The ultimate preowned roadsters combine excellent looks and driving feel to make the most of summer months. Of course, roadsters aren't just designed for the warmer weather. They're experts in putting a smile on your face all-year round, with interiors and driving dynamics which makes every start of the engine an occasion. Here are our favourite 5..
The BMW Z4
About: The BMW Z4 has a rather illustrious image thanks to appearances in James Bond films and slick looks which hark back to the age of the classic sports coupe. It is, in fact, a very well-balanced car to drive with a surprising amount of practicality and good equipment levels to boot. Most of all, it retains the fun-factor which you expect from a BMW, and it's one of our favourite weekend picks.
Engines: The available engines for the Z4 give plenty of scope that allows you to prioritise performance or economy - but not sacrifice either. At the start of the range is the sDrive 18i, which offers strong performance from a flexible 2.0 litre petrol engine, but also achieves 41mpg on the combined cycle. The most popular model in the range is the 20i sDrive, which provides similar economy but with 182bhp on tap from the tuned engine.
Features: As a premium vehicle, all models come as standard with 17-inch alloy wheels and Xenon headlights. Other equipment includes an electronic parking brake, and Drive Dynamic Control to alter throttle and handling response to your driving style. The 20i sDrive model comes with luxury features including leather upholstery and dual-zone air conditioning.
The MINI Roadster
About: The MINI Roadster is compact, fun, and rather frugal. Based on the MINI Coupe, the Roadster emanates the very essence of a weekend car, concerned purely with putting a smile on your face. MINI have made efforts to ensure the sportier open-top body is as rigid as the hatchback versions, and none of the MINI driving verve is lost in translation. The looks are also striking, a feature that's helped by the number of customisation options on offer.
Engines: The base 1.6-litre engine in the Cooper means you can achieve close to 50mpg on the combined cycle, yet still reach 60mph in less than 10 seconds. A step up to the Cooper S gives you a turbocharged version of the same engine with similarly strong economy figures and performance that enters hot-hatch territory. Unlike most cars here, there is also a diesel option in the Cooper SD which returns in excess of 60 mpg.
Features: Standard features on the MINI roadster include alloy wheels, air conditioning and a MP3 connectivity. Look out for optional extras including climate control, Xenon adaptive headlights and Satellite Navigation for the full package. Luxury partial leather trim and cruise control are also available.
The Morgan 3-Wheeler
About: The Morgan 3-Wheeler is a living legend. It returned after a half-century absence, at a time when many sports cars were becoming more refined and practical. At first glance, the Morgan 3-wheeler seems to buck this trend, with a design which can be traced back over a century go . Morgan are Britain's oldest, independent, family run car manufacturer, and the two-seated 3-wheeler is focused on nothing but pure driving enjoyment.
Engines: There is only one engine in the Morgan 3-Wheeler line-up, a two-cylinder unit producing 82bhp. It might not sound a lot, but it's plenty enough considering that the vehicle weighs just over half a tonne. Adding to the mix, the Morgan 3-Wheeler utilises the short, snappy 5-speed transmission from the iconic Mazda MX-5 which instils some of its classic roadster spirit.
Features: The features that the 3-Wheeler does include are all there to make it feel more like an aeroplane than a car. A fully leather-padded cockpit is joined by aircraft instrumentation on the dashboard. Each car even comes with a full photographic build record. Contemporary additions include a trip computer and a stop/start engine, meaning this retro design is accompanied by more modern fuel consumption figures.
The Mercedes-Benz SLK
About: The Mercedes-Benz SLK can trace its roots all the way back to the iconic 300SL grand tourer, and more recently the 230SL. As is expected from Mercedes-Benz, the focus of the SLK is on comfort and long-distance cruising in style. It's practical too, with a large boot and plenty of storage space even with the roof down. The SLK brings innovative features like the Airscarf, keeping your neck warm even when when it's cold outside - meaning you can keep the roof down for longer.
Engines: The SLK comes with three petrol engines in the 200, 250 and 350. The mid-range SLK 250 BlueEfficiency offers the best blend of performance of economy, with a 201bhp engine that propels the roadster to 60mph in just 6.4 seconds. On the combined cycle, with the automatic 7-speed transmission, it offers an impressive 42mpg.
Features: A premium vehicle, the SLK comes with plenty of standard equipment, including alloy wheels, a 5.8 inch colour screen with Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio, and LED daytime running lights. AMG Sport editions come with a full leather interior, climate control and Satellite Navigation.
The Porsche Boxster
About: One of the newest models in a long line of legendary open-top Porsches. It shares the performance-driven edge of other models in the range and excels with superbly weighted handling, great road control and powerful brakes. The Boxster is a weekend car which is truly at home either on the track or on the road - giving you the option of how to enjoy it best. Of course, that doesn't mean it forgoes any creature comforts, and is a very well appointed car.
Engines: There are two engine choices available, starting with a 2.7 litre engine in the standard Boxster. With 265bhp, the Boxster has more than enough power at its disposal. In Normal mode it can be quiet and refined, and even a good city cruiser thanks to the excellent handling. Included as standard is the manual gearbox, but also available is the PDK 7 speed semi-automatic gearbox which is a popular choice. By flicking the switch to Sport mode, it sharpens the throttle response up for a more engaging drive. There's an even more powerful variant available in the Boxster S, which features a 3.4 litre unit.
Features: The Boxster comes as standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, and luxurious additions such as climate control and a 7-inch colour entertainment system. The Boxster S adds larger 19-inch alloys.