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