A little pricey but a genuine improvement
- Eager handling
- Versatile electric roof
- More spacious than previous model
- Excellent economy, particularly three-cylinder models
- Interior quality
- Poor ride quality
- Wind noise at motorway speed
- Hood hinders visibility when stowed
- Small boot
- Rivals are cheaper
This is the new MINI Convertible, the third soft-top model built by parent company BMW since 2004. The previous second-generation sold over 29,000 units in total, and MINI would like to continue that trend with this replacement. It goes on sale in March, with prices starting from £18,475. The MINI Convertible competes against the Fiat 500C, Citroen DS3 Cabrio and – in sportier guises – the Mazda MX-5.
It’s pricier than those rivals – except very high-spec MX-5s – but the MINI manages to blend agile handling, good performance and fuel efficiency, premium quality and personalisation options. It’s also unique in offering a fully retracting, electrically operated fabric roof.
The roof opens and closes in 18 seconds at up to 18mph and folds a little fussily behind the small rear seats. The first 40cm of the roof can also be retracted while the roof rails are in place, in effect creating a large sunroof. This can be done at any speed.
Larger than before
As with the hatchback, the MINI Convertible has grown in size over the outgoing model. All models are 98mm longer, 44mm wider and 1mm taller than their predecessor. The wheelbase is 28mm longer too.
The larger dimensions outside do translate to a more practical interior. The front seats have a wider range of adjustment while rear passengers benefit from easier access, head- and legroom, and longer seat surfaces. Don’t be fooled though, the MINI is still called a MINI for a reason and those sat in the back won’t want to be there for long periods of time.
Choose any model, as long it’s a Cooper
Three models are available from launch: Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S, all available with a choice of six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic gearboxes.
Standard equipment on all models includes Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and reversing camera, keyless start, plus an infotainment screen. Its retro image is reinforced by the fact that neither Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are available, which seems a bit of an oversight.
Still, a range of lively and efficient engines add character and lively handling is a trademark of the brand we’re pleased to report lives on.
Read on for the full Parkers MINI Convertible review to find out what’s like in depth.