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2018 Mini Cooper S Convertible performance review

By Chris Thompson, 18 Oct 2018 Reviews

2018 Mini Cooper S Convertible review

Less sensible than the hatch, but also more sensory

If the cars seen on the road from day to day are any indication, there aren’t too many Mini Cooper S Convertibles getting around. And that isn’t necessarily a surprise.

Having driven the updated Cooper S Convertible for a week immediately after having done the same in a three-door Cooper S hatch, there are only two clear reasons to take the drop-top over the hatch.

The first is that you really like having the wind in your hair, and putting the windows down isn’t enough. The second is to have a really good listen to the Cooper S’s frankly delightful turbo flutter.

While the interior has the same premium feel and the exterior isn’t too far removed (if you spec it correctly, all black works well), aside from a somewhat tacky ‘silver chrome’ strip around the join between body and soft-top, the convertible doesn’t feel as well-put-together as the hatch.

It makes small but regular noticeable plastic ‘creaking’ noises as the roof components settle and shift against each other when closed, even on a straight highway.

You’ve still got the same excellent 141kW/300Nm turbo four and a smooth seven-speed dual-clutch keeping the revs exactly where you want them, but the convertible’s chassis feels noticeably less composed and can’t keep up with hard driving like its roofed counterpart.

Thanks to an additional 100kg over the three-door hatch the Convertible also loses four tenths in the race to 100km/h, the topless 1295kg variant taking 7.1 seconds.

Due to that extra weight and lower body rigidity, it becomes harder to trust the car through sharp bends as its movements are less predictable.

The Cooper S Convertible redeems itself on a nice day with the roof down, driving through scenic countryside or gently winding mountain roads. If not pushed too hard, the Cooper S Convertible is just enough fun to warrant the lack of roof, in part thanks to that playful soundtrack.

When you consider its $47,900 asking price – $5200 more than if it had a roof – it’s not an enormous jump. However, it is closing in on $50,000, and that kind of money gives you a lot of options for much more capable hatches.

You’d buy the Convertible Cooper S only if you really can’t stomach having a solid roof. Otherwise, it might even be worth saving an extra $10K and opting for the JCW Convertible.

Putting those claims to the test on MOTOR review 

 1998cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Power: 141kW @ 5000-6000rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1250rpm
0-100km/h: 7.1sec (claimed)
Weight: 1295kg
Price: $47,900