New MINI convertible hits the streetsPOSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 23 October 2015
MINI are justifiably proud of its latest offering — the all new MINI Convertible.
Major refinements include a striking new design and significant enhancements to make open-topped motoring even more dynamic, stylish and practical.
First launched in 2004, and revamped in 2009 it remains the only premium soft-top four-seater convertible in the small car segment.
Brand new features include a fully electric roof that is quieter and smoother than the previous model, a fully integrated rollover protection system and more rear space than ever before.
The all-new MINI Cooper Convertible and Cooper D Convertible are 3,821 mm long, with the MINI Cooper S Convertible 3,850 mm long. All models are 1,727 mm wide, 1,415 mm high and have a wheelbase of 2,495 mm.
Those dimensions have increased compared with the outgoing model, with 98 mm extra length, 44 mm extra width and 1 mm extra height. The wheelbase is 28 mm longer and track width has also grown a further 42 mm at the front and 34 mm at the rear.
The increase in dimensions has enhanced comfort levels and freedom of movement in all four seats. The two front seats have a wider range of adjustment, while rear passengers benefit from easier access, more headroom, a longer seat surface and improved lateral support. The design of the new rear more clearly defines the two individual seats.
The most important element of any convertible is its roof, and MINI has gone to great lengths to further improve the quality of this key component. Fully electric, the roof of the new MINI Convertible is suitable for year-round use and has been optimised for the very best heat and acoustic insulation.
Quieter than ever before, when opened it folds neatly behind the rear seats. The front roof section can also be retracted by up to 40 cm, and this can be carried out at any speed.
Safety is a critical consideration in open-topped cars and the new MINI Convertible includes new integrated rollover protection which extends automatically when required. Also improved is the optional wind deflector which can be locked into position behind the driver and front passenger seats so to provide protection from unwanted air turbulence during open-topped driving. After use it can be removed and stowed in the luggage compartment.
To ensure outstanding driving performance with exceptional efficiency, the latest generation of EU6-compliant engines are installed under the bonnet.
The petrol engines inside MINI Cooper Convertible and MINI Cooper S Convertible – 1.5-litre three-cylinder and 2.0-litre four-cylinder respectively – feature turbocharging, direct fuel injection with centrally positioned injectors, variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust side (double VANOS) and fully variable VALVETRONIC valve control technology. On the 1.5-litre diesel three-cylinder engine in the MINI Cooper D Convertible, there is turbocharging with variable intake geometry and common rail direct injection.
Power is directed to the front wheels, with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. Offering increased efficiency, optimised acoustic and vibration response and enhanced shift comfort, a gear sensor enables active engine speed adaptation for especially sporty shifting when accelerating and increased comfort when shifting down.
A six-speed Steptronic transmission is available as an option, also more efficient and refined than ever before. Steptronic sports transmission with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles can be specified on the MINI Cooper S Convertible. It offers reduced shift times, and features a Launch Control function for traction-optimised acceleration from a standing start. Both automatic variants have a transmission control system that is able to draw on navigation data to aid gear and shift-point selection.
The increase in wheelbase and track width over the outgoing model has provided an ideal starting point for the driving dynamics of the all-new MINI Convertible. The combination of single-joint strut front axle and multi-link rear axle – unique in the small car segment – and a convertible-specific set-up means the car is exceptionally agile but also supremely comfortable on all road surfaces. A sports suspension, which is geared towards even more dynamic driving, is available as an option on all models.
In addition to the ABS, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), cornering brake control (CBC), and the brake assistant, the standard-fit driving stability control system (DSC) also includes a drive-off assistant, a brake dry function, fading brake support and dynamic traction control (DTC). This latter system permits controlled slip for driving off in loose sand or snow.
Enhancing the driving stability control system (DSC), and active even when DSC is turned off, there is an electronic locking function for the front axle differential known as the electronic differential lock control (EDLC). This selectively brakes a spinning drive wheel on tight corners, redirecting torque to the other wheel. A standard feature in the MINI Cooper S Convertible, performance control supports agile steering for dynamic cornering prior to reaching the threshold level.
The agile, highly predictable and secure driving offered by the new MINI Convertible is due to its highly rigid body structure. The convertible-specific elements which increase stiffness include torsion struts in the front and rear area of the underbody, selective optimisation in the area of the side sills and a stiffening plate underneath the engine.
In addition, the new MINI Convertible is fitted with a rollover protection system with actuators connected to the car’s safety electronics. For the first time, the rollover protection elements are integrated and completely invisibly. As soon as the car detects the risk of a rollover, two protection bars made of high-strength aluminium retract within 150 milliseconds by means of a pyrotechnical trigger. Combined with the convertible-specific reinforced windscreen frame, this forms a stable survival space for vehicle occupants.
Additional standard safety features include front airbags, side head-thorax airbags integrated in the backrests and three-point automatic belts on all seats. These include belt tensioners at the front, plus ISOFIX child seat mountings at the rear and for the front passenger seat. A tyre pressure display for each individual wheel is also fitted as standard. Meanwhile, a partially active bonnet, impact absorbers and precisely defined deformation elements ensure optimised pedestrian protection.
MINI’s suite of driver assistance systems are second to none, and many are showcased on the new Convertible. They include park distance control (PDC) with rear sensors and rear view camera as standard, and front sensors as an option. Parking Assistant is also available as an option.
New to the MINI Convertible is MINI Head-Up Display. The system projects driving-related information on to an extendible display in the upper area of the instrument panel. There it can be read quickly and conveniently without the driver having to avert their eyes from the road.
MINI Cooper Convertible:
Capacity: 1,499 cc
Output: 100 kW/136 hp at 4 400 rpm
Max. torque: 220 Nm at 1 250 rpm
Acceleration (0–62 mph): 8.8 seconds (automatic: 8.7 seconds)
Top speed: 129 mph (128 mph)
Average fuel consumption: 55.4 mpg (53.3 mpg)
CO2 emissions: 114 g/km (119 g/km)
MINI Cooper D Convertible:
Capacity: 1,496 cc
Output: 85 kW/116 hp at 4 000 rpm,
Max. torque: 270 Nm at 1 750 – 2 250 rpm
Acceleration (0–62 mph): 9.9 seconds (automatic: 9.9 seconds)
Top speed: 121 mph (121 mph)
Average fuel consumption: 70.6 mpg (68.9 mpg)
CO2 emissions: 100 g/km (104 g/km)
MINI Cooper S Convertible:
Capacity: 1,998 cc
Output: 141 kW/192 hp at 5 000 – 6 000 rpm
Max. torque: 280 Nm at 1 250 – 4 000 rpm
Acceleration (0–62 mph): 7.2 seconds (automatic: 7.1 seconds)
Top speed: 143 mph (142 mph)
Average fuel consumption: 46.3 mpg (48.7 mpg)
CO2 emissions: 139 g/km (131 g/km)