The new Mini Convertible has been announced. It will go on sale in March 2016, complete with a new design, quieter electric roof mechanism and more space for rear passengers.
The third-generation Mini Convertible is the latest addition to the new family of Minis and follows on from the three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback and the larger, more family-friendly clubman.
Like its siblings, the new Mini benefits from a fresh look. This includes a more distinctive front end, larger single-frame grille, revised headlamps and rear lights with chrome surrounds and a tailgate handle strap.
Revisions to the fabric electric roof are said to make the interior warmer and quieter. It takes 18 seconds to shut at up to 18mph, regardless of whether you choose to close it from within the car or by using a button on the key fob.
For days when the weather is iffy, you can retract the roof by 40cm at any speed, so if the heavens do open you’re not going to be caught out.
Three versions will be available: a Mini Cooper with a 136hp 1.5-litre petrol, a 116hp Cooper D 1.5-litre diesel and a 192hp Cooper S with a 2.0-litre petrol that generates 280Nm of torque from 1,250rpm.
A six-speed manual is fitted as standard, but a six-speed Steptronic can be specified, which features steering wheel shift paddles on the Cooper S model and Launch Control across the range for maximising acceleration from a standing start.
The Mini Cooper S sprints from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds, four-tenths of a second slower than the non-convertible variant, while the Cooper and Cooper D take 8.8 and 9.9 seconds, respectively.
Of the three engines available, the Cooper D’s 70.6mpg and 100g/km of CO2 make it the most eco-friendly, followed by the Cooper (55.4mpg and 114g/km) and the Cooper S (46.3mpg and 139g/km).
Boot space has been improved by 25 per cent over the outgoing model, taking the total to 160 litres with the roof down and 215 litres with the roof up. Meanwhile rear space has improved, thanks to a 28mm longer wheelbase, 98mm extra length and 44mm extra width.
Standard equipment on the Mini Convertible includes air conditioning, keyless engine start and Mini’s Visual Boost radio with AUX and USB connectivity.
Heated front seats, automatic wipers, automatic lights, Harmon Kardon sound system and heated and folding mirrors can be specified. The Chilli pack, which is said to be a popular extra, adds daytime running lights, LED headlights, cruise control and automatic dual-zone air conditioning.
Believe it or not, it has been 12 years since the first German-built Mini Convertible rolled into showrooms in 2004 and then was revised in 2009. How old does that make you feel, then?
Prices start from £18,475 for the Cooper. A Cooper S starts from £22,430 with the manual and from £24,055 for the automatic.
For those who prefer a solid roof, here are our reviews of the Mini Cooper five-door hatch and the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works.
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