Buying a prestige Convertible

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6 of the best prestige convertibles for £10,000
Every year when the sun comes out, the idea of owning a convertible seems extremely appealing. Thankfully, with a budget of £10,000, there‘s a huge selection of prestige models to choose from. Matthew Hayward from Evo Magazine picks six of the best.
BMW 3-series Cabriolet (2006 – 2011)
BMW 3-series Cabriolet ('06 – 11)
eBay loves: Retractable hardtop
Watch out for: Extra weight blunts performance

BMW’s first attempt at a folding hard top resulted in the E93 3 Series weighing rather a lot more than its predecessors. The extra refinement and security more than makes up for it, though, especially if you aren’t looking for out-and-out performance. You can have pretty much any 3-Series Cabriolet model you want for £10,000, including the 320i and 320d, with the more powerful models like the 325i and 330i usually costing a tad more. The rare M3 Cabriolet is the petrol-head choice, but will still cost in excess of £20,000. 
Mercedes CLK Convertible (2002 – 2009)
Mercedes CLK Convertible ('02 – '09)
eBay loves: Relaxing drive
Watch out for: Expensive roof repairs

The one thing you always get with a Merc is a feeling of calm and serenity, which makes a Mercedes CLK Convertible an appealing buy. Diesels are always available if you’re concerned about fuel consumption, but as usual with cabrios, petrol models are the most pleasant. There are 3.2-litre and 3.5-litre V6 models, as well as the bigger V8-powered CLK500. Early AMG 55 models are also well within reach, providing devastating performance. When buying, check that all of the electrical components are functioning properly, as problems with the roof mechanism can be an expensive fix.
Audi A4 Cabriolet (2002 – 2009)
Audi A4 Cabriolet (2002 – 2009)
eBay loves: Four-wheel drive option
Watch out for: Roof problems

Build quality is one great thing about Audis. The Audi A4 Cabriolet has nice weight and feel to all of its controls, and feels like a quality item. Another advantage to the A4 is that it’s a proper four-seater, making it perfect for family day trips. Diesel models again are popular, with both 2.0 four-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-pot engines on offer. There’s a 160bhp 1.8T petrol model and a more potent 2.0T that pushes out 200bhp. A silky smooth 3.2 V6 model is probably the most pleasant, but spend a little more and you could have the ultra-rare V8 RS4 cabriolet.
Volkswagen Eos (2006 – present)
Volkswagen Eos (2006 – present)
eBay loves: Clever folding roof
Watch out for: Small boot and roof problems

Launched as a separate model to the Golf Cabriolet, the VW Eos is a much more luxurious car, with a clever folding metal and glass hardtop in place of fabric. It’s very reliable generally, although people have reported numerous problems with the roof mechanism. The range of engines is good, with economical diesels and more performance-orientated petrols, as with the Golf, on offer. Top models could be bought with the 3.2-litre V6 engine, but these are rare. 
Mini Convertible (2004 – 2014)
Mini Convertible (2004 – 2014)
eBay loves: Fun to drive
Watch out for: Small boot and rear seats

Of all the convertibles in this list, the Mini is the smallest and easily the most fun to drive. Okay, it is realistically just a two seater, but if you want a convertible without sacrificing handling too much, the Mini is a fun alternative. Choose between the earlier R52 ('04 – '08) models, or spend a little more for one of the newer R57 ('09 – 14) models. Even the basic Mini One and Cooper are a hoot to drive, but it’s the Supercharged (or turbo-charged) Cooper S that really gets the blood rushing. 
Saab 9-3 Cabriolet (2002 – 2012)
Saab 9-3 Cabriolet (2002 – 2012)
eBay loves: Swedish character
Watch out for: Getting some parts can be difficult

Saab convertibles have been legendary since the 1980s and when the company hit financial troubles at the end of the last decade, the stylish convertibles were still in demand. Whilst never class-leading, Saabs look unique and offer an alternative to more generic German cars. Prices dipped when Saab finally did die, but have now firmed up due to the car’s reputation and a huge amount of after-market support. High-performance Aero models are surprisingly fast and frugal, offering great value.
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