Set to reach UK showrooms in March 2016, the larger and more comprehensively equipped third generation of the modern-day Convertible is the latest of four models to join the current Mini line-up, following on from the three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback and recently introduced Clubman.
Reflecting the changes brought to its siblings, the new Mini receives fresh new exterior styling, giving it a familiar but more mature appearance. It has a more distinctive front end with a larger, single-frame grille and altered headlamps, added structure within the front wheelarches, a more heavily raked windscreen, larger tail-lights and a wider boot.
Mirroring the dimensions of its three-door hatch sibling, the new Convertible is 98mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm higher than its predecessor, at 3821mm, 1727mm and 1415mm respectively.
The new car receives a heavily revised power-assisted cloth hood that is claimed to open or close in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 19mph. As before, the multi-layer structure folds and stows in an exposed position above the boot. Safety enhancements include a single-piece roll bar that extends from behind the rear seats when sensors detect a possible rollover.
The adoption of parent company BMW’s new high-strength steel UKL platform structure results in a 28mm increase in wheelbase, along with track widths that are up by 42mm at the front and 34mm at the rear – all of which helps to boot cabin space.
The front seats receive added longitudinal adjustment, the width of the rear seats has increased by 34mm at shoulder height and by 112mm in the elbow area, and there's an added 36mm of rear leg room.
Luggage capacity is 215 litres with the hood up - 35 litres more than before. With the hood stowed, boot space is reduced to 160 litres. The rear seats receive standard split-folding backrests and an 8mm wider through-loading facility for easier stowage of longer items.
Mini says the new structure provides added rigidity and stiffness compared with that of the previous Convertible, in a move claimed to reduce scuttle shake and improve handling. The use of reinforcing structural elements and other stiffening measures within the floorpan and bulkheads has led to a 115kg increase in weight over the three-door hatch at 1275kg for the Cooper S.
Among the standard equipment on models bound for the UK will be a 6.5in multimedia screen, Bluetooth connectivity with a USB audio connection, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
In the UK the new Mini Convertible will be available with a choice of three engines: a 134bhp 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol unit in the Cooper, a 189bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol in the Cooper S and a 114bhp 1.5-litre, three-cylinder diesel in the Cooper D.
Other powerplants, including a 101bhp 1.2-litre petrol triple in the One and a 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel in the Cooper SD, will be added later.
Gearbox choices include a standard six-speed manual and an optional six-speed automatic – the latter with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. An electronic differential lock along with Dynamic Stability Control and traction control are included on all models as standard.
In initial top-of-the-line Cooper S form with a manual gearbox, Mini claims its new Convertible will hit 62mph from standstill in 7.2sec and reach a top speed of 143mph, beating its predecessor by a scant 0.1sec and 3mph. Combined fuel consumption is put at 47.1mpg, endowing the Cooper S Convertible with CO2 emissions of 139g/km.