Welcome to midwinter. Chances are you have said “it’s miserable out there” at least once today and are quietly glad you’ve less reason than usual to venture past the front door.
But let us not mope, for sunshine and good times are on the horizon, and what better way to get ready than by bagging an open-roof cruiser? Let’s kick off with one of our favourites: the BMW 4 Series.
Shortly to be replaced in dealerships by the buck-toothed G22-generation car, the original version, launched in 2014, is starting to look like extremely good value. Bolstering its appeal, for many, will be its metal folding roof, replaced on its successor with a conventional canvas item.
We’re quite taken by this post-facelift 430i, resplendent in unmarked Arctic White, equipped with the no-brainer, performance-inspired M Sport trim and – praise be – a manual gearbox. Although our car’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol doesn’t pack quite the same punch as the M4’s straight six, we’ll make do just fine with 248bhp and 258lb ft. Realistically, if we were after uncompromised dynamics and exhilarating straight-line performance, we’d have gone for the coupé – probably the M4, at that.
But that would be to miss the point of a usable convertible, and come summer you’ll find it’s just as gratifying to cruise along at 40mph to everybody’s favourite Jazzy Jeff ditty as it is to hare from bend to bend at the speed of light. This car will need a fresh MOT (only its second) at the back end of winter, but given it has just 21,000 miles on the clock, we wouldn’t anticipate any problems there.
Peugeot 306 Cabriolet, £3295: Pininfarina lines, a shiny teak centre console and – wait for it – front and rear mudflaps: you really are getting your money’s worth here. As if it could not get any more attractive, it has done just 31,000 miles, with an MOT through spring. Electric roof, too.