Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • New Car Buyer's Guides
  • The 40+ MPG Cars of 2015
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • 10 Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs
Go

2012 MINI Convertible

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 MINI Convertible Review

By

The Mini brand has made a "maxi" impact on the small-car landscape since its re-launch - by BMW - some ten years ago, and the 2012 Mini continues with the same emphasis on pure fun to drive. The 2012 Mini Cooper offers clever engineering, quality of assembly, terrific performance, exceptional fuel economy and unprecedented personalization. Other manufacturers have tried to catch up, but Mini remains the target and has even bumped the bar higher by introducing a variety of models, including the Convertible, the Clubman, the Countryman and, just recently, the astonishing 2-seater Mini Coupe (reviewed separately).

You'll Like This Car If...

If you enjoy efficiency, expressive design and responsive handling, today's 2012 Mini Cooper is tailor-made for you. The handling seems almost go-kart quick, helped, in no small part, by a rigid structure. And, if you can tolerate a few stylistic eccentricities within its interior, you'll forge the kind of emotional bond with your Mini that hasn't been seen in the U.S. since the heyday of the Beetle. In its own idiosyncratic way, today's Mini is more than fun; it's functionally recreational.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Even in its stretched Clubman form the 2012 Mini Cooper does not provide an expansive interior. And, once inside, you note the seating position and roofline put you almost underneath adjacent vehicles. So, if you don't enjoy the cut-and-thrust of urban traffic, the Mini may not be your cup of English Tea. It's also not for the financially timid. Despite a reasonable base price, adding but a few of Mini's many options can quickly escalate the window sticker some $10,000! Finally, when introduced to the U.S., there was nothing in its competitive segment; today there are a growing number of legitimate competitors: The Fiat 500, Chevrolet Sonic(!), recently-announced Scion iQ and the always-desirable Volkswagen GTI.

What's New for 2012

Most changes for the 2012 Mini are related to customization. Mini Yours debuts, with emphasis on a "very premium and very exclusive" subset of options designed to provide even more personalization (and take even more of your budget). The end result is a little bit Mini - and a little bit of Scion.

Driving the Convertible

Driving Impressions With a rigid body structure (even the Mini Cooper Convertible is structurally solid), supple all-independent suspension and responsive powertrains, the 2012 Mini Cooper Hardtop, Convertible...

and Clubman can truly be ordered to suit your particular driving preferences. If your attitude toward driving is relatively passive, opt for the base engine and 6-speed auto; you can commute or shop with no chance of physical or emotional fatigue. Choose the Mini Cooper S or John Cooper Works version and every errand becomes a track day, with steering, braking and acceleration at heightened levels and your smile almost as wide as the car. Before upgrading suspension, wheels and/or tires, however, take a real look at your driving needs and driving environment; sometimes the quickest route across town isn't the most compliant.

Clubman Third Door
Within a wheelbase only three inches longer and an overall length only nine inches greater, the 2012 Mini Cooper Clubman stretches the minimalistic Hardtop into a passable alternative to real transportation. Making that expansive interior oh-so-easy to access is the third door mounted on the Clubman's right side, which makes entry into and egress out of the rear-seat area almost civilized. Brits, with their curbs on the opposite side of the road, are appropriately perplexed by the arrangement, but we find it a game-changer in the world of Mini motoring.

John Cooper Works Kit
Although John Cooper - the originator of the hot-rodded Mini - is no longer with us, his spirit lives within the guise of the John Cooper Works Mini Cooper S. The Tuning Kit - via a special air filter and reprogrammed engine management - increases the horsepower of the Cooper S by some 15 percent; also, chassis mods and lighter wheels improve the grip and handling response. The end result is a car completely appropriate to the track, while not so compromised that it can't be driven to work. You can add the John Cooper Works kit to the Convertible, Hardtop or Clubman.

2012 MINI Convertible Details
Interior

The 2012 Mini Cooper's retro looks extend to the interior, which is highlighted by a large center-mounted speedometer. The look is stylish, with toggle-type switches, contrasting colors, backlit armrests in the doors and handsomely-sewn seats. However, the dashboard layout may confuse owners coming from more contemporary cars, as the knobs and switches can be hard to access - and many of them look basically the same. The Mini Cooper Hardtop uses its limited space well. Front-seat passengers have plenty of head and legroom, but rear passengers may find legroom and shoulder room more than just a little constricted. For those more socially proactive, the Clubman - with its longer wheelbase and third door - makes a more credible argument for carrying passengers or things. And, while giving up a degree of utility, the Convertible is just the ticket for maximizing headroom. Like the exterior, the interior can be personalized, with a range of seat upholsteries, dash trim colors and trim accents in metal, wood or carbon fiber. The most significant update for 2012 is Mini Yours, offering an instrument panel covered in a smooth, two-tone leather, two-tone leather steering wheel and Mini Yours Soda Pattern Lounge Leather.

Exterior

Changes for 2012 included a revised front fascia with a larger lower grille and fog lights, new taillights and reverse lamps with optional rear fog lights. Mini Cooper S models also received functional brake ducts in the front grille. These mild mods were made to an architecture first introduced in the 2007 model year, when the Mini was once again enlarged. There are those critics that, while admitting the mechanical package is much improved, find the sheetmetal of 2007-and-later Minis slightly swollen relative to the original Second Coming, introduced to the U.S.as a 2002. The Mini Cooper Clubman has also received its share of criticism, with its odd (albeit functional) third door and split rear barn doors marked by a center post. The styling of the Mini Cooper Convertible is appropriately crisp, but when the top is raised the interior is almost cocoon-like and has significant blind spots that can be slightly troublesome while negotiating traffic. Like the interior, the exterior is fertile ground for customization.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Despite a higher base MSRP than many in the segment, the argument for purchasing a 2012 Mini Cooper is bolstered by a host of standard equipment. On the ground you enjoy the aesthetic and functional benefits of alloy wheels, while inside the seats adjust six ways (manually), the steering wheel offers three spokes and a leather covering and the engine is started by a start/stop button. Air conditioning, AM/FM/CD with six speakers, SiriusXM and HD Radio will provide you with programmed music, and the standard 6-speed gearbox allows you to shift gears the way you like.

Optional Equipment

According to the Mini website, there exist some 10 million combinations in building a 2012 Mini Cooper; we won't, of course, list all of them here. For convenience, many stand-alone options can be grouped together. The Technology Package combines a harman-kardon sound system with Rear Park Distance control, center armrest and Mini Connected. The Sport Package exterior mods include white turn signals, xenon headlamps, 17-inch conical-spoke alloys and black bonnet stripes, and also include a tauter suspension for even more aggressive driving. With a host of interior and exterior color combinations, along with wheels, rearview mirror caps and graphics, you can virtually dream it and they will build it.

Under the Hood

Having received a slight bump in power in 2011, both Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S powertrains remain unchanged for 2012. Both displace 1.6 liters; the Cooper is normally-aspirated while the Cooper S benefits from Mini's twin-scroll turbocharger. Thankfully, with minimal curb weight, the Cooper's 121 horsepower is responsive when connected to the 6-speed manual, and still enjoyable (0-60 mph acceleration in under ten seconds) when connected to the 6-speed auto. The excitement increases exponentially with the John Cooper Works option, with horsepower rising to 208 and torque boosted to 192 lb-ft. The 2012 Mini Cooper - in any of its iterations - is one of the most entertaining ways of saving gas on the American automotive market.

2012 Mini Cooper
1.6-liter in-line 4
121 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
114 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/37 (manual), 28/36 (automatic)

2012 Mini Cooper S
1.6-liter turbocharged in-line 4 turbocharged
181 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/35 (manual), 26/34 (automatic)

2012 John Cooper Works Mini
1.6 liter turbocharged in-line 4
208 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
192 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850-5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 (manual)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 MINI Convertible Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 358 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Love it! Fun to drive, great on gas !

By on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great on gas,quality car."

Cons: "Needs a better arm rest for me"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Enjoyed every minute of driving it. Took it all over the country, pulled on a trailer behind my motorhome.It took me everywhere the motorhome would not fit. Plenty of room for two passengers. Back nor really designed for adults. Hatchback has lots of room, I hauled small pieces of furniture and many large items that my wife found shopping and couldn't go home without! Really enjoyed owning it. Mini service is quality, no real problems. Love my MINI!!!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

The Mini is the most fun to drive....

By on Friday, May 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "dependable,cute,economical,xlnt handling"

Cons: "mini dealers are way pricey...."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car for my wife. It has been dependable and the most fun of any car I have ever owned. My other car is a Lexus es and I prefer driving the Mini (when my wife lets me) The best part is that people can't tell if it is brand new since the body hasn't changed much over the years."

Love My Mini!!

By on Thursday, April 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive; Great looking; Good gas mileage."

Cons: "Phone call issue; No other cons!!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Purchased a used 2010 Mini Cooper S Convertible from CarMax Duarte with under 20,000 miles. It has the premium, sports, and cold weather packages on it. The process was painless and fast. I have now had my Mini for just over a month and have been having fun with it. Its zippy, but is a rough ride - like a go-kart in a sense and when you hit certain part of the road, it can pull. But its fun and handles great on the road and curves. Love the lounge carbon black leather seats it came with. I know a lot of people don't like the gauges, but I think they're cute and what makes the style. If you're looking for a car with comfort, this isn't it because of its ride and its compact interior. My 2 kids sit comfortably in the back and so have I and my husband. Just not for long rides. It does have a noisy engine, so that takes getting used to, wondering if its normal or not. But I had mine inspected by the M Shop in Eagle Rock and they were fabulous - highly recommend them to all BMW and Mini owners. Overall, they said my car was in great shape. The only thing I was warned about was to keep track of the oil and check it monthly as these cars tend to lose oil quickly. I was also told there were always 3 main maintenance concerns for this vehicle, but not at this low mileage. So far I wouldn't trade it and am going to enjoy it. I went from a 2013 Ford Explorer to a Mini - big change, but don't miss it!! I'd been driving SUVs since 1999. If you're looking for sporty fun, this is it. The only issue I've encountered so far is that using the bluetooth is challenging when driving with the top down - people can't hear you, so you have to either talk after you put your top up or yell a lot! hahaha The other issue is the top squeals off and on when closing it - have tried getting that worked on, hope to get it fixed soon. Other than that - no complaints yet. But I will check in again in a few months or if anything changes!! For now - I'm going to have fun zipping around in my Mini!!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

2010 Mini Cooper Hardtop - Expensive to own

By on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Cute, fun to drive"

Cons: "Unreliable, expensive to own, can't wait to sell"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This car is a blast to drive. The look is much more fun than every other gray, "cookie cutter" car out there. However, the cost to maintain this car exceeds any car I've ever owned. There is a sensor on everything. I've never had a valve stem / sensor go out on a tire before. Common place with this car. You can also expect to go through tires and brakes before car is even paid for. Honestly, been the most unreliable car I've ever owned. If you must have one, I would recommend a lease."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Fun to drive but expensive to maintain

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Cost of maintenance & cheap plastic parts"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I can't say I've been overall pleased with my 2011 Mini Sport. Yes, it's fun to drive! But the drawbacks have been big. I've spent quite a bit in only 2 1/2 years that I've owned it on tires, brakes, problems with the fan and air conditioner,suspension, etc. Some of these things are normal wear and tear and need attention on any car, but some of them have been over the top for a 2011 and super expensive to fix. Also, cosmetic issues have been ridiculous! A PLASTIC stip on the front bumper broke off and it cost me $200 to replace, there are PLASTIC pieces in the interior of the car that are breaking including a piece of the door handle and the knob on the emergency break. The plastic circular piece that covers the outside front lights has a fake metal covering that is flaking and peeling off! I do not have small children and I am NOT hard on a car, so this is just ridiculous. I drove a Toyota Rav4 before the Mini and although it was nowhere near as much fun to drive, it cost me almost nothing to maintain and is still going strong with over 300,000 miles. I know 2 other people with older model Mini's who absolutely love their cars and have had NO problems. So maybe it's just the year of this Mini that is not as good, but I'm disappointed."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Perfect Inside

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,200

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, easy to park"

Cons: "missing front bumper"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The bumper was taken off by some local kids - they did this to several cars over the winter holiday. It does have a few dings on it from street parking, but other than that it was serviced this past weekend and only needs an oil change. The interior is in wonderful condition. A friend of mine wanted to purchase it but the timing has not worked."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?