The most obvious benefit of the UKL1 platform concerns size: the new Mini Convertible is almost 10cm longer than its predecessor and more than 4cm wider.
The result is more rear space – BMW claims an extra 36mm of knee room – and 25% more luggage capacity, now 215 litres with the roof up and 160 litres with it down.
The opening also comes with ‘Easy Load’ fittings that enable the roof frame to be lifted higher than before and then locked in place, for easier loading and unloading. The open tailgate can support 80kg.
Along with the extra convenience of larger dimensions comes a gently revised and already familiar new look. Of greater note is the updated roof, which Mini says has been greatly improved.
Still fully electric, the soft-top’s insulation has been optimised for both heat and sound performance, and the front section can be retracted by a sunroof-sized 400mm at any speed. Opening and closing it fully takes 18 seconds and can be accomplished at up to 18mph.
Due to the absence of a fixed roof, the platform has been bulked out. The suspension and speed-sensitive steering are essentially carried over from the hatch, but the drop-top gets reinforcing torsion struts front and rear, strengthened sills and a stiffening plate under the engine.
The Convertible’s engines are shared with the Mini hatchbacks. BMW’s latest 1.5-litre triples feature in both the Cooper and Cooper D. They develop 134bhp and 114bhp respectively, the diesel providing the most parsimonious option at 70.6mpg combined and 100g/km of CO2 in six-speed manual format.
Twin the latter with the optional six-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox (available across the range) and the Convertible will crack 150mph. Unlike with the Mini hatchback, there’s no auto-only 148bhp Cooper SD Convertible.