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2015 MINI Convertible

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2015 MINI Convertible Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

About the only way to make a Mini Cooper more fun is to let the wind in your hair. Which is precisely the point of the 2015 Mini Cooper Convertible. While the Mini Convertible doesn't share the new underpinnings of the new Cooper 2- and 4-door, the Mini Cooper Convertible is still a blast to drive. It retains the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine of that model, but adds a 3-mode quick-acting top to let the sunshine in. If you only want a little outside weather, the top has an in-between mode, partly opening like a giant sunroof, a neat feature that's unique to the class. Prices range from about $26,000 to well over $36,000 for the powerful John Cooper Works edition.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a relatively inexpensive convertible with a flexible top, seating for four people and a zippy, fun-to-drive attitude, this could just be the perfect car. Endless customization options mean you'll never need to see yourself coming and going in an identical Mini convertible.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Of course, if you want to carry four people in comfort, there are better options out there. Same goes for needing usable trunk space. And while the base prices on the Mini Cooper Convertible aren't very high, options add up quickly when you delve into the many customizations offered.

What's New for 2015

Not many changes are in the works for the 2015 Mini Cooper Convertible. Halogen fog lights are gone, replaced with LED fog lights and daytime running lights. The dial color on all models has also been changed to Anthracite (that's dark gray to you and me).

Driving the Convertible
Driving Impressions

Take one look at the 2015 Mini Cooper Convertible, and you'll think, "I'll bet that's fun to drive." The best thing about the Mini Convertible is that it makes good...

... on that promise by being laugh-out-loud fun behind the wheel. The sporty suspension, sharp steering and zippy engines all conspire to make this one of the best times you'll have behind the wheel. That goes double for the Mini Cooper S Convertible, with its turbocharged engine, and triple for the John Cooper Works model, with its even more powerful engine and stiffer suspension. It's nimble in corners, yet it doesn't feel particularly nervous when just cruising around town with the top down. For maximum driving enjoyment, we suggest the excellent 6-speed manual transmission; it's easy to shift, and in the low-powered base models you'll be glad you can draw on as much juice as you can.

3-MODE CONVERTIBLE TOP
The Mini Convertible offers a fully retracing power soft top for your open-air needs. However, if you want the sunshine without the wind-ruffled hair, the top also partly retracts like a giant sunroof, allowing all the UV you could want, while keeping your 'do done.

FUEL ECONOMY/FUN FACTOR
The Mini Convertible abolishes the notion that big fun comes with small fuel economy. Manual-transmission base models get up to 34 mpg on the highway, but the real surprise is that the more powerful S and John Cooper Works models both offer up to 35 mpg on the highway.

2015 MINI Convertible Details
Interior

The 2015 Mini Convertible's interior navigates a unique path between modern and retro. On one hand you have modern touches, like a navigation system, high-end audio options, comfortable seats, and power everything. But the style is distinctly yesteryear. The navigation screen – or speedometer, if you don't have navi – is huge and mounted in the middle of the dash. All switches are metallic toggles, and even the digital readouts have a retro feel to them. The front seats are plenty comfortable for all but the tallest NBA players, but the rear seats are more like upholstered package shelves.

Exterior

This is one convertible that arguably looks better than its hardtop cousin. The Mini’s low, squat profile remains, along with the playfully googly-eyed headlights and judicious use of chrome accents. With the top up, there are some pretty terrible blind spots in the rear, although we do like the heated rear glass. One nifty thing about the top is its ability to be partially open; the canvas slides backward along the roof rails, opening up like a sunroof if you don't want the full wind-in-the-hair experience. The turbocharged S and JCW models have an air intake on the hood, plus other touches.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base 2015 Mini Cooper Convertible comes with remote entry and trunk release, a climate-controlled glove box, 6-way front seats, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD Radio system with auxiliary input, Bluetooth wireless communication and 15-inch alloy wheels. The 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine comes with a 6-speed manual transmission. On the safety front, there are six airbags, 4-channel antilock brakes, and specialized systems to control traction and braking functions. Complimentary maintenance is included for three years or 36,000 miles, and roadside assistance is provided for four years/unlimited miles.

Optional Equipment

This is where it can start to get crazy. The options start with engines: You can upgrade to a 181-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 208-horsepower version in the John Cooper Works edition. An automatic transmission is available for all three engines, and you also have your choice of option packages like navigation, upgraded infotainment system, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, and a Dynamic Traction Control system with electronic differential lock. And that's before customization options, like contrasting colors for the outside mirrors and racing stripes, all of which add to the cost.

Under the Hood

Pop the hood on a 2015 Mini Cooper Convertible and you'll find one of three engines powering the front wheels. Base models get a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, while the Cooper S gets a turbocharged version with 181 horsepower. The John Cooper Works models get an even more powerful engine with 208 horsepower. All Mini Cooper Convertible models are available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The good news is that regardless of the engine you choose, you're getting a fuel-efficient vehicle, with even the turbocharged engines returning remarkably good fuel economy. The downside is that all Mini Cooper Convertible models, even the base ones, require premium fuel.

1.6-liter inline-4
121 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
114 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/34 mpg (manual), 26/34 mpg (automatic)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
181 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (manual), 25/34 mpg (automatic)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
208 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
192 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (manual), 25/34 mpg (automatic)

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