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MINI CONVERTIBLE

1.5 Cooper Sport II 2dr [Comfort Pack]

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MINI Convertible - By Jonathan Crouch

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

This improved third generation MINI Cooper Convertible looks usefully more appealing. The experts at Car & Driving check it out.

Ten Second Review

It's pretty hard to take exception to MINI's MK3 model Convertible. It delivers surprising space for passengers and luggage, a stylish roadway demeanour and a customisable fabric roof. This revised version has been usefully updated with fresh technology, smarter connectivity, standard-fit front and rear LED lights across the range and an advanced dual-clutch automatic gearbox. As before, buyers can pick petrol, diesel and performance versions.

Background

When BMW re-booted the MINI brand in 2001, it took three years to add a convertible to the range. Once on sale, four people could enjoy the open-air adventures MINI promised, although the rear passengers had a tight squeeze getting into the back. Things were improved in the second generation version we saw in 2009, but the space was still very limited. Still, this drop-top model sold well, stealing sales not only from small cabriolets aimed at Kings Road cruising, but also grabbing a few from more focused open-topped sportscars. This third generation convertible model, launched in 2016, grew in every dimension and MINI managed to do this without ruining this car's charm. Plus there are some innovative options over and above some high-tech standard equipment.

Driving Experience

The Convertible MINI has a slightly different remit from the hatchback - being all about style - but the fact that it invokes the Cooper name across all variants hints at the potential for driving thrills. The base 136bhp MINI Cooper Convertible will accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds and hit 129mph. There's also a 116bhp Cooper D diesel model, a pokier 192bhp Cooper S petrol version and a flagship 231bhp John Cooper Works derivative. High performance though, hardly seems relevant in a four seat soft-top: what is important is the operation of the newly-designed roof. At speeds of up to 18mph, this fabric top can be lowered or raised in 18 seconds, so when the British weather does what it does, you'll not be left out in the rain for too long. If you just want to open the small portion over the front seats, it can slide back 40cm, automatically, at any speed. In the updated range we're looking at here, nothing's fundamentally changed engine-wise, though MINI says that minor changes have been made to its TwinPower Turbo Technology across the board, improving engine electronics, oil supply, intake air ducting, the cooling set-up and the exhaust system. Perhaps most significant though is the news that the brand has at last got around to fitting in a proper dual-clutch auto gearbox for those wanting a self-shifter, this now a 7-speed unit.

Design and Build

The styling of this revised MK3 model doesn't look all that different, but close inspection will reveal the addition of standard-fit LED front and rear lights, plus there's now extra scope for all-important personalisation. Otherwise, this third generation MINI Cooper Convertible retains the basic overall body shape that we all know and love, with each of its key dimensions just a little larger than those of its earlier pre-2016 MK2 model predecessor. This addresses the main criticisms of the older design in two key areas: the back seats and the boot. Rear passengers get more legroom, making access the second row easier. When the folded fabric roof is down, it forms a wrap-around collar around the back seats, rather than disappearing completely. It encroaches slightly into the boot area but despite this, the luggage capacity is these days a reasonably acceptable 215-litres with the roof closed and 160-litres with it folded down. The roof is customisable and retracts in 18 seconds. Optional is a woven Union Flag option. The rival DS 3 Cabriolet model can also be specified with a patterned roof, but the Union Flag has long been associated with the MINI. There's also a new MINI logo that appears on the bonnet, tailgate, steering wheel, instrument display and central locking remote control.

Market and Model

As part of the BMW group, MINI has become a premium brand in the small car sector and as such can command a higher price than would be expected for a car that started life as a cheap and cheerful runabout. The basic petrol MINI Cooper Convertible starts at around £18,500 for the manual version, the diesel costs from just over £20,000 and the top of the range John Cooper Works model from a little over £28,000. All variants are available in Manual and Automatic transmissions Strong competition comes from the much cheaper Fiat 500C, the slightly less expensive DS 3 Cabriolet and more pricey Audi A3 Cabriolet. For its price, the MINI doesn't have the most impressive list of standard features but it does have parking sensors, reversing camera, Bluetooth and 'MINI Connected'. This is a system that integrates your MINI with your smartphone, for infotainment, communication and driving experience apps. An XL version of the Connected app is available as an option and among its enhanced features is a useful rain-warning sensor. Plus it can alert a driver who has left the car open-topped that rain is on its way.

Cost of Ownership

Like all new cars, this MINI has improved in this area. The standard Cooper Convertible petrol model returns 55.4mpg on the combined cycle. For more impressive economy, the Cooper D Convertible returns 70.6mpg, and as you might expect, the sporty Cooper S Convertible consumes a lot more, returning 46.3mpg. All of these figures would, at one time, have been considered exceptional for a car of the MINI's size, but they are equalled and bettered by the rivals from Fiat and DS. MINI's 'TLC Pack' is a five year/ 500,000 mile service package that costs around £350. CO2 Emissions are reasonable across the range, but all three variants fall into different tax bands. The Cooper Convertible costs £30 a year for 114g/km, the Cooper S Convertible, £130 a year for 139g/km, but the manual Cooper D Convertible, emitting just 100g/km CO2, costs nothing in tax. Good residual values can be expected, especially as this car addresses many of the problems of the old car and should remain a desirable option for many years. Expect the MINI Cooper Convertible mostly to fall into insurance groups 17-20, depending on the variant.

Summary

So, this improved third generation MINI Convertible looks great, is brilliantly designed, cheap to run and holds its value. It's even a bit more practical than you might be expecting. OK, you could perhaps complain about the premium pricing but in truth, there's not really much more than that to put off would-be Convertible purchasers who need a more involving drive than one of those hairdessers' cabriolets but don't want a sports roadster either. This car has so much more street-cred than obvious rivals and is far-less gender-specific (all right, female-orientated), which will matter to male buyers nearly as much as the fact that it's huge fun to drive. A MINI adventure then, that could see you living happily ever after.

MINI Convertible - One of the most stylish convertibles around is the cheeky MINI drop top. June Neary tries it for size.

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

One of the most stylish convertibles around is the cheeky MINI drop top. June Neary tries it for size.

Will It Suit Me?

Let's face it, I don't have a large family to cart about daily. My other half isn't even that big, so I don't really need a car with a whole lot of seats. Therefore something MINI-sized would suit me nicely and I'm a sucker for anything with a soft top. Once the MINI Convertible arrived at the office, I made sure I intercepted the driver, signed the forms and then surreptitiously sneaked the car to the end of the car park behind a Renault Master van. There was no way the boss was going to pull rank on me with this one, especially as it was Friday and the weather forecast for the weekend was uncharacteristically promising. Time to work on that tan.

Practicalities

Let's not get too hung up on the practicalities. This car is all about fun. The roof itself is a fully automatic fabric affair, MINI wisely choosing to reject the far more complex folding hard top fashion. Opting for this more complex engineering solution would not only have ruined the MINI's shape but also severely impinged on its luggage space. As it stands, the MINI retains a characteristic profile with the roof in place yet looks appealingly cheeky with the hood down. Press a button once and the roof slides back by 40cm, creating a sunroof effect. Press it again and the hood retracts fully, folding down behind the rear seats. Clever use of space means the luggage capacity of this MK3 model car is considerably improved - 215-litres with the roof closed and 160-litres with it folded down. This allows for up to three typical airline cabin cases, so everyday practicality is much improved. That's enough for a couple of squashy bags but if you're planning a week away, you're going to need to pack light, pack cheap or else, schedule a trip to the Laundromat.

Behind the Wheel

The first thing that I would say about driving the MINI is that it is not a reproduction of Alec Issigonis's original dream, but more a synthetic repackaging. Unfortunately, the word synthetic fits pretty well - what at first looks like aluminium is in fact rather thin plastic. Still, these things are cosmetic - I could learn to live with them. MINI claim their Convertible offers the same go-kart style handling as the hatch and this is testament to thorough bracing. Weight has crept up and as a result acceleration is a little blunted compared to the hard top sibling but even the base petrol Cooper version will sprint to 62mph in a very reasonable 8.8 seconds. At speeds of up to 18mph, the fabric top can be lowered or raised in 18 seconds, so when the British weather does what it does, you'll not be left out in the rain for too long.

Value For Money

MINI motoring isn't especially cheap. The basic petrol MINI Cooper Convertible starts at around £18,500 for the manual version, the diesel costs from just over £20,000 and the top of the range John Cooper Works model from a little over £28,000. All variants are available in Manual and Automatic transmissions. Safety kit includes ABS brakes with EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution to maximise their effectiveness, CBC Cornering Brake Control and Brake Assist to help in an emergency stop. Twin front and side airbags are of course standard too, as is DSC Dynamic Stability Control to help you out on slippery roads or if you enter a corner too fast. All Coopers come with air conditioning which also keeps the glovebox cool to stop your chocolate getting sticky, rear parking sensors, MP3 compatability for the stereo and alloy wheels. It's a pity though that the wind blocker that makes roof-down motoring at speed so much more relaxing resides on the options list. One option of dubious value is what MINI are calling their 'Openometer'. This, believe it or not, records the amount of time spent by the owner driving with the top down. I've given it a lot of thought and I'm still not sure why you'd ever want to know that...

Could I Live With One?

I think I could live with MINI's Convertible, even in a country where the sun shines as infrequently as Britain. It's not quite as sharp a driver's tool as its hard top siblings but that's a small sacrifice to pay.

Interior Features

  • Front centre armrest
  • Colour line - Glowing red (£260.00)
  • Colour line - Carbon black
  • Cross punch leather upholstery with sport seats + lumbar support (£500.00)
  • Dinamica/Cloth Upholstery with JCW sport seat
  • Dinamica/leather upholstery with JCW sport seats + lumbar support (£500.00)

Driving Mirrors

  • Black mirror caps (£0.00)
  • White mirror caps (£0.00)
  • Body colour mirror caps

Driver Aids

  • Cruise control with brake function
  • MINI Driving Modes (£200.00)

Entertainment

  • Harman Kardon Hi Fi system with amplifier and 12 speakers (£600.00)
  • 4 speakers

Seats

  • Passenger seat height adjuster
  • Driver and front passenger seat heating

Body Glass

  • Heated front windscreen (£150.00)

Carpets/Rugs

  • Black velour floor mats

Heating/Cooling/Ventilation

  • Dual zone automatic air conditioning

Safety

  • Warning triangle and first aid kit (£60.00)

Trim - Cloth

  • Dinamica/cloth - Carbon black with JCW sport seats (£0.00)

Trim - Leather

  • Cross punch leather - Carbon black with sport seats + lumbar support (£500.00)

Trim - Part Leather

  • Dinamica/leather - Carbon black with JCW sport seats + lumbar support (£500.00)

Paint - Metallic

  • Metallic - Electric blue (£525.00)
  • Metallic - Midnight black (£525.00)
  • Metallic - White silver (£525.00)
  • Metallic - Starlight Blue (£525.00)
  • Metallic - Moonwalk Grey (£525.00)
  • Metallic - Melting silver (£525.00)
  • Metallic - Caribbean aqua (£525.00)
  • Metallic - Solaris orange (£525.00)
  • Metallic - Emerald grey (£525.00)

Exterior Body Features

  • Metallic paint (£525.00)
  • Solid paint
  • Bonnet Stripes - White (£150.00)
  • Bonnet Stripes - Black (£150.00)
  • Special solid paint (£525.00)
  • MINI Yours Special solid paint (£750.00)

Driving Mirrors

  • Black mirror caps (£0.00)
  • Body colour mirror caps
  • White mirror caps (£0.00)

Wheels - Alloy

  • 17" John Cooper Works track spoke alloy wheels with run flat tyres (£200.00)
  • 18" John cooper works cup spoke alloy wheels with run flat tyres (£700.00)
  • 17" John Cooper Works track spoke alloy wheels

Exterior Lights

  • Adaptive LED Headlights with matrix function (£500.00)
  • LED headlight with closed ring and daytime driving lights

Paint - Special

  • MINI Yours Special Solid - Lapisluxury Blue (£750.00)
  • Special solid - Chili red (£525.00)

Paint - Solid

  • Solid - Pepper White (£0.00)

Wheels - Spare

  • Tyre repair kit

Fuel Consumption - ICE

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: True
  • EC Urban (mpg): 39.8
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): 57.6
  • EC Combined (mpg): 49.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Min: 34.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Max: 34
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Min: 47.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Max: 45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Min: 53.3
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Max: 49.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Min: 44.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Max: 40.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min: 45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max: 42.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Min: 8.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Max: 8.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Min: 5.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Max: 6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Min: 5.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Max: 5.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Min: 6.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Max: 7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min: 6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max: 6.6

General

  • Coin Series: Cooper Sport II Cmf
  • Coin Description: N
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Safety Concerns?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 22E
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: N
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 136
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.5
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1

Emissions - ICE

  • CO2 (g/km): 130
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • Noise Level dB(A): 68
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - Min: 184
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - Max: 189
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - Min: 134
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - Max: 141
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - Min: 121
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - Max: 130
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - Min: 146
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - Max: 159
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Max: 150
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Min: 141

Engine and Drive Train

  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 82
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 94.6
  • CC: 1499
  • Cylinders: 3
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 12
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
  • Transmission: MANUAL
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Engine Code: B38A15M1

Performance

  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 8.8
  • Top Speed: 128
  • Engine Power - BHP: 136
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Power - KW: 100
  • Engine Power - RPM: 4500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 162
  • Engine Torque - NM: 220
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1480
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 22.4

Weight and Capacities

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1230
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1670
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 40
  • Max. Loading Weight: 440
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 215
  • No. of Seats: 4
  • Max. Roof Load: N
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 160
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.8

Tyres

  • Tyre Size Front: 205/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Rear: 205/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 17" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: TRACK SPOKE
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False

Vehicle Dimensions

  • Length: 3821
  • Width: 1727
  • Wheelbase: 2495
  • Width (including mirrors): 1932
  • Height: 1415
  • Height (including roof rails): N

Fuel Economy

  • 49.6 MPG (Combined)
  • 39.8 MPG (Urban)
  • 57.6 MPG (Extra Urban)
Fuel Tank Size: 40 Litres

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