Volkswagen Eos' hard-top makes it an enticing option.
Bruce is looking for a brand new convertible for his wife. He won't be driving the car at all, but knows his wife insists upon an automatic transmission.
Up to about $50,000.
Bruce suspects something like a Mazda MX-5 will be a bit too harsh for their needs, but he thinks a dash of sporting character won't go astray.
Other options such as the Mini Cooper Cabrio and Roadster, Fiat 500C Convertible, Peugeot 308CC and Renault Megane CC have also been ruled out, and Bruce has said the car may need to ferry four adults in relative comfort on occasion.
A BMW 120i fits most of the requirements but at $53,800 stretches the budget too far.
And it's the same story for the bigger Audi A5, BMW 3 and 6-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class that would comfortably sit four adults.
Bruce's wife is expected to spend a bit of time in the car commuting from Sydney's rural north-western suburbs, and will be parked at a train station on occasion. Bruce has said he is concerned about a soft-top as it may tempt thieves. However, insurance companies should cover the car for damage, vandalism and losses, even if that happens where it's parked - so as long as the cover complies, this shouldn't be a problem.
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, from $37,490 plus on-road costs
The Golf Cabriolet is a bit of a favourite in the Drive offices, having pipped some formidable competition to take out the Best Convertible category at our Car of the Year awards for the past two years. That competition included the brilliant Porsche Boxster, and the Golf Cab did it purely because it's a lot of car for not a lot of money.
Priced from $36,490 plus on-road costs, it gets a peppy and frugal 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine with enough power and flexibility for it to lead Drive's judges to label it a "hot hatch without a roof"'.
Indeed, it corners commendably, feels light on the road, and has a comfortable suspension setup that copes well with the lumpy roads Bruce's wife will no doubt encounter on Sydney's fringes. That's the sporty aspect covered, then.
The automatic is a six-speed dual-clutch unit which adds $2500 to the initial asking price, and while it is a smooth unit in most situations, it can be a little hesitant from a standstill. The auto can attract some additional servicing costs, too, so Bruce should bear that in mind.
It's spacious inside, and while the trim looks a little bland, the functionality is top-notch. The boot is reasonable at 250 litres with the roof up or down, and the lid is a benchmark setter as it takes just nine seconds to go up or down.
Volkswagen Eos, from $49,990 plus on-road costs
The hard-topped bigger brother to the Golf isn't quite as nimble to drive, but it does tick off the security and peace of mind aspect that Bruce spoke about.
It's not as floppy on the road as the already ruled-out French models, and the ride quality and steering precision are both without any issues. It's available with two engines, a 2.0-litre turbo diesel or a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine which is the same as is in the current GTI.
The latter is perky to say the least – even when you take into account that it's on the chubby side at nearly 1600kg with the dual-clutch automatic option, which brings the same baggage as the Golf in terms of service costs.
Because the Eos is also based on the Golf, it's almost identical in size to the Golf Cabriolet. The roof is on the slow side at 25 seconds, and with the lid in place the boot is a handy 380 litres, or 205 litres with it down.
Audi A3 Cabriolet, from $52,150 plus on-road costs
The Audi A3 Cabriolet is a very similar beast to the Golf Cabriolet. It is based on the same underpinnings and has a similar, quick soft-top roof and compact but comfortable interior.
But what may make the A3 appeal more is that fashionable four-ringed badge.
The Audi does have a slightly classier interior than the Golf, with quality finishes across the dash and doors, but it is starting to age a little in comparison to other Audi models.
The A3 is available with two petrol engines, the base model 1.8-litre turbo and the 2.0-litre turbo. Either will likely have enough guts to satisfy, but because the A3 uses a similar dual-clutch automatic to the Golf, it has the same tendencies to be a touch jerky around town. But it corners well, the steering is faithful, and the ride is comfortable.
Bruce shouldn't expect any relief in terms of servicing costs if he does opt for the Audi. But if he is prepared to shop around, there's a good chance he may find a low-kilometre demonstrator for a decent discount.
If Bruce is truly worried about having a soft-top model, then the Eos is the best option here.
But if he and his wife feel comfortable with a fabric-roofed model, then either the Audi A3 or Golf Cabriolet will suit. They're very similar cars: both have clever, quick roofs, and both drive well.
We'd suggest, though, that the savings that can be made by going for the Golf over the far pricier Audi can't be sneezed at, and if Bruce does go for the VW, he'll be able to put some of the extra budget away for future servicing costs.