The newest generation Mini will spawn its first open-air model which debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show. Sharing its design and mechanical bits with the Mini Hardtop, the 2016 Mini Cooper and Cooper S Convertibles will hit showrooms in the U.S. next March. These latest open-top family members meld BMW platform and powertrain engineering with Mini's youthful character and signature personalization potential.

Although the new Mini Cooper Convertible and hotter Cooper S embody the same basic visual cues as the Hardtops, they introduce a new color to the exterior palette: Caribbean Aqua Metallic. Each Convertible is crowned with a new power-activated soft top that can be raised or lowered in just 18 seconds while the car is being driven at speeds of up to 18 mph. This trick, one-touch fully-lined lid folds into a tidy stack and also has a sliding-roof function that opens the forward section by up to 15 inches to create a de facto sunroof. The top also incorporates a heated glass backlight. For those seeking something more than the standard basic black color, Mini Yours offers an optional top with a Union Jack design woven into the fabric. And all 2016 Mini Convertibles come with an upgraded version of the Always Open Timer. In addition to displaying the cumulative total of top-down driving time since mile one on the center screen, the system has adds a resettable function that operates like a trip odometer. 

More accommodating cabin 

With seats for four, the passenger compartment of the new Mini Convertible offers more people space than before, although the aft perches do remain fairly modest. Trunk capacity has risen by 25 percent compared to the previous Mini cabrio and is further bolstered by a 50/50 split-folding rear seatback. However, the 7.6 cu ft basic capacity dips to 5.7 cu ft when the top is down, so it will still pay to travel light. As before, the tailgate opens downward to facilitate loading and can now support up to 176 pounds. 

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The Convertible's interior design and trim treatments closely align with those of the Hardtop, as do its key standard equipment including a multifunction steering wheel, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, USB/AUX inputs, the Mini Excitement Package and a Mini Connected infotainment system with a 6.5-inch screen. Optional navigations comes with a larger 8.8-inch display. The Navi option includes a nifty rain-warning app that apprises the driver of impending storms. In addition to an available Head-Up Display, Harman-Kardon premium sound system and personalization options, the Convertibles will offer premium Chesterfield leather upholstery introduced on the new 2016 Mini Clubman in an exclusive new Malt Brown color. 

Stronger, safer and smarter  

In addition to a stiffer structure, the new Mini Convertible features a reinforced A-pillar as well as a pair of pop-up hoops behind the rear seats that can deploy within 150 milliseconds when sensors indicate a rollover. Like the Hardtop, it also complements a lengthy roster of standard safety items with an available Driving Assistant system that includes collision/pedestrian warning with auto-brake, camera-based cruise control/distance control, high-beam assistant and road sign detection for speed limits. At launch, the 2016 Mini Convertible will be available in Cooper and Cooper S models. The Cooper variant is fitted with the 134-horspower/1.5-liter 3-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine that drives the front wheels through either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed Steptronic automatic. The Cooper S comes with a 189-horse/2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder paired with either a manual or Sportmatic gearbox, the latter with shift paddles. Both engines feature efficiency-enhancing start/stop systems.  

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The Cooper and Cooper S cabrios come with the Mini Driving Modes selector and offer tauter sport suspension upgrades as well as the available Dynamic Damper Control with its driver-selectable Comfort/Sport settings. Pricing for the 2016 Mini Cooper and Cooper S Convertibles will be announced closer to the on-sale date. While Mini has yet to confirm, we anticipate the new Convertible will follow in the Hardtop's tracks and complement the selection of JCW accessories with a full John Cooper Works version.

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