Top fun MINI just

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MINI Cooper S Convertible, front
MINI Convertible 25th Anniversary Edition, 2018, front
MINI Convertible 25th Anniversary Edition, 2018, side
MINI Convertible 25th Anniversary Edition with original Mini Convertible
MINI Convertible 25th Anniversary Edition, 2018, interior
MINI convertible, front
MINI convertible, side
MINI convertible, side
MINI convertible, rear

I'VE driven quite a few convertibles over the last couple of years and enjoyed them all.

Wind-in-the-hair motoring has long been a favourite for me, even though I no longer own an open top car. Sadly, the practicalities of life always get in the way.

But now I've decided that when the opportunity arises, I shall have a MINI Cooper S soft top - if it takes the rest of my days.

All the modern MINIs are very good of course, but the latest Cooper S is right at the top of the list, with brilliant performance, marvellously tactile steering, fantastic road holding and a reasonably comfortable ride.

It's hard to tell this latest model from the previous one apart from the new headlights and Union Jack-looking tail lights.

But under the bonnet is a new, super smooth 2.0-litre turbo engine that's as tuneful as it is willing. Thanks to the turbo, it pulls hard from low revs all the way to the red line.

But in fact, there's no need to push it that hard in the gears, because acceleration is just as fast if you change up at lower revs.

Overtaking becomes a joy on any straight piece of road, and tailgaters wonder where you went.

The six-speed slick changing gearbox has a ratio that fits every need and the clutch is light enough to take stop start traffic without hurting the left leg.

So we know it goes well.

But it also handles like a dream, with the most marvellous balance and superbly direct steering that's loaded with road feel for the driver.

Take it through a series of bends - as I did on a closed circuit - and it's almost impossible to unstick unless you're a complete loon.

The amazing level of grip - on dry roads it has to be said - and the superb suspension give virtually perfect road holding and fill the driver with confidence.

This is a car that's poised and agile in every situation and able to pull out of bends with astonishing speed to make the most of the following straight.

It even has a good ride over rough country roads at speed - something which few such out and out sporting cars can manage.

The Classic I drove comes with stability control, central locking and an alarm, as well as air condition, cruise and rear parking sensors with a camera.

It has sat nav and loads of airbags, but a DAB radio is extra.

The electric hood retracts in two phases, first allowing a wide sunroof-type space and then going down completely.

However, this takes a leisurely 18 seconds and, when down, it restricts rearward vision more than most drop tops.

The rear seats still have no legroom at all if there's a tall driver, so at best this is a three seater for most people. The boot is also pretty small.

FAST FACTS

Price:£24,430

Mechanical:192bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:143mph

0-62mph:7.2 seconds

Combined MPG:40.9

Insurance Group: 30

C02 emissions: 145g/km

Bik rating: 31%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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