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spandak Dork
5/28/24 10:50 p.m.

I'm looking at 4 seat convertibles to take the family out in. Here's the thing, there's not that many of them and fewer that meet my requirements and I need ideas of where to look.

Needs: 4 actual seats that fit humans (looking at you 911)

Modern enough to be safe to put kids in

Decent on a back road. I don't need a scalpel but a Sebring isn't gonna work

Not a money pit. I'm familiar with German cars and not afraid but I have a job and other things that require my time. I can't be in the garage every weekend. All work will be done by me

Not a Mustang or Camaro. I can't be that guy. Around here they are rentals or worse 


Manual. I really want a manual but will consider an automatic if the rest of the package is interesting enough  

I would prefer NA but will consider a turbo if the package is interesting enough 


Candidates so far

128i/328i, 135i/335i considered if I can be convinced they aren't hand grenades. Looking at the E93 generation 3 series. I've owned BMWs in the past (2x E36) and they drank cash. Would these be any better?

911, maybe I can squeeze them back there....

Saab 9-3, my wife thinks they're hideous but I like the quirky nature. Bonus points for being safe  

XK/XK8/XKR, not sure about these. The last XK is really a beautiful car, the previous are a little odd but maybe I could make it work  

What else should I be looking at?


wae UltimaDork
5/28/24 10:53 p.m.

How bad is the back seat of a Toyota Solara convertible?

Appleseed MegaDork
5/28/24 11:03 p.m.


LanEvo Dork
5/28/24 11:11 p.m.

In reply to spandak :

The E90 is fine as long as you stick with normally aspirated models. The turbocharged direct-injected drivetrains are money pits. 

Oapfu Reader
5/28/24 11:24 p.m.
Steve_Jones UltraDork
5/28/24 11:41 p.m.

Easy button is a Wrangler. 

spandak Dork
5/29/24 12:26 a.m.

In reply to Steve_Jones :

This was on my list actually. Not much of a canyon car but off-roading is fun too

Sine_Qua_Non SuperDork
5/29/24 12:31 a.m.

You want safe? Look at the Volvo C70. Can be had with a manual too but is hard to find. 

DasAuto MegaDork
5/29/24 2:03 a.m.

B8 Audi A5 or S5 convertible. 6-speed manual available and your choice of 2.0T, 3.0SC, or 4.2 V8 powerplant. Four real seats, airbags, and real AWD.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/29/24 2:42 a.m.

2010-2015 Lexus is250c

Think BMW 3-series ala Lexus.

Three piece retractable hardtop steals trunk space but makes for a nice, year round coupe. Has a rear seat but it's cramped.  The smaller the front seat occupants, the better the rear seat legroom.


camopaint0707 HalfDork
5/29/24 6:38 a.m.

Toyota Solara!

914Driver MegaDork
5/29/24 7:50 a.m.

Not this exact car, but something along this avenue?  Suspension tweaks are readily available for these.

STM317 PowerDork
5/29/24 7:55 a.m.

You can get cabrio versions of the Mercedes C, E and S class depending on size of backseat and budget. They haven't made any manuals in a long time though.

STM317 PowerDork
5/29/24 7:58 a.m.

Minis might have more backseat room than something like a 911, and you can get the S or even the JCW in a convertible. Much easier to find with a manual trans too.

Original-Owner 2006 Mini Cooper S JCW Convertible 6-Speed

buzzboy UltraDork
5/29/24 8:02 a.m.
Steve_Jones said:

Easy button is a Wrangler. 

Honestly, they handle better than you'd expect and can be made to handle better relatively easily. Skyjacker does a lowering kit...

Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/29/24 9:15 a.m.


I recently picked up a 6spd Saab 9-3 with the 2.0 engine. 

I've really like driving it so far. Both my kids are around 5' tall and fit in the back, I don't think they would want to do a long drive in it though. 

The hydraulic cylinders leak so the top in now in manual only mode which is not very convenient. You have to do about 3-4 steps including get out of the car, back in the car, back out of the car to put the top down. 

I wouldn't say it is fast but it is still fun to drive. 

5/29/24 9:21 a.m.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/29/24 9:23 a.m.

Yeah, there’s something about an American cruiser. Fit some fresh shocks and tires and enjoy. 

914Driver MegaDork
5/29/24 9:42 a.m.

Couldn't agree more.  heart

ClearWaterMS HalfDork
5/29/24 9:54 a.m.

Miata limo

Miata limousine: Awesome or abomination?


Range Rover Evoque

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible First Drive - Autoblog

Nissan Murano Cabrio

The Weird Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is Still in High Demand - Bloomberg

none of these are manual transmissions (or even good ideas)

90BuickCentury Reader
5/29/24 10:03 a.m.

2018 Lexus LC500.

Pro: V8 seats 4

Con: heavy, no stick, $65,000

2009 Infiniti G37 hardtop convertible 

Pros:  Manual available, RWD, seats 4

Cons: ?

Nissan Murano Convertible 

Pros: It's so ugly that other drivers will steer clear of you so that the ugliness doesn't infect their cars.

Cons: Just look at it, it's so ugly, crappy CVT, wheelchair parking hangtag required to be hung from rear view mirror at all times, ugly.

golfduke Dork
5/29/24 10:23 a.m.

Of all the cars listed so far, I really like the idea of the E93 M3 vert, S5 vert and the Mini, wierdly... 1 series BMW is TINY in the back seat, I'd caution against that one...  E93 hard tops are super cool, but there are a zillion moving parts and top failures are pretty common, and the manual override is painstakingly brutal to undertake IMHO.  But if you speak fluent German, the E93 M3 vert is a hard combo to beat-  Intoxicating V8 sounds, 6 speed, usable back seats, can be found under $20k now if you're patient and willing to travel for one. 



johndej UltraDork
5/29/24 10:48 a.m.
03Panther PowerDork
5/29/24 11:28 a.m.
Appleseed said:


Just curious: are you telling him he should get a mustang, in spite of him stating he did not want one, or did you just not read that he didn't want one?

('stang was my first thought as well, till I read the whole post)

ztnedman1 Reader
5/29/24 12:44 p.m.

He should get a mustang because that is what he wants, even though he doesn't.


Get the mustang. Get the V8, put some wheels on it and no one is confusing it with a rental. Especially if you target an 03-04 Cobra.

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