The MINI Cooper Convertible is fitted with same four cylinder 1.6 litre engine that is shared by the rest of the MINI range.
How It Drove - Performance
The MINI Cooper Convertible is fitted with same four cylinder 1.6 litre engine that is shared by the rest of the MINI range. It produces 115 bhp @ 6000 rpm and delivers 150 Nm of torque at 4500 rpm.
The convertible weighs in at an extra 100 kg's than the hatchback model, which takes into account the chassis reinforcements and the electrically operated roof. The extra weight does have some bearing on performance, for example the 0-62 mph figure for the Hatchback is 9.2 seconds and for the Convertible - 9.8 seconds. But in practice who cares, if you are worried about half a second of your life, then the MINI Convertible will probably be wasted on you. For us a convertible is all about finding a great road and soaking up the environment. It is about driving home with the roof down after a stressful day at work, it is about enjoying yourself, it is not about racing off at the traffic lights. You can of course opt for the supercharged Cooper S Convertible and shave 2.4 seconds off the standard Cooper's 0-62 mph time.
As you would expect of BMW, the engine is exceptionally quiet and refined. Power delivery is smooth and precise and is controlled by 'throttle-by-wire' technology which replaces the traditional mechanical link between the accelerator and engine. The powertrain controller determines the ideal amount of fuel to supply to the engine resulting in maximum performance and minimum emissions.
The MINI Cooper is equally at home in rush hour traffic as it is on the motorway and around town and it was a joy to drive. It has more than adequate power and is more than capable of giving driver's of larger and faster vehicles a few surprises.
On the motorway sometimes you do find yourself changing down to overtake, especially with the ever increasing volumes of sales reps interpreting a 70 mph limit as 100 mph plus.
The standard five-speed gearbox is amongst the best we have tested offering seamless changes. The clutch is particularly well weighted for a car of this size and it was a joy to change up and down the gears, using the chunky, tactile gearstick although, reverse gear was a bit temperamental to engage.
How It Drove - Ride and Handling
The MINI Cooper has excellent handling characteristics, the overall ride is firm and combined with the MINI's chassis design and low centre of gravity you have an agile car with superb road holding ability. Our test car was equipped with the CHILLI Pack (£1,300) which includes sports suspension and 16" 7-spoke FIN light alloy wheels which significantly enhanced the handling.
During our time with the MINI Cooper Convertible we were repeatedly asked the same three questions:
1.) Does the Convertible handle as well as the Hatchback?
2.) What happens if you roll it over?
3.) Is it for sale?
We can address the handling here, and we will discuss rolling it over later and the answer to the third question No - MINI might have something to say about it.
The problem car designers face when producing a convertible variant of a fixed head car is rigidity. If you take the top off a cardboard box, the box will twist and the same happens to a car. In order to maintain the rigidity of the Convertible, the floor assembly and side sills of the car have been reinforced. Additional crossbars and thickened side panels have been added at all the critical points to ensure optimum occupant safety in the event of a side collision. This body stiffening also ensures that the MINI Convertible retains the excellent driving and handling characteristics that we have seen in the standard MINI range.
Although MINI have made a superb job of retaining the handling characteristics of the Hatchback, it would be wrong of us to say that there was not any scuttle shake, it is evident but with the roof and windows up there is very little vibration.
MINI Cooper Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||MINI Cooper Convertible|
|Colour||Cool Blue Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||9.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||120 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||49.6 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||4|
|Warranty||3-year/unlimited mileage warranty|
6-year/unlimited mileage anti-corrosion guarantee
3-year Pan-European roadside assistance package
|Price (when tested on the 16/02/05)||£14,925 OTR|