THE attraction of open-top motoring plus all the driving dynamics associated with the MINI name - that's what makes the latest third generation MINI Cooper Convertible so special.
The car is slightly bigger than its predecessor and packed to bursting with upmarket styling traits and exciting techno treats.
It's very well built with all the MINI personality and DNA on offer and to be honest, there are no real rivals out there that can match the MINI Convertible for all-round appeal.
The two-door model looks gorgeous and very distinctive from any approach with its retro-style grille, LED headlights, black bonnet stripes, black mirror caps and smart 16-inch alloys.
Move inside and the car's character really shines through with the ever-present round instrumentation with colour rims that alter to match the driving mode.
On-board features include part-leather supportive sports seats, all the usual toggle-style switches, a sports steering wheel, sat nav, a pitch perfect sound system, automatic air conditioning, plus this particular model also boasted a MINI Excitement Pack that introduces lots of analysis and feedback about your driving style.
Some cars seem to lose their charm with a roof lowered but that's not the case with the MINI. The folding roof looks fabulous at the rear of the car and this fully-electric cloth hood can be raised or lowered in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 19mph.
Another feature noticeable by absence is the safety roll bars which are now tucked away behind the seats to give the vehicle a very clean appearance.
Despite being fitted with rear seats, the MINI Convertible can only realistically carry two people and maybe a couple of small children in the back. Alternatively, the rear seats are handy for dumping coats and bags etc.
The boot is fairly compact with a capacity of 215 litres (reduced to 160 litres with the roof down) and there are numerous storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin.
One clever feature on the new MINI is the ‘easy load' function - when the roof is raised, two locking handles allow the roof frame to be raised higher and with a through-loading facility, the car can easily accommodate skis, which simply adds to its sporty allure.
This car was fitted with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder 136bhp petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It can reach from 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds, tops out at 129mph, has combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg and carbon emissions of 114g/km.
In and around town the MINI is as agile as ever and, with the roof lowered, it is guaranteed to turn heads. Then out on the open road and country lanes that go-kart performance and dynamism is very apparent especially as you progress through the driving modes from Green to Mid to Sport.
The road holding is super grippy and tight bends can be attacked with total confidence.
Acceleration through the gears is both smooth and responsive and there is a constant supply of power on tap delivering all the grunt and bite you might need to overtake at short notice.
There is a little road surface noise and another issue is the rear view visibility with the roof down - expect to see lots of treetops and that's all! But those minor gripes aside, the MINI Convertible is an absolute dream to drive.
And when you approach your car at night and unlock the doors, you will be greeted with fabulous MINI emblem puddle lights - another very clever touch.