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Mini Convertible 2020 review

Find out more about the MINI Convertible in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£9,931
Average price
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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Fun to drive
  • Cool looks
  • One of the most affordable convertibles

Cons

  • Limited practicality
  • Expensive optional extras
  • Poor rear visibility
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model review

When BMW reinvented the Mini in 2001, we don’t suspect even the people behind the car could anticipate what a hit it would become. This three-door Hatch has become one of the UK’s most popular new cars, and the key to its success has been various derivatives on offer – not least the Convertible

This drop-top combines all the funky and cool styling of the Hatch but with the added appeal of being able to drop the roof for extra thrills. The Convertible was first introduced on the first generation of the ‘new’ Mini back in 2004, before new versions arrived in 2008 and 2015 respectively. 

The latter was the most recent generation, which put a greater focus on technology and refinement, along with additional practicality. 

It’s worth noting that key to the success of the Convertible has been the huge number of derivatives on offer – from affordable petrol’s to efficient diesels and sporty John Cooper Works models. 

Latest model

While we’re still on the same generation of the Mini Convertible, Mini last updated the model at the start of 2018, at the same time as the three and five-door Hatches were revised. 

Key changes included new LED headlights at the front, along with distinctive Union Jack-inspired rear LED lights – these being the easiest way to tell this facelifted model apart from its predecessor. 

A host of new technologies were also introduced, including new connected services, anti-dazzle Matrix LED headlights and wireless smartphone charging. 

On a simpler note, new colours and leather options were introduced along with further Mini Yours services – something that allows you to customise your car from the factory. Engine revisions include a new 1.5-litre petrol unit on the One (it was previously a 1.2-litre), along with the addition of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The diesel Cooper D is no longer available on the facelifted car, either. 

Since this new car went on sale, there have been a pair of new special editions as well – including the 2020 Sidewalk Edition (limited to 150 units) and the 2018 25th Anniversary Edition, which marked a quarter of a century since the original Rover Mini was introduced. 

Value for money

Compare the Mini Convertible to the three-door Hatch, and it certainly doesn’t look like it represents the best value for money. With prices starting from £20,630, it’s more than £3,000 more expensive than the hard-top, which is quite a considerable chunk of money, especially as you’ll really want one of the mid-spec Sport or Exclusive versions, which are available from around £23,000. Optional extras are pricey, too. 

However, despite this, the Mini Convertible is one of the most affordable drop-top models around – in fact only the Fiat 500C is cheaper, though that isn’t a full convertible, as it just features a reclining fabric roof, with the pillars remaining in place; 

Looks and image

Arguably the key attraction to Mini Convertible is the way it looks. Given the regular Hatch is so appealing, it’s no surprise that lowering the roof only makes this model even better on the styling front. The superb range of personalisation options mean it’s easy to create a Convertible exactly as you want it, while this latest update with its cool LED rear lights that are fitted as standard has only improved the formula further. 

The flair of the exterior also continues in the cabin, which has a superb look and feel, and is light years ahead of that of the Fiat 500C’s. While the central display is no longer the speedo, rather housing the 6.5-inch touchscreen (or 8.8 inches if you choose the expensive £2,200 Navigation Plus Pack), it’s helped to keep this Mini up with modern tastes. The quality of the cabin is also excellent. 

Convertibles are never usually as good to drive as the models they’re based on, and that’s true here. That said, it’s still fantastic and fun to drive, with accurate steering, an involving chassis, great performance, and a convertible you can use every day – just as many owners do. 

Space and practicality

Despite Mini claiming this new Convertible is 25 per cent more practical than its predecessor, it’s not surprising that roominess isn’t this car's strong point. 

Its 215-litre boot could handle a small suitcase or shopping trip, but when the roof folds that number reduces to 165 litres. It’s a four-seater model too, and though there is more room in the back than other convertibles, the back seats are best kept for children or adults on smaller journeys. That said, the Hatchback isn’t particularly roomy in the first place, so none of this should come as a surprise. 

One practical point is that the electric roof folds in just 18 seconds and at speeds of up to 18mph – meaning if you get caught in a shower, you don’t have to come to a complete stop to put the roof up. 

Engines

Three petrol engines are available on the Mini Convertible – the Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works. All engines offer great performance, too, and are available with both a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. 

The entry-level engine is the Cooper, which uses a 1.5-litre unit producing 134bhp and 220Nm of torque. Despite being the slowest of the lot, it can still reach 60mph in 8.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 128mph. 

Move up to the Cooper S, and this uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine offering 189bhp and 280Nm of torque. This allows it to hit 60mph in seven seconds and reach a top speed of 143mph. 

At the top of the range, the John Cooper Works features a tuned 2.0-litre petrol engine, which produces 228bhp and 320Nm of torque. It can hit 60mph in just 6.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 150mph and is accompanied by a great soundtrack because of the sports exhaust. 

Running costs

While no engine is particularly efficient with the Mini Convertible, you should still expect low running costs. 

The Cooper is the one to go for the best efficiency – returning 45.6mpg, with CO2 emissions of 141g/km. If you’re looking at a Cooper S, expect it to return 41.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 153g/km, while the thirsty John Cooper Works will hit a claimed 38.7mpg, along with CO2 figures of 166g/km.

If you want top efficiency, it’s best rooting out a pre-facelift Cooper D model (sold until 2017). This features a 114bhp 1.5-litre unit, which Mini claimed would return 70mpg, with CO2 emissions of 105g/km. These are quite rare, though. 

Things to look out for

The Mini Convertible has a decent reliability record, with the only thing to note being that the brake pads tend to wear quite quickly, which is something to be aware of. As with any convertible, you should check the roof folds correctly. If it doesn’t, you should steer clear as these are notoriously expensive to fix. 

Rivals

Small convertibles are quite a niche market now, with perhaps the closest two rivals to this Mini being the Fiat 500C and now-discontinued DS 3 Cabriolet. If you don’t need rear seats, even occasionally, choose the two-seat Mazda MX-5 for driving pleasure. 

Other more sensible options to consider are the Audi A3 Cabriolet and BMW 2 Series Convertible, though both of these are more expensive than the Mini. 

Depreciation

With Minis continuing to be very desirable, used models tend to hold their value well. If you’re not fussed about the newest model, you can pick up used Convertibles from less than £2,000, and the latest-generation is available from around £9,000. Expect to save around £3,000 off a nearly-new model with around 5,000 miles on the clock. 

Which Convertible to Pick

Cheapest to buy when new

1.5 Cooper Classic 2dr

Most MPG

1.5 Cooper Classic 2dr

Fastest model (0-60)

2.0 John Cooper Works 2dr Auto

Trims Explained

Trims explained Mini’s trim levels work a bit differently to other manufacturers, with the models coming with a list of standard equipment, followed by separate styling and interior changes on certain trims. So standard equipment on the Mini Convertible includes LED headlights, Union Jack LED rear lights, emergency call service, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers. You also get a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and DAB radio, a trip computer and air conditioning.

Classic

Classic is the entry-level option, coming with a leather steering wheel and 15- or 16-inch alloy wheels, depending on trim.

From £20,630

Sport

For those wanting sporty looks without high running costs, this version is the one to go for. It benefits from a John Cooper Works styling kit, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, sports seats and steering wheel, a drive mode selector and cruise control.

From £23,430

Exclusive

This grade aims to offer something a bit more luxurious, and features 17-inch alloy wheels, a chrome styling pack, full leather upholstery, cruise control and additional stitching and design changes to give it a more upmarket feel.

From £23,160

John Cooper Works

At the top of the range is the hot John Cooper Works. Alongside its performance upgrades, which explain the steep jump in price, it also gains a black exterior package, 17-inch alloy wheels and a John Cooper Works bodykit. Other changes include a sportier braking system, red brake callipers, red door mirrors and a sports exhaust system.

From £29,760

Summary

  1. Fantastic styling
  2. Huge personalisation options
  3. Great fun to drive
  4. Four-seater convertible
  5. Limited boot space
  6. Choice of petrol engines
  7. Facelift introduced in 2018
  8. Holds its value well
  9. Pricey optional extras
  10. A fun, cool and practical drop-top

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