Summer's coming, but if you don't like to opt for the conventional convertible roof, we've got the top ten which buck the trend
22 March 2016

No longer is it a hard-top version of the soft top - instead, Mazda has reinvented the model with the new MX-5 RF - which stands for retractable fastback. Featuring a 911 Targa-like appearance, the front and middle roof and rear window stow behind the seat.

New York update: The retractable fastback (RF) hard-top version of the Mazda MX-5 is unveiled 

While we ponder the news, here are nine other cars with memorable roofs.

Mazda MX-5 RF

The previous folding hardtop Mazda MX-5 accounted for 80% of the UK's MX-5 sales, so we're sure that Mazda is expecting the same of the MX-5 RF. With a folding hard-top which has drawn comparisons to that of the Porsche 911 Targa (below), the MX-5 stole the show at its official reveal in New York. It's a little heavier than the soft-top MX-5, but we're willing to bet it'll be more refined, too. 

Porsche Boxster Spyder

The lightest and most powerful version of the Porsche Boxster (before its name was changed to 718 Boxster) is powered by a 3.8-litre flat six petrol engine sourced from the 911. It develops 370bhp, allowing the Spyder to reach 62mph in 4.5sec, with a top speed of 180mph. The Spyder’s soft top roof has to be raised and lowered manually.

Land Rover Freelander Convertible

The first generation of Land Rover’s Freelander was sold as a three-door semi-convertible, designed to appeal to a younger audience who wanted the functionality of an SUV with the thrills of open-top motoring. Power was provided by four engines: three Rover units and a 2.0-litre diesel sourced from BMW.

Ferrari 575 Superamerica

Launched in 2005, the Ferrari 575 Superamerica was the convertible sibling to the 575M Maranello. Its most interesting feature was the Revocromico rotating hard-top, which was never fitted to any other production Ferrari. Made using a carbonfibre frame integrated with electrochromic class, the opacity of the glass roof when closed could be adjusted via a dial.

Chevrolet SSR

As a convertible pick-up truck, the 2003 Chevy SSR offered a pretty individual package. The retractable hard-top’s outlandish looks - inspired by late 1940s Chevys - might have done it for some, but its performance was sorely lacking. Sales didn’t go well from the start, even a Michael Bay-directed advert couldn’t help it, and production ceased in 2006.

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse

Bugatti might have usurped its Veyron recently with the newly revealed Chiron, but there’s no doubt it has left its mark, not least with the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, unveiled in 2012. The roadster essentially used a grandiose umbrella as the roof - yes, it was rectangular and had normal roof clasps - but it also had a handle and opened exactly like an umbrella, albeit a very expensive carbonfibre one.

Peugeot 108 Top/Citroen C1 Airscape

The Peugeot 108 Top (and its sibling the Citroen C1 Airscape) is the semi-convertible version of the 108, a city car with a large electric fabric sunroof, designed to appeal to people’s desire for sun (even in a country where said sun is rare). It doesn’t have the glamour of some of the cars on this list, but it’s certainly a cheap open-air option for urban driving.

Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder

The Disco Volante Spyder is crafted from a donor Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider and takes six months to make. The end result comes with twin carbonfibre roofs that can be manually removed and stored in the boot, targa-style, and they only weigh 3.5kg each.

Porsche 911 Targa

The Porsche 911 Targa harks back to when full convertibles were expected to be outlawed in the US. The current-gen 911 Targa’s mechanism is nothing short of show-stealing as far as drop-tops go, with the entire tailgate shifting up and backwards to stow the fabric part of the roof neatly away, and leaving the eye-catching, tradition-laden silver roll hoop proudly on display.

Smart Roadster/Roadster-Coupe

The dinky Smart Roadster and Roadster-Coupe bore changeable roof arrangements, allowing hard-top, soft top, targa and convertible options thanks to a removable hard-top, a fabric roof that slid behind the driver and removable roof pillars. The Roadster-Coupe added a rear hatch, which made the car a mini-shooting-brake convertible - a unique prospect to say the least.

Citroen C3 Pluriel

Citroen’s quirky C3 Pluriel was another to offer adaptable roof arrangement with removable parts. The Pluriel’s arguably more ambitious effort made a convertible out of Citroen’s five-seat C3 hatchback, with a full-length retracting fabric roof, and a roof structure which was completely removable from the top of the A-pillars back. Unfortunately, though, the Pluriel was plagued with leaks.

Our Verdict

Here is the fourth-gen Mazda MX-5 - the definitive small sports car

Fourth-generation MX-5 heads back to the roadster's roots

Join the debate

Comments
6

23 March 2016
TVR Tuscan?

23 March 2016
Daihatsu Copen?

23 March 2016
The only on that would benefit from the roof section being removed and enjoying a spot of wind in the hair motoring is the dog in the boot.

A neighbour has an old Honda CRZ Del Sol. That has quite a fancy roof for a 20 odd year old car.

23 March 2016
putting the LR Chevvy and Pluriel there was a cheap page filler !!!
As said by Stockboi the cute little Daihatsu Copen or Cappuccino or some of those amazing Eldorado Impala and Mustangs deserved to be in this collection. Even the Rover 214 was better looking than the Chevvy

what's life without imagination

24 March 2016
How about the X1/9?

Or the diminutive Renault Wind's Ferrari style flip over solid roof panel?

Or the armadillo roof on the old a class?

24 March 2016
I've had a roadster and a roadster coupe. There were two options. A hard top, with 2 roof panels you manually removed and stored in the rear boot. And a soft top, which was like a sunroof, that went behind the seats. You then had 2 removable rails that stored in the front boot. I had both, and the soft top was great. However, the problem with the roadsters was that they leaked terribly. Some were dry, but most had a leak of some form, worst of which would take out the ECU

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