Skip to main content

I’m looking for a luxury convertible, but I really don’t want a car that looks like I’m having a midlife crisis (which I totally am). That said, if I had $170,000 to burn, I’d buy a Mercedes S560 Cabriolet. But I have about $40,000, tops. So what can I get that’s classy, reliable, has four seats and will endow me with a touch of class? — Calvin, Vancouver

Going topless in a luxury convertible doesn’t mean you have to lose your shirt.

For reliable rooflessness in a (relatively) affordable used car, Consumer Reports recommends the 2013-16 Mercedes E-Class, 2015-17 BMW 2 Series and 2009 Infiniti G.

Story continues below advertisement

To keep it under $40,000, you’ll likely have to go back to 2013 for the Mercedes E350 and Infiniti G37 (average asking price of $29,844, according to Canadian Black Book) — and 2015 the BMW 228i xDrive.

Here, we’ll stick to ze Germans. The BMW is a little sportier. The Benz is a little swankier.

2015 BMW 228i xDrive

2015 BMW 228i xDrive.

  • First generation: 2015-present
  • Average asking price for used: $34,425 (Canadian Black Book)
  • Original MSRP for base: $45,200
  • Engine: 241-hp, 2-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder
  • Transmission/drive: Eight-speed automatic/All-wheel
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 10.6 city, 7.2 highway; premium gas

For BMW’s starter convertible, the second time was the charm.

“One look at it and you'll see it's a giant leap forward from the 1 Series,” Globe Drive said.

“You buy a car like this in the hope you will use it on sunny days, in warm weather, to take yourself away.”

The 2 series soft top was beefier all around — meaning some usable trunk space (for a convertible) and a rear seat that was bigger but still “recommended for gymnasts only,” we said. If you really wanted to feel the wind through your hair, there was the rear-wheel drive M235i ($39,925 used) with a 320-hp, 3-litre inline six-cylinder.

Consumer Reports said the 2 Series “packs a lot of performance within understated looks, doesn’t beat you up with a harsh ride and noisy cabin,” and had a “smooth, punchy, yet fuel-efficient powertrain.”

Story continues below advertisement

The bad? That snug rear seat, “typical frustrations” with BMWs iDrive infotainment system and a “virtually unavoidable” list of pricey options and packages (like a $3,695 Premium Package Enhanced with navigation, park distance control and rear-view camera) that could add thousands to the base sticker price.

Consumer Reports gave the 2015 2 Series four out of five for reliability.

There was one recall for cars that might have exposed to “excessive water or salt” while stranded at the Halifax port of entry during the 2015 ice storm.

2013 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet

2013 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet.

  • Fourth generation: 2010-2017 (facelift for 2014)
  • Average asking price for used: $36,328 (Canadian Black Book)
  • Original MSRP for base: $69,200
  • Engine: 302-hp, 3.5-litre twin-turbo V-6
  • Transmission/drive: Seven-speed automatic/Rear-wheel
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 12.2 city, 8.5 highway; premium gas

For Mercedes-Benz’s mid-range convertible, E was for excellent and eye-catching. But not exorbitant, comparatively speaking.

“Not as pricey or exclusive as the S-Class, it was a cut above the C-Class stable,” Globe Drive said. “From its "arrowhead" front end to a back deck evocative of some of Mercedes' models of the 1950s, this one was – and still is – a knockout.”

The E-Class wasn’t as flashy or as sporty as some rivals. Instead, it was quietly classy – and quiet, period.

Story continues below advertisement

“The Cabriolet is also one of the most serene convertibles around thanks to the AirCap system, which minimizes air turbulence to a trickle even at high speed,” review site Edmunds said. “It's a benchmark for refined ride quality, confident handling, meticulous craftsmanship, clever innovation and sophisticated comfort.”

Consumer Reports liked the balanced ride and handling, comfortable seats, Mercedes fit and finish and relatively simple controls.

But, it still wasn’t cheap – and, as with with BMW, options and packages could quickly add up.

Consumer Reports gave the 2013 E-Class five out of five for reliability.

There were two recalls, including a driver’s side airbag that could, potentially, accidentally go off during normal driving.

Send your used car questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com with the subject: “Buying used.”

Story continues below advertisement

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

Sign up for the weekly Drive newsletter, delivered to your inbox for free. Follow us on Instagram, @globedrive.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter