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The Report

The Convertibles We Want To Own In 2018

Seven open-top sports cars to drive now

  • McLaren 570S Spider. Photograph by Beadyeye Photography, courtesy of McLaren

Driving a classic convertible is a care-free pastime unencumbered by trend and accompanied by waving passers-by and, most probably, smiling fellow motorists. Owning and driving a brand spanking new convertible, on the other hand, is fraught with danger and requires exacting choices and a degree of restraint. Yes, your motoring pleasure could reach new peaks, but the pitfalls are equally vertiginous. A modern cabriolet should come with an “Open With Caution” label. A cross-country jaunt or ocean coast excursion can be enjoyed with anonymous abandon, yet all heed the city centre and, more importantly, the red traffic light where sartorial and audio taste will be called into question, possibly quite loudly, never mind the choice of vehicle.

Choose well and you will have a joyous alternative to the hard-top variety when the clouds dry their eyes. To help make sure hassle at the lights is kept to a minimum, we guide you through some of the best offerings.

Aston Martin DB11 Volante

  • Aston Martin DB11 Volante. Photographs courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

The DB range has always been about elegance and style matched with effective continent-crossing power below the bonnet. The DB11 Volante continues that with a car that does the trick of looking even better than its hard-top sibling. Carefully chosen colour options, both exterior and interior, will result in a timeless classic with the allure of the Aston Martin badge.

Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge

  • Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge. Photograph by crankandpiston.com

This glamorous yacht of a car gets a little more attitude in its Black Badge alter ego with darker chrome and paint colours so deep you could dive into them. An alternative to the more shiny iterations of the marque, the Black Badge series is a factor in the dramatic drop in the average age of Rolls-Royce buyers. Super-luxury long-range motoring at its most decadent and comfortable.

Ferrari Portofino

  • Ferrari Portofino. Photograph courtesy of Ferrari SpA

An evocative name that promises hedonistic, dreamy dolce vita days, this car is, in fact, a bit stealthy. Replacing the outgoing California, which some thought not quite “Ferrari” enough, the Portofino gets a heavy dose of cavallino rampante DNA, which gives it true sports car credibility. With room for four (just), folding hard top, handsome interior and functional infotainment system, it is being touted as an “everyday” Ferrari. Quite some everyday.

Maserati GranCabrio

  • Maserati GranCabrio Sport MY18. Photograph courtesy of Maserati

If you prefer a more analogue feel to your car, the end-of-run GranCabrio could be your last chance to own this Italian thoroughbred. It’s had a few tucks and tweaks in its 10-year product cycle yet paradoxically offers something unique in the current line-up of cars. A pure old-school GT experience with a sonorous V8 naturally aspirated soundtrack. Front-engined, rear-wheel drive, 2+2 seating, with none of the turbos and gizmos of the other models on offer. You even put your key in the ignition slot. How whimsical.

Porsche 911 Targa 4S

  • Porsche 911 Targa. Photograph courtesy of Porsche Cars GB

There is the option of a fully convertible 911, but the Targa gives you all of the open-top feel with the comfort and style of a glass dome in the back. The effect is both cosseting and liberating. The design is a homage to the first Targa in the late 1960s with the iconic stainless steel hoop, reinvented and brought up to date with some ingenious engineering art to mechanically open and close the roof. Order with the houndstooth (or more correctly named Pepita) fabric seat inserts for the full retro-classic look.

BMW i8 Roadster

  • BMW i8 Roadster. Photograph courtesy of BMW AG

The i8 Roadster heralds a new experience for a mainstream production car – hard to achieve after more than 100 years of motoring. As a hybrid, it still has a small internal combustion engine, but flick it into battery-only eDrive mode and, for a few miles at least, you can enjoy the sensation of almost silent open-top driving. It is, for many, an attractive alternative to the raucous, back-firing, barking cacophony of the traditional roadster, but don’t be fooled by the vaunting eco credentials. This is still a very quick sports car, just with a conscience.

McLaren 570S Spider

  • McLaren 570S Spider. Photograph by Beadyeye Photography, courtesy of McLaren

Effectively the entry-level model in McLaren’s burgeoning range, the Sport Series works best as a drop top. The carbon construction tub ensures no loss of rigidity with the roof chopped off and weight gain is minimal from it, so it really goes. McLaren has also retained the visual drama of the flying buttresses from the coupé. You can enjoy all of the dynamic agility of this car without the confines of the roof for an almost zero penalty. A to B speed is phenomenal, and more importantly fun, in this surgical instrument.

What we’re driving at

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  • Brunello Cucinelli Cashmere-Lined Suede Gloves

  • Tod's Gommino Suede Driving Shoes

  • SAINT LAURENT Aviator-Style Gunmetal-Tone Sunglasses

  • Ermenegildo Zegna Embroidered Cashmere Baseball Cap

  • TAG Heuer Formula 1 43mm Stainless Steel and NATO Webbing Watch