From £15,7706

The Mini Convertible remains a popular choice for buyers looking for open-top fun with urban practicality and the ability to handle with a degree of finesse, despite other, more recent, models in Mini's range grabbing the headlines.

A range of petrol and diesel engines are available, but with rising fuel prices, it is the 1.6-litre diesel Cooper D model which offers the lowest running costs, even if the 2.0-litre Cooper SD provides a slug more power. Petrol choices are wider with a 1.6-litre engine developing between 98bhp (Mini One) and 211bhp (John Cooper Works).

Removing the cloth roof requires nothing more than a press of a button mounted up on the windscreen header rail, at which it folds back and stows in a mere 15sec. It can also be operated on the go at speeds up to 30mph.

The Mini Convertible continues to boast a boot lid that can either fold down, tail-gate style, or hinge upwards in a more conventional manner. Not that you'll be loading much into it - it is very small, and most owners will simply fold down the rear seats, doubling the capacity.

The rollover hoops of the old model are now concealed, only popping up when sensors detect an impending accident. This improves rearward vision when the roof is down. With it up, however, you continue to struggle with poor rear three-quarter vision.

The extra weight of the chassis elements required to keep rigidity in check adds 30kg over the comparable hatchback models. That blunts the performance of all but the top performance models. The Cooper S remains impressive, the turbocharged 1.6-litre Mini Cooper S Convertible hitting 62mph in 7.4sec and reaching a top speed of 138mph.

Diesel engines are both BMW units, not the product of the PSA collaboration as before. The 1.6 in the Cooper D 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.

The Convertible turns in quickly and offers plenty of grip through corners. The Sport button weights up the steering further to give it a very immediate reaction off the straight-ahead but a more synthetic feel than when in its normal setting.

Scuttle shake has been improved but it still remains over unsettled surfaces.

There's plenty of appeal, for sure, but choosing a Mini Convertible is a stark choice between desirability, or extremely limited practicality.

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