We recently sampled the MINI Cooper S Convertible in sunny California around the same time that we drove the epic BMW M2, and we came away pretty impressed with the little MINI’s fun-factor. Typically removing the roof of a coupe, especially one with such a small wheelbase, the chassis, handling and ride can be somewhat ruined by the loss of some structural rigidity. However, we found that the Cooper S ‘vert was still as fun and chuckable as its hardtop sibling. But are we the only ones that feel that way? Carfection recently sampled the drop-top MINI to find out how they felt.
In the video, Alex Goy remarks on how he doesn’t like coupes that have been turned to convertibles, as they tend to look odd. He feels the same way about this new MINI Cooper S Convertible. Typically, I’d agree with Goy, as removing the roof of a coupe tends to mess with the overall design. However, I have to disagree about the MINI, as it seems to look okay, actually. It still looks like a MINI Cooper, just sans roof. But he has lovely things to say about the rest of the car.
Goy likes the interior quite a bit, a hard thing to disagree with, as the MINI Cooper’s cabin is full of fun little design quirks and interesting buttons while also being full of rich materials. It’s a genuinely nice place to spend some time and it gives off an air of fun and excitement. The MINI Cooper excites before you even flip the starter switch. It does lose considerable trunk space, thanks to the folding roof, but it’s still enough for many 2 liters of coke.
But the most important part of testing this car is to make sure that MINI’s typical handling characteristics remain in tact. We felt that the did and that the ‘vert adds enough drama and excitement from the open-top experience that it makes up for its slight downgrade in performance. Goy tends to feel the same way, as he remarks how MINI’s usual handling dynamic and fun-to-drive feel remain, despite some worse performance figures and tiny bits of wobble through the chassis. He also notes that having the roof off does add to the experience, making it worth cutting the roof off.
However, at the end of the video, Goy still isn’t sold on the MINI Cooper S Convertible. He wants to like it, as it’s still fun to drive, has a great engine and gearbox and still has that MINI flavor. Although he can’t get over the coupe-to-convertible change. But he does say that this is a car that’s designed to suit a person’s lifestyle, not a car for someone to change their lifestyle for. And that makes sense, it’s a car for someone who lives in a convertible-friendly area and who has the means to own a, basically, two-seater convertible sports car. If that’s your lifestyle, than the MINI Cooper S Convertible is for you. If it isn’t, stick with the Hardtop.