In the Headlights – Convertibles {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

7 Aug 2017

The last month or two in the UK has seen a frankly ridiculously large amount of sun, with 30 degree temperatures meaning lots of BBQs and sunburnt faces all over the country. So what better time to put the car choice of sun worshippers – the convertible – in the headlights. This week we have Elisha Chauhan, Content Editor of MSN Cars selecting and she’s chosen a good spread of drop-tops from the nippy little Mini JCW to the incredible Ferrari California T. Here’s my take on the four cars…

We’ll start off with the two least powerful cars here, though even the Mini JCW still clocks up an impressive 228bhp. The Mini may have grown over the years but it’s still a diminutive car, so with more power than you used to get in a Focus RS the JCW Convertible certainly goes up the road at a decent pace. The biggest issue with convertibles has always been ‘scuttle-shake’ – this is when the car loses rigidity thanks to removing the roof and the car body twists over undulating bumps. This happens because the roof structure and B-pillars are fairly important to rigidity in a car, so removing them means you inevitably have a wobblier body. Some overcome it by adding loads of strengthening, but that adds weight. The Mini hasn’t added much strengthening weight, so as expected there’s a fair bit of movement in the body – look in the rear view mirror over bumps and you can see the rear end twisting – but don’t think it makes it a bad car, it’s still a little go-kart through the twisties and makes a hilariously rorty exhaust note. My only real issue with the Mini Convertible is that the roof doesn’t stow away completely meaning it looks a little like an old pram when the roof is down. No such issues in the Mustang though, as the large fabric roof stows away completely giving you really smooth lines when the top is dropped. Of course being a proper 4-seater there is a bit of scuttle-shake but not as much as you’d expect thanks to a lot of additional strengthening – again though this means more weight and this ‘Stang comes in at nearly 1800kg. even 313bhp struggles with that much weight at times. But if you want raw power you can get the Mustang with a V8 – the Ecoboost is about cruising and enjoying the roof down, wind in your hair and sun on your face which it does perfectly – with three friends.

Pick up your Mustang and Mini tickets here.

The next two cars in our promotion are part of the new breed of convertibles that use a folding hard top roof, so you get all the benefits of a convertible when the roof is down, but it feels like a coupe when the roof is up. They both have incredibly complex roof mechanisms that manage to stack and fold away massive roof sections into the tiniest of spaces – they’re like works of art, or mechanical ballet! Being based on the BMW 3-Series, the Alpina B4S is a seriously well-engineered car, with very little squeaks and rattles with the roof down – in fact the Alpina has less than the M4 Convertible as it’s hand built. There’s a fantastic noise from the 440bhp engine roof up or down, but the car adapts to your driving style – B-road weapon or boulevard cruiser depending on your mood. You can spend as much or as little as you want customising the interior and exterior of an Alpina with different colours, wheels and graphics outside, with various colours of leather, different dash trim parts and that’s before you even dip into BMW’s options list. The B4S is the M4 for those who don’t want an M4, far more understated and in my eyes – cooler than BMW’s offering. Now we get onto the big one – the prancing horse – all 552bhp of twin-turbo Italian V8 wonder – the Ferrari California T. it’s pretty crazy that the entry level model in a manufacturer’s range has that much power and hits 62mph in 3.6 seconds, but that’s Ferrari for you. The California has brought huge numbers of new customers to the brand and you can see why – the folding hard top enables you to be cocooned in comfort during inclement weather, then drop the roof to experience the screaming V8. There are also some small rear seats for young kids or small adults, and a fairly sizeable boot for a set of golf clubs which is how this Ferrari has taken lots of customers away from Bentley and high-end Mercedes’. It’s practical and easy to drive, yet still a Ferrari and can carve up the road when required and is available in our competition for under £10. Where else can you win such an amazing car for so little?

Don’t forget you can only get these cars for one week only – so head to the website before they go!