Slated to arrive in dealers right in time for the start of the 2016 convertible season, the latest Mini Convertible doesn't really shock. It takes the same basic look below the beltline, and pairs it to a power-folding softtop that does a much better job of maintaining the Hardtop's iconic silhouette. That said, the size of that "C-pillar," for lack of a better phrase, is immense. We doubt this new model will do anything to improve on the last Convertible's awful blind spots. Mechanically, the soft top can be raised or lowered in just 18 seconds and at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour.
Like the two generations of Convertible that came before it, this latest droptop uses the same engine lineup as the three-door model. For the standard Cooper, BMW/Mini's 1.5-liter, turbocharged triple is still offering up 134 horsepower, 162 pound-feet of torque, and a 0-60 time of 8.2 seconds with the automatic and 8.3 seconds with the manual. For the Cooper S, the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder dishes out 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, along with 0-60 times of between 6.7 and 6.8 seconds, depending on the transmission. Those gearboxes have also been plucked from the Hardtop models, with standard six-speed manuals and optional six-speed automatics, regardless of engine. Yep, that's right, the excellent eight-speed auto from the Mini Cooper S Clubman isn't being offered on the Cooper S Convertible.
We've got a huge array of photos of the new Mini Convertible, which puts a particular emphasis on the handsome, droptop-specific Caribbean Aqua of the base Cooper. Check out the photos, and then scroll below for the official press release from Mini.
Open Driving Excitement: Introducing the New MINI Convertible
Newest member of MINI lineup goes on sale in U.S. in March 2016
First open top MINI powered by BMW Group engine technology and architecture
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 22, 2015 – MINI USA introduced today the newest addition to its iconic product line, the new MINI Convertible. As the first open top MINI powered by BMW Group engines and architecture, the new MINI Convertible is a premium four-seater soft-top convertible that is both practical and customizable for unlimited open-air motoring fun.
Like all other MINI models in the product portfolio, the new MINI Convertible is made for individualization, setting the new standard in the premium convertible market. It offers a choice of 11 exterior color options, including the new Caribbean Aqua, which harkens back to the classic MINI color palette, ideal for the fun-loving enthusiast, and Melting Silver, recently introduced on the new MINI Clubman, a cool and modern finish perfect for the open air thrill seeker.
The customization carries over to the interior with a number of premium seating options available, including a new Malt Brown leather with diamond-stitching reminiscent of classic English Chesterfield sofas. Convertible enthusiasts looking for even more style can opt for the new MINI Yours soft-top featuring an embroidered Union Jack with herringbone patterned detailing.
"The new MINI Convertible has a great balance of playful personalization and sophistication. It's open-top driving without compromise," said David Duncan, vice president MINI of the Americas. "The bespoke levels of customization set it apart from other convertibles on the market, while the front wheel drive BMW architecture and engines make it fun-to-drive and practical in any driving conditions."
Powered by BMW Group-developed three- and four-cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology engines, the new MINI Convertible will come standard with an efficient six-speed manual transmission. With the three-cylinder Cooper version and four-cylinder Cooper S, the new MINI Convertible presents customers a choice of two powerful, highly efficient TwinPower Turbo engines developed by the BMW Group and built in Europe. In keeping with MINI tradition for authentic, driver-involving motoring, both the Cooper Convertible and Cooper S Convertible come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. Alternatively, the new MINI Convertible can be equipped with a smooth, quick-shifting 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.
This premium four-seater convertible has an emphasis on practicality, with an easy-load and load-through function that makes the cargo space both accessible and functional. The rigid frame and invisible roll bar enhance both the safety of the vehicle and also provide improved acoustics, allowing for more long-distance comfort and sporty driving dynamics. Drivers will also appreciate the unique multi-way top settings, including a sunroof option which enables the soft-top to open midway for just the right amount of sun and air.
The new MINI Convertible is equipped with an "Always Open Timer," providing convertible enthusiasts with the ability to calculate the number of hours they've driven with the top down. It will also come standard with the MINI Connected infotainment system including a 6.5-inch high-resolution screen. In addition, an optional larger 8.8-inch display includes naviation and a clever rain warning app, which notifies drivers of impending storms so they can prepare their vehicle for inclement weather.
The new MINI Convertible, available in both Cooper and Cooper S variants, will go on sale in March 2016 at MINI dealers across the U.S. Pricing will be announced in January.
About MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 124 MINI passenger car dealers in 39 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of six unique vehicles.
Journalist notes: Media information about MINI and its products is available to journalists on-line at www.miniusanews.com.