Tested: 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible Manual

Minis are notoriously quirky, và the 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible is no exception. Most of the little droptop’s eccentricities are shared with its Hardtop counterpart—like the one we recently parted ways with after spending 40,000 miles behind its three-spoke steering wheel. Peculiarities include a headlight switch mounted low by the driver’s left knee & angled toward the floor, as well as a cumbersome center armrest that interferes with both the shifting of the Mini’s satisfying six-speed manual transmission và access khổng lồ the car’s available navigation controls.

Ergonomic oddities notwithstanding, there’s a lot lớn lượt thích about Mini’s lachạy thử ragtop, which is now built on the larger, third-generation platsize that debuted under the năm trước Hardtop. Let’s address the elephant in the room first: The năm 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible isn’t cheap. With a starting price of $30,450, it costs $2760 more than a base Fiat 500C Abarth (và $5500 more than a base Mini Cooper S Hardtop). Unlượt thích the Fiat, though, the Mini is a true convertible—there are no B- or C-pillars or fixed pieces of side glass. If a glorified sunroof suffices, give sầu the Fiat a look. But for the wind-in-your-hair experience associated with convertible ownership, the chic little Italian feels inhibited.

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In addition lớn standard features such as dual-zone automatic climate control, well-bolstered leatherette sport seats, và Mini’s cheeky Always mở cửa Timer that clocks how long you’ve sầu driven with the top down, our thử nghiệm car also included a $500 coat of Melting Silver metallic paint, a $1500 Sport package (adaptive sầu dampers, 17-inch wheels, & LED foglights và headlights), và a $1700 Technology package that includes an 8.8-inch center-mounted display screen with navigation, a rearview camera, & rear parking sensors. Among mỏi the nickel-and-dime items was the $250 Storage package, consisting of a storage net in the passenger footwell & two in the cargo area as well as a 12-volt power socket baông xã there. Many automakers would make all those things standard in upper tryên levels such as the S, but that’s not the Mini way. All told, our thử nghiệm car rang in at $34,450, yet it lacked common features lượt thích heated seats, SiriusXM satellite radio, & a proximity-sensing keyless-entry system (although it did have keyless start).

It’s Tricky

Mini incentivizes using the key fob by letting customers drop the little car’s top with a simple, prolonged push of its unloông xã button. Operating the top remotely is merely its, ahem, opening act. With it up, get inside and tap the header-mounted toggle switch, & the front portion of the roof slides back lượt thích a sunroof, even at highway speeds. It’s a parlor trichồng shared with the two previous Mini convertibles, và its simple ingenuity continues lớn delight.

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The Cooper S Convertible’s real stunt is its ability to lớn fold its top entirely in as little as 18 seconds at speeds up lớn 18 mph (the top closes in the same amount of time and at the same speeds). And thanks khổng lồ hidden roll bars that can quickly pop up if the vehicle senses an impending rollover, the lachạy thử convertible offers superior rearward visibility compared with its predecessors. This isn’t to lớn say it’s perfect—the stacked top still blocks too much of the view—but it’s far better than previous iterations of the British droptop, especially when it comes khổng lồ top-up visibility, as the car’s roll bars no longer block large portions of the rear glass window. A regulatory quirk forbids Mini from offering Americans the fold-down rear headrests it uses in Europe, but if no one is sitting bachồng there, the ones used here can be removed entirely.

In ditching the metal roof, though, Mini also threw out much of the little car’s torsional rigidity. On all but the smoothest surfaces, the convertible’s chassis wiggles & jiggles over road irregularities, particularly when the Dynamic Damper Control is mix to Thể Thao mode. Opt for Normal mode, và the ride unique improves; cowl shake, however, remains.

Rattle and Hum

The sprightly Brit’s rigid ride is a boon in the handling department, where quichồng steering responses & minimal body toàn thân roll make the car a joy lớn toss around tight turns. Equipped with grippy Pirelli P Zero run-flat summer tires, the Cooper S Convertible circled our skidpad at 0.91 g—only 0.01 g off the last John Cooper Works Hardtop we tested.


Despite weighing 2978 pounds, this stick-shift Cooper S proved lively in a straight line, recording a zero-to-60-mph run of 6.2 seconds và sprinting through the quarter-mile in 14.7 seconds at 96 mph. These figures better what we achieved in a 147-pound-lighter previous-gene, six-speed-manual Mini Cooper S Convertible by 0.5 and 0.4 seconds & 3 mph.

Credit the smooth và responsive 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With 189 horsepower & 207 lb-ft of torque, the nearly turbo-lag-free four-banger (peak torque arrives at 1250 rpm) bests the old car’s 1.6-liter turbo four by 8 horsepower và 15 lb-ft. Unfortunately, the engine’s extra displacement and the car’s additional weight take their toll at the fuel pump, as this Mini earns unimpressive sầu (for its size) EPA fuel-economy figures of 23 mpg city và 33 mpg highway—down 3 and 2 mpg compared with the old car. Our chạy thử car sipped a gallon of premium fuel every 24 miles.

Junk in the Trunk

Thanks lớn a growth spurt that adds 1.1 inches lớn the wheelbase & 5.1 inches to lớn overall length, it’s now possible khổng lồ fit actual (small) human beings in the Mini’s cramped 50/50 split-folding rear seats. Likewise, the Cooper S Convertible’s bottom-hinged trunklid opens to reveal a reasonably roomy cargo hold. At 7.6 cubic feet, the Mini’s trunk actually bests the bigger, similarly priced Volkswagen Beetle convertible 2.0T R-Line’s by 0.5 cubic foot. With tops down, though, the Beetle has a 1.4-cubic-foot edge.

Although we bemoaned the Mini Hardtop’s added girth, the extra inches actually befit the convertible. Simply put, the functional gains (most notably, a reasonably sized trunk & a more habitable rear seat) outweigh the dynamic deficiencies.

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive sầu, 4-passenger, 2-door convertible

PRICE AS TESTED: $34,450 (base price: $30,450)

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum blochồng and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 122 cu in, 1998 ccPower: 189 hp
1250 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-tốc độ manual

DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 98.2 inLength: 151.9 inWidth: 68.0 in Height: 55.7 inPassenger volume: 77 cu ftCargo volume (top up/down): 8/6 cu ftCurb weight: 2978 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:Zero to lớn 60 mph: 6.2 secZero khổng lồ 100 mph: 16.0 secZero to lớn 130 mph: 36.0 secRolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.8 secTop gear, 30-50 mph: 8.5 secTop gear, 50-70 mph: 6.9 secStanding ¼-mile: 14.7 sec
96 mphTop speed (mfr"s est): 143 mphBraking, 70-0 mph: 158 ftRoadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.91 g

FUEL ECONOMY:EPA city/highway driving: 23/33 mpgC/D observed: 24 mpg

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