Hardtop convertibles are meant to offer the best of both worlds: open-air fun in the summer and snug, steel-roofed warmth during the colder months. A used hardtop convertible can be a great choice as a weekend car that you don’t have to retire once the winter weather rolls in. It’s also a strong candidate for those concerned about the security concerns associated with a soft top. If you live in a bad neighborhood, you probably don’t want to own a car that can be opened in just a few seconds using a switchblade.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the best used hardtop convertibles and see what they have to offer in terms of fun and practicality.
1 – Chrysler 200
The Chrysler 200 was once maligned amongst used hardtop convertibles for its bland driving dynamics and styling, but a refresh in 2011 introduced a higher standard both behind the wheel and especially inside the car’s passenger compartment. 2011 and up Chrysler 200 hardtop convertibles can be counted on to provide genuine four-passenger capacity – a rarity in the drop top world – as well as an available 3.6-liter V-6 engine that is a huge improvement over the older model’s motor. The Pentastar unit produces 283 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque, offering decent performance in a very affordable used hardtop convertible package.
2 – BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series is a perennial best buy in the used hardtop convertible segment, especially if you are looking for luxury balanced with a fun driving experience. Given that the hardtop mechanism in the BMW 3 Series adds weight to what is an otherwise svelte platform, its best to target the BMW 335i edition of the convertible rather than the 328i with its less powerful engine options. The BMW 335i convertible benefits from a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder good for 300 horses and 300 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to propel the car forward with authority. A six-speed manual transmission is also offered with the convertible.
3 – Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is the priciest hardtop convertible in the premium brand’s lineup, but on the used market – like most high end luxury cars – it suffers from incredible depreciation, making it a much more affordable prospect. You’re still paying more for a used Mercedes-Benz SL-Class than perhaps any other vehicle on this list, but you’re getting a grand tourer with incredible performance, style, and comfort for your money. In SL550 trim, the vehicle provides 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque from a 5.5-liter V-8 engine, while two AMG variants can push engine output (and the car’s price tag) into the stratosphere.
4 – Infiniti G37
The Infiniti G37 hardtop convertible can be thought of as an alternative to the BMW 3 Series, an entry-level luxury car that first hit the scene in 2011. The Infiniti G37 convertible aims to leverage technology and a sport-oriented chassis to lure premium customers away from traditional European models, and it largely succeeds. Not quite as engaging as the 3 Series, the G37 manages to be more affordable, and more reliable, than most other cars in its class. Don’t try to stuff anyone in the second set of seats, however – think of the Infiniti as a two-passenger cruiser and use the back row to supplement the tiny amount of trunk space offered by the car with the top down. The G37 is powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 that can be counted on to produce 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque.
5 – Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette is available with a traditional rag top, but we’re going to focus on the Corvette ‘coupe’ – that is to say, the base version of this sports car that features a removable roof panel. Also known as a ‘targa top,’ this solid removable panel puts the Chevrolet Corvette onto our list of hardtop convertibles. The Vette brings big displacement V-8 performance to the party in the form of a 6.2-liter engine that grinds out 430 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque, matched with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Not many of the cars on this list can hit 60-mph in less than 4.5 seconds, making the used Chevrolet Corvette an amazing bargain compared to its contemporaries.
6 – BMW Z4
The BMW Z4 is a two-seat roadster that combines the pleasure associated with open-air driving with the security of knowing that thieves are going to have a hard time cracking this hardtop convertible’s steel roof. The BMW Z4 is a nimble handler, and used editions offer the choice between either a naturally-aspirated 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine (230 horsepower) or a turbocharged variant of the same motor (300 horsepower). A six-speed manual transmission is standard with either unit, while a six-speed automatic can be selected as an option – as can an adaptive suspension system, a bit more turbo boost, and a more aggressive aero package in the form of the sDrive35is model.
7 – Lotus Elise
The Lotus Elise is another convertible that makes our list of used hardtops by way of its removable ‘targa’ roof. The Lotus Elise is a hardcore sports car, one that’s not easy to get in or out of but which rewards dedicated owners with exceptional handling, strong acceleration, and exotic looks that will have your neighbors convinced that you are parking a three-fifths Lamborghini in your driveway. The lift-off roof on the Elise keeps the air at bay when accelerating the car’s 189 horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (designed by Toyota), and the car’s curb weight of less than 2,000 lbs ensures exceptional response to both steering and throttle inputs
8 – Volvo C70
The Volvo C70 hardtop convertible is built in Sweden, which is the perfect explanation as to why it offers excellent protection from the elements in addition to a sun-drenched summertime interior. The Volvo C70 acknowledges the realities of the northern climate by combining practical daily transportation year-round with a retractable roof that allows its owners to maximize the few months of warmth that they do get. Motivation is provided by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that offers up 227 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, and a five-speed automatic transmission is standard with recent used models of the C70.
9 – Volkswagen Eos
The Volkswagen Eos is an often-forgotten used hardtop convertible, a near-mid-size contender that provides four seats in a pinch. The Volkswagen Eos isn’t very expensive on the secondhand market, which means that its popular as a second car, and its also notable for being one of the very few hardtop convertibles cars that also offers an integrated moonroof. The Eos features a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that is turbocharged to provide 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, and transmission choices for the Volkswagen include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic.
10 – Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata has long been a favorite amongst sports car enthusiasts for its lightweight design, affordable pricing, and telepathic handling. In recent years, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has also been made available with a hardtop convertible alongside its traditional soft top design, expanding its buyer base into those who need to be able to drive this compact vehicle year round. The Miata’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine generates 167 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque when matched with its six-speed manual transmission, while the six-speed automatic drops output by nine ponies.