Look at this! A ‘top five’ post. It’s like you’ve stumbled upon the Buzzfeed of cars or something. Though by saying that, does that make us more self-aware than Buzzfeed? Who the hell knows. All we care about is telling you of some cheap, sub-£2,000 roadsters because the sun’s out. At least it is here. If it’s raining where you are, tough titty.
Right? Shall is we do this then? Fire up the Top of the Pops music…
IN AT FIVE, MOVING NO PLACES, IT’S THE ALFA ROMEO SPIDER!
It’s Italian and as such will almost certainly break down as soon as you look at it. But that’s no bad thing because, well, you’ll want to look at it. The Alfa Romeo Spider is a thing of absolute beauty. Penned by the Italian pencil jockeys at Pininfarina, the Spider is a bona fide stunner.
Underneath all that sexy tin is leather, questionable electronics and in most cases, a woeful 2.0 engine. If you can find a V6 version, buy that instead. Though that will almost certainly explode in a shower of tagliatelle and sadness. But as they say, it’s better to burn out than fade away. The Spider will most certainly do that.
On the road, the Spider is agile and keen, though it does have a bit of scuttle shake. But don’t fret, because if you’re noticing scuttle shake, that means you’re moving. You’ve not broken down! Get in! Also, the Alfa Romeo Spider isn’t a Mazda MX-5. A car that almost always ends up on every car list on the internet.
IN AT FOUR, MOVING UP 57 PLACES, IT’S THE MINI CONVERTIBLE!
Small, cheeky, fun and not in anyway a Mazda MX-5 or indeed, a roadster, it’s the MINI. But this is our list, we call the shots, so it’s here. Send us an email if you don’t like it. Plus, while the MINI convertible may have rear seats, they’re about as much use a haddock in a gunfight, so it’s more roadster than it’s willing to admit.
BMW-designed underpinnings mean it’s a hoot to drive. The chassis it tight, the steering is direct (if a little heavy) and on the whole, it’s good fun. The 1.6 petrol engine would struggle to remove the skin from tinned desert, but who cares? You buy one of these so you can be seen. Or to attract Photoshopped men, sans t-shirt, as per this press shot.
Sadly, the MINI has earned a bit of a reputation for being driven by hairdressers and estate agents, but if you can get over that, you’ll be left with a fun car for topless antics. Plus, the absence of a roof means you can throw cans of hairspray at anyone who looks at you funny.
IN AT THREE, MOVING THROUGH MISS MONEYPENNY’S EXPENSES AUDIT, IT’S THE BMW Z3!
The BMW Z3 marks the only time in James Bond’s history where we raised an eyebrow at his vehicle choice. But move past that, because while it might not be a great spy car, it is a rather wonderful roadster. It’s got just the two seats, it’s rear-wheel drive and it’s damn handsome. Plus, it’s not a Mazda MX-5 in any way, shape or form.
Despite being small, the Z3 is a muscular looking thing, so you’ll still look like a man driving one. Unless you’re not a man. In which case you’ll look like a lady. Because that’s how gender works. A car does not change that one iota, despite what the Daily Mail or your closed-minded mate Dave may say.
Just make sure you go for one with manual transmission for maximum fun. Also, avoid the 1.9 and go for the 150bhp 2.0 instead. It’s only got 10bhp more, but it makes a difference. Oh, and because it’s a BMW, it’s best to avoid anything that’s been modified. Because it will probably set on fire without warning.
IN AT TWO, MOVING INTO YOUR SPARE BEDROOM, IT’S THE MERCEDES-BENZ SLK!
Metal folding roof. A supercharger. A three-pointed star on the front of it. The Mazda MX-5 has none of those things. Primarily because it’s not a Mercedes-Benz SLK, but the Mercedes-Benz SLK, um, is. And that’s good, because the Germans know how to bolt a car together.
The SLK is fast, fun and remarkably well-built, so don’t run a mile if you find one with 175,000 miles on it. People like to drive these, and you will too. As long as you have plenty of service history to go with it, you should be fine. Though because they’re cheap, finding one that’s been flogged to death won’t be hard, so take your time looking and buy a good’un.
Sadly, Mercs of this era liked to rust, so make sure you check for that. Also, despite its absence, make sure you don’t accidentally go and look at at Mazda MX-5. They’re not the only roadster that ever existed you know?
IN AT ONE, MAKING A MOVE ON YOUR PARTNER, IT’S THE AUDI TT ROADSTER!
Ahh, a proper roadster. Though it’s another German car. We’re not showing some sort of Germanic favouritism here, they just make good cars. Plus, as we said before, it’s our list, so ner. And can you really say the TT is not a good car? No, exactly.
Okay, so the early cars may have had a slight issue with losing traction and crashing, due to being a little light on rear downforce, but it’s fine, they’re all fixed now. That’s what the little lip spoiler on the back is for. And you’ll need it, seeing as the TT comes with a 1.8 20V turbocharged engine. At the top end, that means 225bhp or 180bhp if you’re less brave. Oh, and Quattro four-wheel drive, too. So you can drive it in the snow if you’re so inclined.
Plus, the TT was in Mission: Impossible II and if it’s good enough for Tom Cruise to drive a Porsche into, it’s good enough for us. Or, you know, you could just go out and buy a Mazda MX-5.