2016 MINI Convertible Launch Review

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2016 MINI Convertible Road Test and Review.

The new MINI Convertible is just landing in Australian MINI dealerships after its official Australian launch this week.

Behind the Wheel got along to that launch and got to test drive the new model on the roads around the ACT and NSW South Coast.

Priced from $37,900, the new 2016 MINI Convertible is being offered in two specification levels – Cooper and Cooper S. An even sportier John Cooper Works variant will land in Australia later in the year.

2016 MINI Convertible Launch ReviewI had a drive of both the Cooper and Cooper S and my feeling is that the extra power and torque of the sportier model is the way to go, especially with the manual transmission.

Both versions come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, though a six-speed manual transmission is a no-cost option. The MINI Cooper S boasts paddle shifters in the auto version.

While the MINI Cooper and it’s 1.5 litre engine provided adequate get up and go (100kW/220Nm), the longer legs and more enthusiasm shown by the 2.0 litre 141kW/280Nm engine made it a more enjoyable drive.

And really, isn’t fun what the MINI Convertible is all about?

Both versions come with three different drive modes, I found the biggest difference, for example, was that the ‘Sports’ mode really offered a tighter steering and suspension feel.

On the road the MINI Convertible is an easy and generally quite pleasant vehicle to drive.

Smooth auto transmission, relatively forgiving ride and MINI handling and grip are the stand-outs. All the cars I drove on the Australian launch had the larger optional alloy wheels and this meant lower profile tyres and a bit harsher ride.

This firm ride translates through the cabin through the odd rattle and shake, especially around the ‘free-standing’ windscreen. Other than this MINI has created a quite stiff and reassuring chassis and the MINI Convertible doesn’t really feel any less solid than the regular coupe.

MINI tell us this generation of the convertible variant is larger than the previous model and that this translates directly to the cabin.

If there are only two adults on-board then there is a huge amount of legroom, having enough space for rear seat passengers though does make things more intimate (it is a MINI after all).

The seats in the Cooper are for more comfortable than those found in the sportier Cooper S.

Everything fits reasonably well and the cabin design is generally user-friendly. Something that does take some getting used to is the door handles; you sort of have to put your hands around the handle to get out.

While when the roof is either up or down rear visibility is anything but great. Fortunately, a reverse camera is standard, as are rear parking sensors.

2016 MINI Convertible Launch ReviewSpeaking of the roof, you can erect or fold down the roof at speeds up to 30km/h at the push of a button, one thing I also like about the roof is you can simply open the top section, giving you quite a large sunroof, without having the whole roof folded away.

Luggage space, while slightly larger than the old model, is pretty much limited to a couple of small suitcases.

Summing it up; the new 2016 MINI Convertible is a fun, well put together little thing. It offers much better value for money over previous generation models and is the ideal weekend getaway car for a couple without kids.

Efficient, safe, visually appealing, if a MINI Convertible catches your heart then I really can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t get one…especially the Cooper S!

NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 MINI Convertible

Engine: 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol producing 100kW/220Nm or 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol producing 141kW/280Nm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual

Safety: Not tested

Warranty: Three years

Origin: Netherlands

Price: Cooper from $37,900 and Cooper S from $45,400

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