From £15,770
Short on pace, but big on economy, fun and fashion

Our Verdict

Mini Convertible 2009-2015
The Cooper S version of the Convertible, pictured here, offers impressive performance

The Mini Convertible has lots of style but lacks ride comfort and refinement

What is it?

It could be an extremely relevant car for today’s market. The new Mini Cooper D Convertible seemingly caters for those who want economy, fashion, open-top frolics, around-town usefulness and even the ability to go round corners with some finesse, all in one package. Given the growing number of premium buyers downsizing but wanting to retain the image, it’s clear that there’s a market for it.

This is the first time that a diesel engine has been fitted to the Mk2 Mini Convertible, but the big news is that it is a BMW-produced unit and not a PSA collaboration. The 110bhp turbodiesel motor is a downsized version of BMW’s 2.0-litre four-pot and is being rolled out into hatch, Convertible and Clubman versions of the 2010 facelifted Mini.

What’s it like?

Our test car came with the six-speed manual gearbox and proved that the upgraded engine is a success. It lacks a little low-end torque, which can occasionally leave you floundering between too many revs in second and too few in third at town speeds, but it’s a pleasant unit to use in general.

Standard stop-start works very well in traffic, with not too much clatter on start-up, and the cabin is refined enough despite its fabric roof unless you push the motor into its harsh upper ranges. Which there is very little point to doing anyway, given that the motor is best kept in its responsive if narrow mid-range, when you can rely on the 199lb ft of torque to provide plenty of punch.

But if it’s thrills you’re looking for, this is likely to be a mild disappointment. The diesel engine lends itself well to unhurried cruising, but in the 1200kg Mini Convertible the motor struggles to provide lively performance. That the classic, sharp Mini handling still characterises the car only makes it more obvious that the engine offers very little potency.

Accept that you are sacrificing the energy of the turbo petrol Minis for this more frugal version and there’s still fun to be had. The Convertible responds well to steering input, turning in quickly and offering plenty of grip through corners. Hit the Sport button and the already meaty steering weights up further to give it a very immediate reaction off the straight-ahead but, if anything, a slightly more synthetic feel than when in its normal setting.

Scuttle shake has been improved on the new Convertible, too, though there is still an element of flex and fidget over unsettled surfaces that results both from the lack of a tin top and relatively firm springs.

Flawed as it is, the Mini Cooper D Convertible is a very appealing prospect. Such impressive economy and emissions in a car that offers all the style and fun factor of any Mini drop-top will tempt many buyers – most of whom will care very little, if at all, that it doesn’t quite deliver the sparkle and energy some might want from a Mini.

Should I buy one?

The biggest hurdle for any prospective owners will be the price. At £17,870 this is not a cheap car. Granted, residuals will most likely be as robust as ever, but that doesn’t altogether take the sting out of paying so much for a car with very limited practicality.

Still, no rival offers the same level of efficiency, performance and desirability, so if the Mini Cooper D Convertible appeals there is little not to like beyond the cost and a certain shortage of performance. For many, that will be an easy price to pay and an even easier decision to live with.

Mini Cooper D Convertible

Price: £17,870; Top speed: 121mph; 0-62mph: 10.3sec; Economy: 70.6mpg; CO2: 105g/km; Kerb weight: 1200kg; Engine type: 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power: 110bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 199lb ft at 1750-2250rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

 

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Comments
25

3 August 2010

In the picture their's a man driving the Mini !

This will be a very rare sight as a man diving this car is just wrong, just seeing the picture makes me feel werid, Perfect for a lady but for men its a no no no

3 August 2010

If it's a downsized BMW engine, then it won't be long before the Cooper S D comes along with a bit more power and a lot more torque. Now that would make for a more interesting car

3 August 2010

I quite liked the sound of this until I saw the price! Nearly 18 grand for a fairly basic supermini tin top? Pass.

3 August 2010

[quote moe360]In the picture their's a man driving the Mini! This will be a very rare sight as a man diving this car is just wrong, just seeing the picture makes me feel werid, Perfect for a lady but for men its a no no no

[/quote] I'm a bloke, have owned two MINIs and quite comfortable enough with my sexuality not to feel the need to drive some kind of V8 pen!smobile : )

3 August 2010

Ah, a sub 109 emissions and a 70 MPG car? Sounds like a good combo. Seems like it doesn't know what it wants to be though. I imagine the 70 MPG is only achievable if you spend a lot of your time over 30 MPH. As the BMW engines, and others, use quite a lot of fuel in first and second. So, in reality, we are looking at around 50 MPG for the use that most people will use it for.

I like it, but it just seems a little confused. I'd probably opt for the normal petrol version, which still has nice mileage, but has more power. I'd guess quite a lot of estate agents and similiar companies will buy them for the writedown though.

3 August 2010

[quote moe360]In the picture their's a man driving the Mini !

This will be a very rare sight as a man diving this car is just wrong, just seeing the picture makes me feel werid, Perfect for a lady but for men its a no no no

[/quote]

Wow! Do people really, still think like this in 2010?!

3 August 2010

The Diesel Apple IPhone of cars ?Over priced.
Underperforming.
Unpractical
Less than the sum of its parts.

And people still buy it for 18k????

The sad part is that is has ZERO competition not even a lower prices!

3 August 2010

[quote catnip]

[quote moe360]In the picture their's a man driving the Mini !

This will be a very rare sight as a man diving this car is just wrong, just seeing the picture makes me feel werid, Perfect for a lady but for men its a no no no

[/quote]

Wow! Do people really, still think like this in 2010?!

[/quote]

for me it just looks weird, its like a man driving a mini 500, or any small cutesy car infact. Its like me wearing a pink t shirt that says girl power, i can buy one wear it but what will people think ?. It may be 2010 but sometimes you got to think of your credibility.

3 August 2010

Chug, chug, chug. What is the point of a diesel convertible? Every time you are in traffic that clatter would drive you mad.

3 August 2010

"It may be 2010 but sometimes you got, (sic!), to think of your credibility." That's followed by the footnote: "White cars are the best!" Oh-Kayyyy...

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