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2016 Mini Cooper Convertible Preview

2016 Mini Cooper Convertible Preview

By Christian Wardlaw, October 23, 2015

Fast Facts:

  • Redesigned, sharing platform and powertrains with Mini Cooper Hardtop
  • Convertible top lowers and raises in 18 seconds
  • New rain warning system using Mini Connected weather data
  • “Invisible roll bar” active protection system
  • More interior space and trunk room
  • Base Cooper and more powerful Cooper S trim levels
  • New safety, infotainment, and convenience technologies
  • On sale in March 2016

Mini wants to move its brand upscale and into a premium position in order to compete with smaller and less-expensive models from luxury automakers and is not coy about playing up its membership in the BMW Group or the new 2016 Mini Convertible’s basis upon BMW components.

Longer, wider, taller, and roomier than the outgoing model, the new Mini Convertible is designed to seat four people and is available in Cooper and Cooper S trim levels. It goes on sale in March 2016, just in time for summer driving fun.

Exterior Features
As has been true of every Mini since the brand was revived at the turn of the century, the new Convertible offers a high degree of individualization, inside and out.

To help a Mini Convertible stand out, the new drop top is offered in 11 exterior colors, including new Caribbean Aqua and Melting Silver. The Cooper Convertible comes with standard 15-in. aluminum wheels, while the Cooper S Convertible gets 16-in. wheels. Owners can customize the look of the car through mirror graphics, hood stripes, and optional wheel designs up to 18 inches in diameter.

The Mini Cooper Convertible is equipped with a fully automatic cloth soft top that the automaker says opens and closes in 18 seconds, including the windows. The top is also operational at vehicle speeds up to 18 mph. A sunroof option opens the roof above the front seats, and is available at any vehicle speed.

Equipped with an upright windshield design, the new Mini Cooper Convertible promises to retain the traditional, carefree, open-air driving feeling for which this car has long been known. An Always Open Timer tracks the number of hours the car is driven with the top down.

Interior Features
Personalization opportunities continue inside, Mini providing multiple choices in terms of seat upholstery, colors, and trims. New for 2016 is a diamond-stitched, Malt Brown leather selection.

Mini says the 2016 Cooper Convertible seats four people more comfortably than before, both due to seat redesigns and additional interior room. The 50/50-split rear seat folds for expanded utility, and an Easy Load function increases trunk space from 5.7 cu. ft. with the top down to 7.6 cu. ft. with the top raised. As before, the trunk lid is bottom-hinged, opening down and able to support up to 176 lbs., according to Mini.

Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control with a convertible operation mode, a Mini Connected infotainment system with a 6.5-in. display and a USB port, and a Mini Excitement package with ambient interior lighting and Mini logo projection onto the ground from the side mirrors.

Optional Features
In addition to the safety and technology upgrades discussed below, options for the 2016 Mini Convertible include full LED lighting with adaptive headlights, Chrome Line exterior detailing, heated front seats and side mirrors, wind deflector, keyless access, and a premium audio system.

Owners seeking a more expressive Mini Convertible can choose the available Union Jack convertible top with herringbone-pattern detailing, or select from a number of performance and cosmetic enhancements available through the John Cooper Works catalog.

Under the Hood
The Cooper Convertible has a direct-injection, turbocharged, 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine. It makes 134 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and 162 lb.-ft. of torque starting at just 1,250 rpm. Mini says that acceleration to 60 mph takes 8.3 seconds with the standard 6-speed manual gearbox. Opt for the 6-speed automatic and the car gets to that speed in 8.2 seconds, according to Mini.

A direct-injection, turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard in the Cooper S Convertible, paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed Sports automatic with paddle shifters. This engine generates 189 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 207 lb.-ft. of torque beginning at 1,250 rpm.

The Cooper S also has a tighter suspension and dual, center-exit exhaust outlets, along with cosmetic enhancements that give the car a unique look. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 6.8 seconds with the stick-shift, and 6.7 seconds with the automatic, according to Mini.

Mini Driving Modes technology provides Mid, Sport, and Green drivetrain calibrations. A “coasting” feature is included in Green mode when the car has an automatic transmission, and with that transmission the Mini Convertible can reference navigation map data to adjust gear selection and shift points based on that information. So if the car isn’t shifting the way you want or expect it to, blame that feature. Maybe.

Mini promises that the new Convertible will supply “typical Mini go-kart handling.” A sports suspension is optional to help make that even more of a reality, as is a Dynamic Damper Control system for the Cooper S.

Every 2016 Mini Convertible has an “invisible roll bar,” an active rollover-protection system that deploys to protect occupants in a rollover accident. A partially active hood design is also standard, maximizing pedestrian protection in the event the car strikes a person, Mini says.

A reversing camera is an option for the Mini Convertible, as is a Driving Assistant option package with adaptive cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning systems, a low-speed automatic braking system, and automatic high-beam headlights.

In addition to a head-up display and a Parking Assistant system that autonomously steers the Mini Convertible into a parallel parking space while the driver operates the pedals and the transmission, the new Mini Convertible is available with a Technology option package.

The Technology package includes a larger, 8.8-in. Mini Connected display screen with a navigation system and a wide range of connected services and applications. In addition to a new rain warning system that relies on weather-report data to text-message the driver with a recommendation that he or she raise the roof, new Mini Connected App features include online search, performance-related metrics, and a Streetwise function providing the driver with an optimum route to a destination.

Additional Research:

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