MINI Cooper

Cabriolet

MINI Cooper Convertible, front, roof down
MINI Cooper Convertible, front
MINI Cooper Convertible, side, roof up
MINI Cooper Convertible, side
MINI Cooper Convertible, rear, roof up
MINI Cooper Convertible, interior
MINI Cooper Convertible, rear
MINI Cooper Convertible, dashboard

LAST week I was sampling the biggest car in the BMW stable - the new 7-Series - and this week I found myself in the smallest in the shape of the MINI Cooper Cabriolet.

As usual I found myself in a Cabriolet when the winter weather finally hit with snow and torrential rain - so I never got the chance to experience the delight of open-top motoring.

I was still able to enjoy the Cooper which offers slightly more room that its predecessor but retains all of its charm and adds more technology.

As you would expect, it is very well built and looks as cute as any other MINI with its distinctive lights, stripes on the bonnet, black mirror caps to match and smart black 16-inch alloys.

The Cooper Convertible comes with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder 136bhp petrol engine mated to a slick six-speed manual gearbox.

It tackles the sprint to 62mph in 8.8 seconds and goes on to 129mph if you are brave enough.

Emissions stand at 114g/km and MINI claim a combined figure of 57.6mpg but as usual you will not achieve that in real conditions.

The Cabriolet delivers all the excellent driving dynamics of any other MINI and is ideal for town work and agile and great fun on the open road.

It sticks like glue on bends and the engine has a nice raspy note and decent power for overtaking.

There is more noise inside the cabin as you would expect from a soft top and rear visibility also suffers as does the boot space.

Normal capacity is 215 litres but this is reduced to just 160 litres when the roof is dropped.

You can select from three driving modes - Green, Mid and Sport - and the dash changes colour accordingly.

The cloth hood is fully electric and importantly in our weather can be operated at speeds up to 19mph.

The cabin is typical MINI and the rear seats are really only suitable for children or small adults.

This particular model boasted bags of equipment as it came with the must-have Chili Pack at £3,200 and an additional £1,400 for the equally desirable Media Pack.

As well as the big round MINI dials, you get part-leather sports seats, toggle switches, a nice leather steering wheel with controls, satnav, automatic air conditioning, a good sound system and Bluetooth.

The MINI features all the latest safety equipment including roll bars and at £18,475 represents decent value for money. Go heavy on the options list and that can soon rise as the test car came in at £24,120.

FAST FACTS

MINI Cooper Cabriolet

Price:£18,475

Mechanical:136bhp, 1,499cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:129mph

0-62mph:8.8 seconds

Combined MPG:57.6

Insurance Group:19

C02 emissions:114g/km

Bik rating:19%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles

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