Can you recommend a fun convertible for commuting and weekend drives?

We are a family with two family cars. We are looking to replace the second car, an ageing Vauxhall Vectra, with something more fun. This would primarily be for my short daily commute and for weekends when not travelling with the children. We are looking at hard top convertibles, as we are concerned about the maintenance and durability of a soft top and I prefer more refined and quieter cabin than most soft tops provide.

We recently test-drove a Lexus IS250C. I loved the hi-tech gadgets and the quiet cabin. However, I found the motoring experience not as stimulating as hoped. The weight of the car meant it felt a little sluggish and, with the roof down, much of the refinement seemed to disappear, undermining the thrill of open top driving. Is this a universal issue with convertibles? If so, would I find coupes that might offer similar refinement to the Lexus but with a more engaging drive? I'm willing to spend around £30,000.

Asked on 10 October 2010 by MW, Bradfield, Essex

Answered by Honest John
I agree, a Lexus IS250C is not a performance car, but I disagree about the roof-down refinement. See video test here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/lexus/lexus-is250c.../. I found it to be the most refined top-down convertible there is, only getting noisy in tunnels (which is inevitable with any drop-top). That said, with its Nissan 350Z engine, the Infiniti G37 convertible is quicker: www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/infiniti/g-convertib.../. Otherwise a BMW 330i or 335i CC will do the job.
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