Mini Cooper S convertible India Review
We were in Goa to drive the new Mini Cooper S convertible, possibly one of the best places to drive the droptop British icon. It isn’t the best month though. Days are long and the only cure for this heat is a pint of beer (or more) by the beach. Can’t do that since I’m driving, but I won’t be complaining. The Minis have eluded me for years and the only piece of action I’ve got of this quintessential hatchback was a lap of the Chennai track with the Cooper D hardtop a couple of years ago. That one lap left a lasting memory because I knew instantly that I had driven a front wheel drive hatchback that cornered better than a AWD AMG. Now I’ve got a considerably more powerful petrol Mini and no roof over my head.
The Convertible obviously is based on the hatchback, that went all-new two years ago. The softtop was revealed last year internationally and comes to our shores now. The familiar Mini design was carried forward, but like the hatchback, the convertible grew in size too. It gets a larger cabin, wider tracks and 25 per cent extra boot space than before. It no longer looks like the cute little English bulldog with a stubby nose and flushed overhangs but those were the days when crash tests and pedestrian safety were passing jokes. Now, the new and matured Mini has grown to societal norms with every successive generation. The roof in the convertible can part-open as a sun roof or tuck itself away completely in the boot in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 30kmph. It comes as a single colour canvas top, although you could specify the Union Jack too, if PDA for everything British is your kind of thing.
Will it turn heads?
If it won’t, all people around must have stiff necks. The Cooper S convertible is built to turn heads as all convertibles are. Even the hatchback turns a lot of heads and this hairdresser’s nightmare will put you through all the dust, grime, heat and smoke, all just so you could turn some heads. Besides the convertible bashing we Indian automotive journos do for obvious reasons, the Cooper S droptop is a gorgeous car.
As the review suggests, we only get the Cooper S variant. It’s a CBU so the price is steep and BMW believes the Mini brand deserves a high premium so only the top-spec variant makes it here (can be specified with the JCW kit too). Powering the Cooper S is the inline-4 2.0-litre turbo petrol terrier of an engine that gives you 189bhp and 280Nm to play with. It comes mated to a 6-speed auto ’box sending power to the front wheels.
The Cooper S convertible does the 0-100 sprint in 7.1 seconds and can pull through to 233kmph on a long enough stretch. It’s not just these times that make the Cooper S quick though. It’s got a small footprint, sits low and very stable so driving it fast doesn’t intimidate you. We didn’t get to exploit the Mini to its potential though but the acceleration, braking and slalom runs we subjected it to gave us an insight on how planted the Mini is. The brakes are strong and changing directions through the slalom course showed the inherent balance of the chassis.
The Cooper S convertible goes up against the Audi A3 Cabriolet. It’s a lot smaller but offers similar levels of performance so it will be interesting to see how these two do in a head-to-head fight. On paper, the Mini is Rs 11 lakh cheaper. Once you spec it up with the long list of features though, the convertible will be a whole lot costlier. Our suggestion would be to get the JCW pack that bumps the power to 210 horsepower and gets you a sportier exhaust note. It will set you back by Rs 2.6 lakh. Add larger 17 inch wheels for Rs 80,000, Rs 60,000 for a metallic paint job and Rs 80,000 for dynamic dampers. In the interiors, get the Rs 1.15 lakh Harman Kardon music system and leather seats for Rs 1.75 lakh. You don’t need the rest of the very expensive features. It will still add up to Rs 42.6 lakh, which is more affordable than an A3 Cabriolet.
evo India rating
While the Mini is relatively cheaper to the A3 Cabrio, it still is fairly expensive and not as iconic as the hardtop. The weather in India doesn’t permit the roof to be tucked in all the time so you’ve got to be committed to live with a tan if you do buy the convertible. The engine, handling and interior however will ensure there is never a dull moment.