Mini Convertible (2016-present)

The latest Mini Convertible is fun to drive, with plenty of hi-tech options

Strengths & Weaknesses


Fun to drive
Feels well-built
Good fuel economy


Impractical with small boot
Firm ride
Expensive options list

The Mini Convertible isn't just for the summer. When the fun stops and you’re stuck in a traffic jam on a rainy November morning, it still has enough charm to justify its fabric roof.

Little wonder, then, that this open-top version of the Mini Hatchback is the best-selling convertible in Britain.

In fact, it's got the market sewn up. You could choose the DS3 Cabriolet, but its hood is more like an extended sunroof than a proper convertible drop-too. The same goes for the Fiat 500C, which is also smaller. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the BMW 2 series convertible, Audi TT Roadster and Audi A3 cabriolet, which are larger and more expensive.

The Mini Convertible starts at just under £20,000 as a new car, although most buyers spend at least £1,500 more on optional extras. It was only launched last year, but you can already find used cars from around £16,500. If having the latest car isn't essential, then the previous-generation Mini Convertible - sold until this model arrived in early 2016 - has just as much character but costs from around £8,000.

Chopping the roof off a car tends to affect the way it drives but the Mini Convertible still feels tightly screwed together. This particularly helps in corners where the car is responsive, with something of the go-kart feel that Mini shouts about. It's fun to drive, with a snappy manual gearbox: you'll get the biggest smiles for your money with the more powerful engine in the Cooper S version.

Most versions ride smoothly but you may find the fastest and most powerful John Cooper Works model is too firm for comfort, as it crashes into bumps and potholes.

The fully electric roof can be lowered or raised in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 18mph, simply by flicking a toggle switch. Alternatively, you can use it as a big sunroof, retracting the fabric by up to 40cm over the front seats. If it’s about to start raining and you have the roof open, the car will warn you (this also works via smartphone if you are away from it). However, this feature requires an upgraded dashboard screen, another of the many ways Mini offers to increase the car’s price (others include a range of personalisation options).

Unsurprisingly, the Mini Convertible isn't the most car. Although the rear seats are considerably more spacious than in the previous-generation Convertible - adults can actually fit in them now – they aren't comfortable for journeys of any length.

It’s a better car when there are no more than two of you on board because you can then fit the optional wind deflector that lies over the back seats and which reduces the breeze inside. It's included in the Convertible Pack, which is recommended because it also adds heated seats that make open-top motoring more comfortable in cold weather.

The boot is also pretty small, with just 160 litres when the roof is down, and only increases to 215 litres when the roof is in place (the Audi A3 Cabriolet has 320 litres, in comparison: even the Fiat 500C has 182 litres). Buyers will struggle to get more than a couple of overnight/weekend bags in it, while a weekly family shop is also going to be a challenge.

But the Mini Convertible is a car built for fun, rather than practicality, and on this measure it succeeds. It's enjoyable to drive, not too expensive to run, and has the modern Mini style, all of which add up to a car worth considering if you’re in the market for a drop-top.

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Last Updated 

Monday, June 26, 2017 - 15:45

Key facts 

3 years / unlimited mileage
Boot size: 
160 litres (roof down) 215 litres (roof up)
Tax (min to max): 
£120 to £500 in first year, £140 thereafter / Pre-April 2017 cars: Free to £190

Best Mini Convertible for... 

Mini Cooper D Convertible
The Mini Cooper D Convertible is, as you’d expect from the only diesel-powered car in the model line-up, the most economical, with a 74.3mpg official fuel consumption figure. In normal driving, you can expect around 50mpg.
Mini Cooper Convertible
The Mini Convertible isn’t exactly the ideal family car, as space in the rear is limited. However, the Cooper’s blend of performance and economy is the best of the bunch.
Mini John Cooper Works Convertible
The high-performance version of the Mini Convertible is a quick and sporty, accelerating from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds, which is enough to ruffle your hair, even with the roof up.

Mini Convertible History 

  • March 2016 Mini Convertible goes on sale in Britain
  • April 2016 The high-performance John Cooper Works Convertible is added to the range
  • July 2017 An alertness assistant (which detects when the driver's getting tired) is added to Mini Convertibles.

Understanding Mini Convertible car names 

  • Convertible
  • Trim level / engine
    Cooper S
  • Trim level / engine
    There are four variants of the Mini Convertible, each with different engine and equipment options. The petrol Cooper and diesel Cooper D share equipment levels. More expensive Cooper S and John Cooper Works versions have more power and equipment.

Mini Convertible Engines 

Petrol: Cooper, Cooper S, John Cooper Works
Diesel: Cooper D

The Mini Convertible uses the same range of new engines used in the current generation of Mini Hatchback.

That means the Mini Cooper Convertible is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine, with 136 horsepower (hp), which can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 8.8 seconds. It feels zippy, particularly with the roof down and the wind in your hair. The open-top mode also makes the car sound sportier because the engine, which is made up of three cylinders, produces a characterful burble from the exhaust when you accelerate. Official fuel economy is 55.4mpg, but you're more likely to average 42mpg, according to figures from the Equa Index, which is based on real-world testing of the car. That discrepancy is fairly small by the standards of some new cars.

The economy champion of the range is the diesel-powered 116hp Mini Cooper D. This doesn't come close to matching its official 74.3mpg figure - you'll get closer to 50mpg in normal driving, according to the Equa Index. It's still the most frugal car, and feels quick too, thanks to the boost of power that it delivers without needing to be revved too hard. However, the difference in fuel economy between it and the more powerful, better-sounding Cooper, won't be enough to persuade many buyers to opt for diesel.

The 192hp Cooper S offers rapid performance if that's what you're looking for. It sounds – and feels – a lot sportier than the Cooper when the accelerator is prodded. Economy suffers, as you’d imagine. You can expect 36mpg - around 12mpg short of the official 48.7mpg figure.

The John Cooper Works Convertible is a hot hatchback without the fixed roof. The 0-62mph sprint takes a speedy 6.6 seconds, thanks to the car's 231hp engine. Its sports car feel has been achieved by making the suspension even firmer, which will be a compromise too far for many drivers who don't want to be bumped about on every journey.


Fuel economy


Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

Mini Cooper






Mini Cooper D






Mini Cooper S






Mini John Cooper Works






Mini Convertible Trims 

Cooper, Cooper D, Cooper S, John Cooper Works

Mini doesn't offer a separate trim level and engine: they are both rolled up into the same package, so the Cooper models have the least powerful engines, as well as the most basic amount of equipment as standard.

On top of these, you can buy packs containing plenty of useful equipment. Most manufacturers offer these, but Mini is extremely successful at selling them to new buyers, with the Pepper Pack and Chili Pack, being the most popular. They are sought after by used buyers too. There's more information about the packs at the bottom of this section.

Standard equipment in the entry-level Cooper and Cooper D cars has been tailored to the Mini Convertible, so you have a rear view camera and parking sensors, as there's a limited view out of the back with the roof up or down.

The cars also come with 15in alloy wheels, central locking (with keyless engine start) and a height-adjustable driver's seat. Every car comes with a colour dashboard screen that's called the Mini Visual Boost Radio. This includes Aux and USB sockets, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth for connecting your smartphone wirelessly.

Cooper S versions add 17in alloy wheels, sport seats and a sport steering wheel, plus a distinctive set of modifications at the front, including a bonnet air scoop and aggressive-looking air intakes underneath the number plate.

At the top of the range, John Cooper Works editions add exclusive 17 or 18in alloy wheels, firmer sport suspension, bright LED headlights, cruise control, a choice of driving modes that make the car feel a little sportier or (slightly) more comfortable, a leather sport steering wheel with multifunction controls and height adjustment for the passenger seat.

But the standard specification is just the start fort a Mini. Customers tend to choose one of the extra equipment packs, with the Chili Pack proving extremely popular. It includes climate control air conditioning, mood lighting, automatic windscreen wipers and headlights, part leather seats and unique alloy wheel designs. Different driving modes, which adjust the weight of the steering and the response of the accelerator, are included too.

The pack is more expensive for lower-specification cars (up to £3,200) because it includes some equipment that's standard on more expensive models, such as sports seats, bright LED headlights and a sport leather steering wheel.

The Pepper pack costs £1,340 for Cooper and Cooper D models. It brings 16in alloy wheels, a sport leather steering wheel, passenger seat height adjustment, mood lighting, climate control and floor mats.

For around £1,500, the Media Pack brings enhanced Bluetooth, with better hands-free call quality, sat-nav and a larger 8.8in dashboard screen, along with Mini Connected XL, can warn you if it's about to start raining the roof is down. It'll warn you via smartphone if you're out of the car. 

Less expensive, but no less useful, is the £650 Mini Convertible Pack with heated seats, for open top motoring in winter, and a wind deflector that fits over the rear seats to reduce buffeting in the front.

Mini Convertible Reliability and warranty 

The Mini Convertible has above average reliability, according to the latest Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. Owners rated the car - and the Mini Hatchback - highly, and it scored 93%, which put it 25 out of the 75 cars that were ranked.

This generation of the car has only been on sale for just over a year, so we've yet to see its reliability in the longer term. If you buy a car now, you have some reassurance that the Mini warranty covers new cars for three years, with unlimited mileage, although this is only average in the industry.

Used Mini Convertible 

The oldest used models available are only a year old, but they represent excellent value, compared with a new car. You can pick up petrol and diesel models for under £17,500 - diesel cars in particular seem to have lost a large chunk of their value in the continuing confusion over future diesel charges to improve air quality, even though these cars are new enough that they are expected to avoid inner city emissions charges.

Cars with the Chili Pack are preferred by used car buyers, and so will cost up to £1,500 more than a car without the pack. And it's a similar story with the Pepper Pack, although the premium you'll pay is less than £1,000. 

The Mini Convertible was launched with a limited edition run of 150 cars called Open 150 Edition. These were based on the Cooper S car and came packed with equipment, including Chili and Media Packs, heated brown leather seats and 18in alloy wheels. The £30,000 price was expensive, but they could represent good value on the used market - as long as you can live with the most distinctive feature: the giant Union Flag sewn into the roof.

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