Mini Convertible review

Category: Convertible

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Mini Convertible 2021 RHD right panning
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RRP £21,305What Car? Target Price from£20,485
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Mini Convertible offers a choice of three petrol engines. The cheapest of these is our pick; the 1.5-litre in the Cooper is one of the finest three-cylinder engines on the market. It’s very smooth, and its turbocharger helps it to pull with gusto from low revs, so it's all you need.

For those who want more oomph, there are a couple of 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines. The 176bhp Cooper S can do 0-62mph in a fraction over seven seconds, while the John Cooper Works (JCW) version delivers proper hot hatch performance with 228bhp and a 0-62mph time of 6.6sec. The latter makes a pretty invigorating sound, too, especially if you flick the car into Sport mode to unleash a few bangs and pops from the exhaust. Both engines are extremely flexible, so you can be fairly lazy with your gearchanges and still make rapid progress.

You do need to be quite precise with the manual gearbox, though – it can be a bit obstructive if you try to rush your shifts. If you fancy a more of a laid-back approach, the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic 'box is generally smooth in auto mode and reacts quickly to manually induced changes when you pull paddles behind the steering wheel.

The Mini Convertible weighs around 90kg more than its hatchback sibling and has no solid roof to help keep its structure rigid. This has a noticeable impact on ride quality: although things are reasonably settled on smoother roads, broken surfaces give rise to seat tremors, steering wheel wobble and pronounced levels of body shudder that can become uncouth. The electric Fiat 500 Cabrio is more comfortable, as is the Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet.

Enthusiastic drivers might find the Mini's very quick steering more of a hindrance than a help; it’s inconsistently weighted and makes the car feel slightly nervous at speed. Push hard through a corner and the front tyres will begin to relinquish their grip on the road earlier than you might expect, too, although still there's fun to be had. 

With the roof down, but the windows and optional wind deflector up, the Mini does a surprisingly good job of isolating those in the front seats from wind bluster. True, there's some road noise with the hood up, but overall you'll hear less unwanted noise than in a 500 Cabrio or T-Roc Convertible.

Mini Convertible 2021 RHD right panning

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