Porsche Boxster S
Some have argued that this, not the 911, is the finest Porsche currently on sale. That’s quite the claim, but a testament to the Boxster’s reinvigorated design. The baby of the Porsche family is no longer just 911 Jr, but now has its own, distinctive character.
Take the 3.4 litre S rather than the standard Boxster – it goes like a stabbed rat and boasts the kind of handling you’d normally need to take your clothes off to enjoy. Plus there’s the added benefit of being immediately endowed with a lifetime’s supply of cool.
Priced from £49,000.
Long a triumph of form over function, previous generations of the TT have been outperformed by most of the competition in its class. But with the latest iteration, Audi’s fixed the sluggishness, turning an also-ran into a contender. If you’re more liable to deploy yours on commutes, not track days, know that these tweaks haven’t come at the expense of its aesthetics.
The profile of the TT has evolved, but it retains the familiar shape that made the original a design icon. Inside, the cabin is a triumph of simplicity, with small nods to the improved performance: the digital central screen, for example, has been shifted behind the steering wheel so everything’s in your line of sight. Allowing you to concentrate fully on throwing it down country lanes.
Priced from £32,000.
Released in the 1989, the original MX-5 was the spiritual successor to the MG. Every subsequent model has been equally brilliant and the latest version doesn’t buck that trend. It’s a beneficiary of Mazda’s ‘kodo’ design language, a new approach that models cars on coiled beasts, prepared to pounce. Which translates as something that now looks as aggressive as its performance deserves.
Perched inside, you’re close to the road in a cabin that feels like it’s hugging you, increasing the connection between you and the car. The interior is well-built too – particularly considering you’ll get change from £20k.
Priced from £18,000.
Ferrari 488 Spider
Visually stunning, unspeakably fast. As you’d expect, the 488 Spider is full of design details that remind you why this is a £200,000 car. Not least a steering wheel ported from the F1 Ferrari, so you can pretend you’re Sebastian Vettel even when you’re failing to parallel park.
While it doesn’t quite match the track car’s performance, you’re not far off; it’ll hit 62mph in three seconds, and howl on to 203mph, meaning you might look a little windswept when you get out if you’ve dropped the roof.
Bear in mind that what’s overhead is made from metal, which gives you both a coupé and roadster for the price of one. So you can justify the outlay as a BOGOF deal.
Priced from £204,000.
Fiat 124 Spider
A rather more affordable Spider, this take on the 124 is Fiat’s most recent announcement, slated to hit showrooms just in time for the warm weather. Based on the same hardware as the MX-5, the 124 will be built at the same factory as the Mazda. However, the Fiat comes with a turbocharged engine, meaning you’ll be quicker off the line should you ever go head-to-head with its Japanese cousin.
But the choice is more about style than power: eastern minimalism or Italian expressiveness. The grill and headlights are statement pieces and where the Mazda seems to just tail off, there’s more than a whiff of Maserati around the 124 Spider’s exhaust.