3 convertibles for 3 different personality types

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Convertibles occupy a special place in the motoring consciousness.

Who doesn’t love the sun in their face and the wind in their hair as they zoom down a curvy country road in search of adventure and freedom?

But not all convertibles are created equal.

In fact, most of the convertibles currently on the market aim at very different personality types. Some are peppy, some are stylish, and some want to go very, very fast. There are drop-tops for introverts, extroverts, and those who might fall somewhere in between.

We decided to compare and contrast three cabrios that we’ve sampled: the $31,000 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the $38,000 MINI Cooper S Convertible, and the $80,000 BMW M4 Convertible. All have two doors, one has two seats, and each can retract its roof.

Read on to find out which might be right for you, if you’re in a top-down frame of mind.

Heading into autumn in much of the US, you should be. It’s actually prime drop-top season, with cooler temperatures removing that baked-in-the-summer-sun aspect that sometimes causes some ragtop enthusiasts to sour on their rides.


1. A classic roadster reboot, the Mazda MX-5 Miata was redesigned for 2015 to return to its peppy roots. Mazda has built a million of these adorable little fun machines. That’s two million seats, if you’re doing the math!!

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Mazda

We tested the car in the middle of a snowy East Coast winter. Not exactly ideal, but as you can see, we weren’t NOT gonna drop the top — which is easier now than ever with the Miata, thanks to a single, simple latch.

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Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

Seat heaters and heater at full blast, suitably bundled up, off I went for some old-school roadstering. The Miata is, has been, and always will be a smile-making machine. If joy is what you’re after, this is your convertible. Over the decades, it’s been steadily improved, too, and the current generation is equipped with all the tech you’re going to want in a two-seater sports car. The whole Miata thing is quite personal, making it a good introvert’s ragtop.

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Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

2. The Miata is rear-wheel-drive and can seat only two. The MINI Cooper S Convertible is front-wheel-drive and can handle five in a pinch. Having the front wheels pull the car means that the MINI can handle bad weather better than the Miata.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

The top is cloth, like the Miata, but it raises and lowers automatically. With 189 horsepower, the MINI’s got a tad more oomph than the 155 horsepower Miata. Overall, it’s a bit less of a thrill, but for actual day-to-day use, it beats the Miata for practicality.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

The MINI Cooper S drop-top is a perfect pleasurable second car for a family. It’s also very stylish. Extroverts will enjoy! But introverts will be able to make peace with it, as well.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

3. Finally, the mighty M4. You’re getting close to 450 horsepower from the twin-turbo 6-cylinder engine, piped to the rear drive wheels. This is a high-end German muscle coupé.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

We drove it in the wine country of both Long Island and Northern California. The roof is a retractable hardtop that stows in seconds. The power and handling are aggressive and dazzling. They don’t call BMWs the ultimate driving machine for nothing.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Introverts need not apply for BMW M4 Convertible ownership. This bad boy makes noise, goes fast, and can send the wind whipping around your head like mean personal cyclone. It’s a little bit scary, to be honest. But also kind of addictive. This is one for EXTREME extroverts.

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Matthew DeBord/BI