10 of the best new convertibles to cruise around in this summer

It's no coincidence that new convertibles arrive just in time for beach weather. Just like umbrellas on a rainy day, car makers know things typically sell better when people can find a use for them.

And as we rush towards 2017 there's been a flood of new drop-tops arriving in dealerships. Here's a list of some of the standouts.

Mercedes-Benz SLC

The 270kW engine launches the two-seater to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds.

Yet despite its straight-line go the SLC is more about enjoying the scenery than setting lap times. The ride is surprisingly comfortable and the cabin very practical.

Plus, it has a fantastic folding hard-top that makes it easy to go from coupe-like comfort to wind in your hair. It's just a shame the roof can be operated on the run.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

The Evoque is the world's first luxury SUV convertible – a car that can not only take you to the beach but on it.

But there's a catch. Much of that SUV functionality has disappeared because the roof has to fold somewhere, soaking up valuable boot space. And all the extra bracing required to stop the Evoque from folding into a ball without the roof structure above it means it's a lot heavier than the hard-top version (roughly 280kg).

Still, the Evoque Convertible looks the business and for some that will more than offset the $10K price premium over the roofed version.

Abarth 124 Spider

For 20 years the Mazda MX-5 has had the affordable two-seat roadster market to itself. Until now.

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Enter the Abarth 124 Spider. Just like the MX-5 it drives the rear wheels, has only two seats and feels light and agile on the road.

Its 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, though, is pure Fiat (Abarth is Fiat's performance sub-brand) and delivers meaningful muscle as well as a throaty exhaust note, something amplified with the optional Monza exhaust system. For the number crunchers the 125kW power output beats the MX-5 by 7kW.

Rolls-Royce Dawn

If it's exclusivity you yearn for then look no further than the Dawn, the drop-top version of the Rolls-Royce Wraith. The $749,000 price tag makes it the most expensive convertible on the market.

At least you get pampered - in a big way. It starts with the space courtesy of a body that's almost 5.3-metres long.

Opening the doors kicks off the impressive theatre, with hinges at the rear, rather than the front, creating a large opening that makes sliding in a snip.

Then there's the 6.6-litre V12 that comes with a pair of turbos to ensure more than adequate performance delivered in a seductive rush in keeping with the sleek yet imposing shape.

Mazda MX-5 RF

Key to the MX-5's appeal is a hard-top roof that cleverly folds at up to 10km/h in about 13 seconds. Watching the distinctive rear cover raise and swallow the svelte roof reveals a master of engineering in what is a seriously compact two-seat sports car.

The RF comes only with the MX-5's more powerful 2.0-litre engine, in part because it's lugging around an extra 45kg of weight courtesy of the fancy roof. But it's also because the RF is pitched as a premium offering on the MX-5, one that adds circa-$4000 to the relatively skinny price tag (starting at $38,550).

The rest of the MX-5 package is unchanged, right down to the compact cabin and lack of a glovebox. But, hey, it's all about driving enjoyment, not pampering.

BMW 4-Series Convertible

BMW made some major tweaks to their four-seater drop-top, focusing on more gear and more grunt for less money.

Key changes were updates to the engines – both four-cylinder and inline six-cylinder – adding more power and better efficiency, resulting in snappier acceleration when linked to the standard eight-speed auto.

The new 440i model – which replaced the 435i – was one of the biggest beneficiaries, now punching out 240kW for 5.0 second 0-100km/h times.

Throw in accurate steering and a sporty driving demeanour and it makes for a fun and stylish way to cover some kays.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Convertible

Mercedes' newest arrival is the C-Class Convertible, in some ways the sweet spot of the range with seating for four and a vast range that includes frugal four-cylinders (including the sprightly C300) and AMG models.

While the C43 AMG – with its rorty 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 – adds some sportiness to the C Cab, it's more about touring in style than carving up the corners.

Supple suspension and an elegant, spacious interior make for a luxurious everyday drop-top.

Mini Convertible

With four seats and a clever folding roof – it can be partially opened, like an extended sunroof, or fully folded – the Mini is a great around-town convertible.

The 1.5-litre four-cylinder in the Convertible is surprisingly satisfying, or you can ramp things up with the peppier 2.0-litre turbo in the Cooper S.

Just make sure whoever you're travelling with packs lightly, because the boot is tiny. But, hey, at least the rear seats can be folded to liberate more luggage space.

Ferrari 488 Spider

It's the 3.9-litre V8 that characterises this as one of the fastest convertibles ever built. Immense flexibility means it pulls hard in any gear, fighting for traction if you rev it out to its 8000rpm limit.

It's a shame the sound system doesn't match the attention to detail elsewhere. Then again, with that V8 engine pumping into the cabin for some people that will be enough audio excitement.

Even if you can slap down more than half a million dollars, it'll be two years until you can park it in your driveway.

Porsche 718 Boxster

Effectively a smaller version of the 3.0-litre turbo recently added to the 911 range – but with a single turbo instead of two – the 2.0-litre for the Boxster and 2.5-litre for the Boxster S add newfound muscle to the rear-drive Boxster.

Torque, in particular, has copped a big kick in the right direction, reducing the 0-100km/h time to as little as 4.2 seconds. Fast, then, and it backs it up with one of the best driving experiences in the business. Potent brakes, crisp steering and a poise few sports cars come close to.

That it's also practical – with a boot at either end and a relatively spacious cabin – cements the 718 Boxster as a superb roadster.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the top 10 convertibles for summer.