The person who buys the new Mini Cooper Convertible will need to be on close, probably intimate terms with anybody with whom s/he is going to share this car.
Neil Lyndon gets intimate with the Mini Cooper Convertible
For instance, if they are planning to go away together, they will need to mingle their smalls in the same bag.
The boot in this Mini is like a letterbox. You have to squash a bag to push it in and then, when it resumes its normal shape and size, it fills the whole space. Maximum capacity for a supermarket trip would be three full carrier bags.
The back seats are about as comfortably fitted for human habitation as the ones in a Porsche 911.Their only useful function is to act as a shelf for the baggage you can’t ram into the boot. After I drove my daughters to school in the back of this car, they asked if they could walk next time.
The reason for these confinements, obviously, is the powered fabric roof that makes this Mini a convertible. It’s a fine and nifty piece of work (goes up or down in 15 seconds), but it occupies at least a third of the space in the rear of this car that would normally be available for legs, elbows and luggage in a tin top Mini.
That space is a compartment between the back seats and the tail of the car. Even when the folding roof has slotted itself into that compartment, however, it still sticks up above the bodywork, impeding rearward visibility.
For all the hazards and disadvantages it inflicts, therefore, that roof had better bring some considerable advantages.
And sure enough, it really does. Despite the fact that the folding roof makes this Mini a two-seater, it’s not only a terrific two-seater but also one of the most engaging roadsters on the road. The structural weakness resulting from the removal of the roof is entirely absorbed.
The car handles so communicatively and steers so sharply that it’s not far off kart levels of enjoyment. I am conscious that I go on about the MX-5 so frequently that I almost bore myself but, at the risk of boring everybody else,
I want to say that the Mini Cooper Convertible is almost as much fun, as likeable and endearing as a you-know-what.
Its 135 bhp 1.5i petrol engine with the six-speed manual gearbox is directly comparable with my favourite new MX-5 and the two cars are not much different in price, either. The £24120 for our test car is slap in the middle of MX-5 pricing even though it includes more knick-knacks and doodahs that Barron Trump finds in his Christmas stocking. Speaking personally, I could do without the black bonnet stripes that make it look like a kid’s Vauxhall Nova from the 1980s but, seeing as their absence would only take eighty quid off the price, you kind of think “Why bother?”
BMW have rivalled Audi in the lights effects department for this car. A ring of bright light runs around the soup-plate size speedo in the middle of the dash and it changes colour according to the message it’s trying to communicate. Red might mean – obviously – that you’re about to reverse over the cat; but there is a whole spectrum of other shades to light up your dreary day.
One of the most heart-warming (or naffest, according to taste) pyrotechnics is a little puddle of ice-blue light containing the Mini logo that is projected onto the ground from the door handles when you open the locks on the remote fob in the dark. It’s as if the car is spreading a welcoming mat to greet you.
I suppose it’s probably the girl in me that is enchanted by that novelty; and there is no doubt that the Mini Cooper Convertible exudes more estrogen than testosterone. I don’t have any problem living with that, but finding space for my manly size 10s on the pedals in the footwell would be a nagging and permanent problem. The close setting of the pedals not only made it impossible for me to heel-and-toe but also made my shoes edge off each other so that I was sometimes on the clutch when I was looking for the brake.
Probably ought to have been wearing my ballet pumps.
Car reviewed: MINI Cooper Convertible – On the road £18,765, price as tested £24,120.00 0-62mph 8.8 secs Top speed 129mph Fuel Economy combined 57.6mpg CO2 emissions 114g/km Engine 1499cc 3-cylinder Petrol Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 6-speed Manual
Nifty Roof operation
A most engaging roadster
Mini pyrotechnics and effects