Spring is almost upon us and, while often proving unpredictable in the UK; things are looking up weather-wise. Days are getting longer and temperatures are getting higher – all good signs for those who own a drop-top roadster. Spring and summer provide prime time top down driving conditions sure to make anyone with a sporty two-seat convertible rejoice.
Fancy one for yourself before the sunshine truly arrives? Well, look no further – here are five great roadsters you can pick up for less than £5,000 on the used market…
BMW Z4 Roadster
The BMW Z4 has everything you could want in a roadster – stunning looks, a nice interior and a great driving experience. On this budget you can easily pick up a 2004 model with the powerful 231bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit too. However, for those wanting the nimblest of Z4 will want one of the smaller, lighter engines – though the 2.5-litre offers the best balance of performance and agility.
Here it is – the go-to roadster that is the Mazda MX-5. There are plenty on the used market, and for £5,000 it’s easy to nab a 2009 model with the 160bhp 2.0-litre engine. The benefit of purchasing one from that year is that it’s a newer, face lifted version of the third generation (or NC to MX-5 aficionados).
It’s hard to go wrong with this little two-seater. Having that old school formula of sending power from a front-mounted naturally aspirated engine to the rear wheels makes the MX-5 a joy to drive.
Porsche Boxster 986
The Porsche Boxster 986 can be an amazing bargain if you do your homework. Discover one with around 60,000 miles on the clock in good condition – which is possible for under £5,000 – and you’ve got yourself a great driver’s car. There’s a choice of a 2.5-litre or 3.2-litre S model. The latter might be harder to find, but it’s certainly the fruiter of the two.
Nissan 350Z Roadster
One of the more hardcore roadsters on this list is the Nissan 350Z Roadster. With the sole engine choice being a growling 3.5-litre V6, the 350Z packs plenty of punch. Producing over 270bhp, this car is more about brute force than the balanced Boxster. That’s not to say it’s not a fun machine though, especially with the top down. Listening to the V6 roar while blasting round a good old British B-road is simply glorious.
The Toyota MR2 is as nimble as an MX-5, yet boasts a proper mid-engined, rear-wheel drive layout. It’s also inexpensive and light meaning the MR2 is accessible fun – now more than ever considering third gens go for as little as £1,000. For that you’ll be getting a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated inline-four driving the rear wheels. While the MR2 isn’t particularly quick pumping out just 138bhp to play with, that’s just enough for it to feel spritely with only 975kg of weight to haul around.