The whole concept of a drop-top is that it should be stylish and desirable. Add to that the excitement of a high-revving engine and you have a car very few can resist.
Powered by a naturally aspirated 3.2-litre straight six, the E46 BMW M3 cabriolet delivers driving thrills by the bucketload and the best part about it is that examples can now be bought for less than £15,000. Need proof? Well, take a look at this unmolested 02-plate with its folding soft-top for £13,000. It has covered 38,000 miles since new, and you rest easy because the Bavarian comes with a full BMW service history, MoT and four new tyres.
Another German powerhouse is the previous-generation Audi S4 cabriolet, which has space for four adults and a big boot. If you can afford to juice the 4.2-litre V8 engine then look into it, because the rapid cabrio looks like a stellar secondhand buy; values are sitting close to £10,000. We tracked one down; it’s an 04-plate with 75,000 miles on the clock and comes with full leather, electric seats and climate control for a mere £12,500.
Residual values for the 996-generation Porsche 911 are down, meanwhile. This is the cheapest modern 911 that money can buy and we spotted a T-reg Carrera 2 cabriolet with 42,000 miles showing on offer for just £19,000; that translates into big savings on a car that was £70,000 new.
How about something British? For the same price as a new Mini One cabriolet you can get your claws into a pre-facelift previous-generation Jaguar XKR convertible. Despite the credit crunch, values for early examples are still holding strong above £15,000 and the best example we found was a 51-reg 52,000-miler going for £17,000. Stick a PL4Y5R or B055 M4N plate on it, of course, and the next-door neighbours will never know the vintage.
TVR might have gone bust, but enthusiasts and petrolheads still yearn after hardcore driving experience that only cars like the Sagaris, Tuscan and Tamora can deliver. We found this fantastic 51-plate Tamora, with only 27,000 miles on the odo, on the market at just £13,000.