Top 10 summer cars.jpg

Top 10 summer cars

By: ELOISE [email protected]

WHAT BETTER way to enjoy the summer sunshine along Portugal’s roads, than with your very own convertible? This month, we will be looking at a range of ten of this season’s best topless beauties to suit everyone’s budget.

With its affordable price tag, cheap insurance costs and cute body work, the Daihatsu Copen, is a real bargain for anyone wanting to cruise in style without going broke. The Copen’s rounded shape may appeal more to the girls, but its 1.3 litre engine, which offers 86 brake horse power (bhp) means it’s economical on fuel and a lovely run around.

Next is a personal favourite, the Mini convertible. Having made its world debut at the Geneva Motor show in 2004, the drop-top Mini, complete with a fully automatic fabric roof has been a big success. Though slightly more expensive than the Daihatsu, it’s still very reasonably priced and a joy to drive.

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The Mazda MX-5 has built a big reputation for itself as the sports car for everyone. Being one of the most popular cars, it boasts excellent build quality and driving dynamics as well as affordability.

There are two choices of engines for the Mazda MX-5, either the new 124 bhp 1.8 litre engine or the 2 litre model, which speeds up to 100km/ph in just 7.9 seconds.

Having won Britain’s biggest selling car every year since it was launched in 1998, Ford has brought out the new Ford Focus Coupé-Cabriolet, featuring a folding metal roof and a range of engines to choose from. This car maintains the brand’s handling quality and practicality as well as being in a mid-range price bracket.

Vauxhall’s Astra Twin Top and Volkswagen’s Eos are also mid-priced cars with plenty of character and style, as well as offering little extras.

The Vauxhall has a fantastic three-piece electro-hydraulic roof which can be raised and lowered at speeds of up to 28km/ph, avoiding all the hassle and fuss of driving in style, and from getting wet in a sudden shower. Volkswagen, however, has concentrated on cruising ability and power. With a two litre turbo charged engine, the Eos can reach 100km/ph in just 7.8 seconds.

Climbing the ladder of luxury, there is the Audi TT coupé. First launched in 1998, the coupé received a facelift in 2006 with magnetic dampers to improve ride and handling.

Alfa Romeo’s Brera features the trademark Alfa styling with a sweeping bodyline and a range of diesel of petrol engines for plenty of power.

This year, Honda celebrated its’ 50th birthday with the release of the Honda S2000, featuring upgraded suspension a well as a 240 bhp two litre engine which reaches 100km/ph in just 6.2 seconds.

Saving the best until last, Aston Martin’s DB9 Volante is the crème de la crème for this season.

This extremely expensive, but stunning car boasts a six litre V12 engine with 450bhp and reaches 100km/ph in less than five seconds, which is faster than a bat out of hell!