MINI Convertible

Cooper S Exclusive

MINI Convertible, 2023, front, action
MINI Convertible, 2023, front, action
MINI Convertible, 2023, side
MINI Convertible, 2023, rear, action
MINI Convertible, 2023, cabin
MINI Convertible, 2023, interior
MINI Convertible, 2023, rear
MINI Convertible, 2023, boot

IT may now be in its third generation but the current MINI Convertible simply guarantees miles of smiles.

It's the biggest and most spacious model ever but, more importantly, it is still fabulous to drive - especially with the roof down. My 81-year-old mother had never been in a drop-top, but we covered more than 100 miles with the roof down and she loved it.

No problem getting in or out either.

The MINI Convertible comes in three versions - Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works. The Cooper S uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing an ample 176bhp. It comes with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes.

As for trims, there's Classic or Exclusive guises plus a special edition Resolute model. As well as choosing your model, there are a variety of option packs designed to tempt you to open the wallet a little further.

As standard, the Cooper S Convertible comes with an ‘Exclusive Pack' and a ‘Convertible Pack'. The car I was driving also featured a £1,750 Premium Plus Pack with 20 extras including a rear view camera, front heated seats, cruise control, automatic air conditioning, front and rear parking sensors and a top-notch Harman Kardon surround sound music system.

There's also an automatic parking function, wireless phone charging system and a Driving Mode system that lets you choose between fairly self-explanatory Sport, Mid and Green settings.

As it's bigger than before, there's plenty of room for two upfront. In the back, there's not, though we did manage to squeeze my 6ft nephew in behind my shrinking old dear.

The driver's seat is comfortable and there's a decent range of adjustment, though the lever that alters the angle of the backrest takes some getting used to.

MINIs are not exactly cheap runabouts anymore, and, as hinted at above, the interior of the latest is properly premium. Nearly everything you touch is designed to feel high-end, while the dominating 8.8-inch infotainment screen works really well. This comes with Bluetooth, a DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, and a USB socket.

If you don't like screens, it can be operated using a rotary controller by the gearlever. There's also several toggle switches for important functions such as aircon.

Obviously, the boot space takes a hit with the roof down, dropping from 215 litres to 150 litres, however. if you do need some more boot spaceyou can split the rear seatbacks 50/50 and fold them down.

The most important thing of all, is that, despite some extra weight from the strengthening needed to reinforce the convertible version, the MINI is still an absolute hoot to drive. It's lost none of its special ‘go kart' feeling, which in the Cooper S, is aided by its clever electronic slip differential.

It has well-weighted steering, a precise, grippy chassis, slick automatic gear changes - flappy paddles are also available for some manual input - and it is remarkably agile around corners, especially it you put it in Sport mode. Which you will want to. A lot. This comes with added Rice Krispies, plenty of snap, crackle and pop.

It's nice and easy around town and, despite a slightly firm suspension, a good motorway cruiser. Much quieter than you'd imagine too. Do choose the no cost wind deflector option if you want to drive with the roof down and receive less buffeting. Easily removable, it's remarkably adept at what it does.


MINI Convertible Cooper S Exclusive


Mechanical:178bhp, 1,998cc, four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission

Max Speed:143 mph

0-62mph: 7.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 45.6

Insurance Group:31

C02 emissions:143g/km

Bik rating:33%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles


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