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MINI Cooper S Convertible

What is it?

The MINI Cooper S Convertible is one of the fastest, third-generation versions of the best-selling new MINI Convertible, a soft top offering plenty of thrills.

What’s hot?

  • That 189bhp 2.0-litre Twin Power Turbo engine, which despite the extra 105kg added for losing the roof, still has plenty of low down punch (280Nm of torque) and it sounds great. In fact, hood-down driving just amplifies the pops and bangs from the induction and wastegate. It is well-mated to the sharp and slick six-speed manual transmission too.
  • Despite the extra weight and keen performance, the MINI Cooper S Convertible won’t kill you at the pumps, with its 47.1mpg on the Combined consumption figure, or hit you for tax with its 139g/km CO2 emissions.
  • MINIs are known for the drive and the sharper chassis balance of the Cooper S Convertible will keep keener drivers entertained. The sharper drive means you can make the most of the linear, responsive steering and tight handling.
  • Considering the Cooper S has almost 190bhp, it’s a good thing MINI has worked on the Convertible bodyshell’s strengthening. The extra underbody struts fitted at the front and rear of the car almost eliminate scuttle shake. We were certainly impressed with how this soft top handled the worst the Portuguese test route could throw at us, with only the mildest noticeable shudder.
  • Like the F56 hatch, on which it’s based, the new MINI Convertible has grown. Key stats are that it is 98mm longer than the outgoing R57, 1mm taller and 44mm wider.
  • The new MINI Convertible’s larger footprint means an extra 35mm of rear knee room. Plus, there’s now no penalty for your MINI hatch losing its roof, as at 215 litres, the new convertible matches the hatch’s rear space.
  • Good news if rain stops play, that new hood seems less chunky when up and extra insulation means that even at speed, refinement is much improved. We like the MINI Yours Union Jack woven roof option, which is well executed and for patriotic fans, it seems worth the extra £350.
  • MINI has worked hard to improve the roof mechanism and we can report it is both smoother and quicker – just 18 seconds from start to finish! Plus, the roof can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 18mph. In addition, there’s still the same sunroof option, which opens the roof 40cm, for those owners that don’t want to fully drop their top.
  • The new hood tidies up the rear end of the Cooper S Convertible no end when folded. How? Well, we like the tidier way it concertinas behind the rear seat and into its space on top of the boot. Although, the gaps at the side still look a bit untidy in our opinion.
  • On top of the sleeker hood, the latest MINI Convertible looks better because of the lack of rear roll-over hoops. Now hidden behind the rear seats, in the event of a rollover they pop up to protect rear passengers.
The MINI Cooper S Convertible

Union Jack detail on head rests

  • One of the key MINI USPs is the level of personalisation you can get. To match demand, MINI is offering new Convertible models with a range of unique options. These include the already mentioned Union Jack roof, plus the Convertible also has two exclusive colours – Caribbean Aqua and Melting Silver. There’s also a Malt Brown version of the Chester leather first seen in the Clubman available for the inside.
  • In addition, you’ll also be able to specify any Convertible with the new and upgraded option packs, which were recently announced. These include the new MINI Tech Pack, priced at £2,250. Plus, the MINI Yours pack for £1,950. Or the improved Chili Pack at £3,200, which now includes LED headlights and foglights.
  • One clever feature that we think will appeal to British MINI Convertible buyers, considering the changeable weather, is the ‘rain warner’ function. Part of the optional MINI Connected XL navigation system, it will send the driver a text message if it’s parked up with the hood down and the forecast is bad, suggesting you might want to put the roof up. Should you be in the MINI heading towards a shower, the driver will be alerted by the centre screen.
  • The MINI Cooper S Convertible’s 139g/km emissions means it falls into the 22% company car tax band for 2015/16.

What’s not?

  • With all the options and option packs available, it’s easy to personalise a MINI to your own taste, but none are cheap and it’s easy to spend serious money – our test car was nearly £30,000!
  • The MINI Cooper S Convertible is a great handler, but the Convertible felt like it had a softer set-up than the hatch and as a result, it didn’t feel as dynamically sharp.
  • This generation of MINI Convertible might have more interior space, but in reality only children will be comfortable in the back on long journeys.
  • The hatch-rivalling boot space is welcome in the latest MINI Convertible, but with the flip-down boot access is tight – even when you raise the roof mechanism.
  • Rear visibility has never been a MINI Convertible strong point and it’s still fairly impossible to see out of the back with the hood folded. Thankfully, rear park distance sensors and now a rear camera are fitted as standard. In fact, we were impressed with the camera’s resolution which was particularly good.

The Verdict

If you’re after a fast convertible that probably offers the most fun to drive this side of the new MX-5, then the MINI Cooper S Convertible could be just what you’re after.  It might look slicker and be bigger, but really only two will be comfortable, plus boot access is still tight and rear visibility is still very compromised.

If you can live with these points, considering the performance we still think it’s an affordable to run business choice, although the most cost-effective best will be the 100g/km and 18% tax band Cooper D.

On top of the performance and driving appeal, even this range-topping Cooper S Convertible should be affordable to run on the business with it available for around £300 per month on a business car lease.

MINI Cooper S  Convertible

The Low Down…..

 

Doors and body style three-door Convertible
Engine/gearbox: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol turbo/Six-speed manual
CO2 Emissions:  139g/km
Economy:  47.1mpg
Power/torque:  189BHP/280Nm
0-62mph/top speed:   7.2secs/ 143mph
Insurance group:  29

…..and what it costs

 

P11D Value £ 22,385
Monthly business rental (ex VAT) From £311 (3yrs/30,000 miles)
Road tax (VED) E
Company Car Tax Bands 2016/17 to 2018/19  24%, 26%, 28%
Benefit in kind 2016/17 to 2018/19  £5,372, £5,820, £6,268
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%)  £1,066/£89
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%) £2,131/£178
Annual/monthly company car tax (20%) £1,074/£90
Annual/monthly company car tax (40%) £2,149/£179
Figures correct at time of posting  August 2016
For latest figures Use our company car tax calculator
The MINI Cooper S Convertible

The new MINI Cooper S Convertible has a neater rear end

 



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