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Top 100 Cars 2016: Top 5 Two-seat Roadsters

The most fun you can have in a car. Almost.

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1 Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5: The Sunday Times Top 100 Cars - Top 5 Roadsters

In a market obsessed by huge power outputs and Nürburgring lap times, the MX-5 makes a refreshing change. It produces just 129bhp from its entry-level 1.5-litre engine, but it’s smaller than the 1989 original, and Mazda’s engineers have obsessively pared weight back to a lean 1,050kg. That’s why the roof mechanism is manual.

On the road the MX-5 changes direction like a featherweight boxer, revs freely, and allows you to use all the power without troubling the traction control. Upgrade to the 2-litre and you get 158bhp, a limited-slip differential and uprated sports suspension. Perfect.

  • PRICE £18,595-£24,295
  • OUR PICK 2.0i Sport (£22,695)
  • ENGINE 1998cc, 4 cylinders
  • ACCELERATION 0-62mph: 7.3sec
  • TOP SPEED 133mph
  • FUEL | CO2 40.9mpg | 161g/km

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2 Jaguar F-type

Jaguar F-type: The Sunday Times Top 100 Cars - Top 5 Roadsters

Since its launch in 2013, the F-type has been known as much for ambitious pricing as feisty oversteer. The more recent addition of all-wheel drive does nothing for the former but it does help tame the enthusiastic handling.

No longer is switching off the stability control to be feared. Instead, it allows you to enjoy a chassis that is mainly rear-wheel drive, until a grin-inducing corner threatens to provoke a no-claims-busting spin and the all-wheel drive kicks in.

If you can afford the V8 with this optional safety net, you won’t be disappointed, but the V6 S still packs a 375bhp punch and sounds like gunpowder on a bonfire.

  • PRICE £56,745-£97,145
  • OUR PICK V6 S AWD (£72,890)
  • ENGINE 2995cc, 6 cylinders
  • ACCELERATION 0-62mph: 5.1sec
  • TOP SPEED 171mph
  • FUEL | CO2 31.7mpg | 211g/km

View the Jaguar F-type cars for sale on driving.co.uk

 

 

3 Ferrari 488 Spider

Ferrari 488 Spider: Jaguar F-type: The Sunday Times Top 100 Cars - Top 5 Roadsters

Pull up a button, pause for 14 seconds as the two-part roof slides and folds into the rear bodywork, and you’ve got the ultimate open-top supercar. Key to the appeal is the noise: the husky growl of the twin-turbocharged V8 sounds better than the F1 cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

With the top down and accelerator to the floor, there’s no better auditorium. By strengthening the car in the right places, Ferrari has made the Spider just as thrilling to drive as the 488 GTB coupé, avoiding the wobbles that removing a roof can cause. With the same 660bhp and whip-crack gearshifts, it leaves all rivals in its sonic wave.

  • PRICE £204,400
  • OUR PICK 488 Spider (£204,400)
  • ENGINE 3902cc, 8 cylinders
  • ACCELERATION 0-62mph: 3.0sec
  • TOP SPEED 203mph
  • FUEL | CO2 25mpg | 260g/km

View the Ferrari cars for sale on driving.co.uk

 

 

4 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Porsche Boxster Spyder: The Sunday Times Top 100 Cars - Top 5 Roadsters

Porsche has mastered the art of charging more for less and the Boxster Spyder is a classic example. It’s all about saving weight — to the extent that there’s no air-con or radio (they are no-cost options). The roof is manually operated, there are retro roadster humps behind the lightweight bucket seats and a manual-only gearbox.

The 3.8-litre 370bhp engine from the previous version of the 911 zings to a heady 7000rpm — perfect for the ultimate wind-in-your-hair experience.

  • PRICE £60,459
  • OUR PICK Boxster Spyder (£60,459)
  • ENGINE 3800cc, 6 cylinders
  • ACCELERATION 0-62mph: 4.5sec
  • TOP SPEED 180mph
  • FUEL | CO2 28.5mpg | 230g/km

View the Porsche Boxster cars for sale on driving.co.uk

 

 

5 Audi TT Roadster

Audi TT Roadster: The Sunday Times Top 100 Cars - Top 5 Roadsters

Tired of the hairdresser jibes, Audi has finally turned the third-generation TT into a decent driver’s car. Gone are the leaden steering and slow-witted chassis, replaced by a new-found willingness to entertain.

Pick of the bunch is the TTS, which uses just 2 litres to generate the power (306bhp) and nape-tingling sounds normally associated with far bigger engines. But the TT still does the stuff we expect from Audi: that roof folds away in less than 20 seconds, and does so at up to 31mph. Careful attention to airflow means you won’t even ruffle your hairdo on the way back from the salon.

  • PRICE £28,915-£42,495
  • OUR PICK TTS Roadster (£41,130)
  • ENGINE 1984cc, 4 cylinders
  • ACCELERATION 0-62mph: 5.2sec
  • TOP SPEED 155mph
  • FUEL | CO2 37.7mpg | 173g/km

View the Audi TT cars for sale on driving.co.uk

 

 

Top 100 Cars 2016 contents
  1. Top 5 Sports Cars
  2. Top 5 Large 4x4s & SUVs
  3. Top 5 Luxury & Prestige Cars
  4. Top 5 Electric & Hybrid Cars
  5. Top 5 City Cars
  6. Top 5 Superminis
  7. Top 5 Hot Hatches
  8. Top 5 Two-seat Roadsters
  9. Top 5 Warm Hatches
  10. Top 5 Supercars
  11. Top 5 Family Convertibles
  12. Top 5 Coupés
  13. Top 5 Compact Crossovers
  14. Top 5 Large Crossovers
  15. Top 5 Five-seat MPVs
  16. Top 5 Seven-seat MPVs
  17. Top 5 Mid-size Estate Cars
  18. Top 5 Large Estate Cars
  19. Top 5 Mid-size Family Cars
  20. Top 5 Large Family Cars

 


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