp handling. No, the Miata isn’t a tire-smoking performance car. It’s about driving at a moderate speed, just quickly enough to mess up some hair.

And for $27,825 MSRP to start, it’s an extremely accessible way to enjoy the sun.

Browse Mazda MX-5 Miata listings here.


Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

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Like the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet combines seating for four (just) with striking looks and a healthy dose of luxury and performance.

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As a luxury sedan, the C-Class is admirable in many ways, not the least being both stylish, composed, and brimming with both high-quality materials and high levels of technology. The soft-top version is no exception, although the style quotient is arguably raised when the power-folding fabric roof gets lowered into the trunk.

Mercedes also spoils buyers for choice, as the C-Class Cabriolet comes in five variants, from a rear-wheel-drive 255-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder model starting from around $56,000 to versions with all-wheel-drive, a twin-turbocharged V6 model, and the 503-horsepower C 63 S with a twin-turbo V8.

Browse Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet listings here.


Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

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Another luxurious four-seater, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class represents one of the most solid and competent cars. While it doesn’t emphasize sporty driving or an overindulge in glamour, it cossets the driver and passengers for miles and miles with a Lexus-like level of refinement. The Cabriolet version is also a fine drop-top. A well-insulated fabric roof retracts quickly and at the push of a button, revealing an incredibly well-appointed interior and slick MBUX infotainment system.

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Performance comes from either a 369-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 on the E 450 and E 450 4Matic AWD models to a 429-horsepower version of that engine on the AMG E 53 model, also with all-wheel-drive. Starting prices range from about $73,000 to more than $83,000, but the E-Class Cabriolet is the most elegant convertible without facing six-figure prices.

Browse Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet listings here.


Mini Convertible

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Now that Fiat and Volkswagen have dropped their convertibles, the Mini Convertible is the last of the retro-styled four-seat convertibles on the market. While it remains a niche model, the $28,250 MSRP starting price makes it the least-expensive four-seat convertible on the market. And for an inexpensive soft-top convertible, the Mini Convertible is relatively refined.

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It doesn’t have quite the exuberance of the fixed-roof models, but the roof is well insulated and comes with a trick feature that lets drivers open part of it at highway speeds to let a little air in. The rear seats and trunk are even tighter than on the standard Mini Cooper hardtop, but folding seats make it practical for two people.

Available as the 134-horsepower Mini Cooper, the 189-horsepower Mini Cooper S, or the 228-horsepower John Cooper Works edition, there is a line of convertibles that oozes style but also offers good performance for a very reasonable price.

Browse Mini Convertible listings here.


Porsche 718 Boxster

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Introduced 25 years ago as a way to get some Porsche performance and open-top fun for a more reasonable price, what’s now known as the 718 Boxster is a genuine sports car in its own right. Starting from 296 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder and rising to 414 with a 4.0-liter six-cylinder on the Spyder, there’s a Boxster for every taste.

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All versions are nicely balanced and offer a precise driving experience on every road. And even then, the Boxster offers plenty of creature comforts befitting of a luxury roadster. While it only seats two, the front and rear trunks provide a high level of practicality for a sports car.

It may be the “cheap” Porsche, but prices start from $63,350 MSRP before options, rising to just under $100,000 for the Boxster 25 Years special edition. But as a way to get a convertible Porsche, the 718 Boxster carries the brand’s aura well.

Browse Porsche 718 Boxster listings here.


Porsche 911 Cabriolet

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A model of an everyday sports car, the Porsche 911 also makes for an everyday convertible. With the sound of a turbocharged, six-cylinder engine coming from the back, available all-wheel-drive, a neatly folding power-folding fabric roof, and classic lines, the 911 is a natural choice for those who want an open-topped sports car without some of the weight and structural sacrifices of a convertible. It’s relatively light by modern standards, and the added weight of the convertible mechanism does very little to dull the dynamic way it drives.

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Inside, it’s also awash in both high-quality materials, but also a healthy degree of technology. The rear seats are useless for much more than pets, but at least the front-mounted trunk offers some practicality for two on a weekend trip. Better still, it feels like an exotic car without the fragility or technical complexity. At $113,350 MSRP to start (and that price rises rapidly), it’s not for every wallet. But the 911 Cabriolet is so complete as a sports car that it’s hard to pass up if the budget allows.

Browse Porsche 911 Cabriolet listings here.