In-depth reviews

MINI Convertible review

"This MINI Convertible is the best yet, delivering the driving fun and style of the hatchback with the added thrill of top-down motoring"

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • High-quality interior
  • Reasonable running costs
  • Fun to drive

Cons

  • Expensive options
  • Not very practical
  • Windy for rear passengers

Verdict - Is the MINI Convertible a good car?

As a desirable, stylish drop-top that’s fun to drive, the MINI Convertible commands a high price. The Cooper gets our nod over the more powerful, more expensive Cooper S, as the extra power doesn’t make enough difference to justify spending more, and the JCW is too firm for UK roads. If you’re after a compact, fun car that delivers wind-in-your-hair thrills when the weather’s good, there isn’t much out there that can beat the MINI Convertible. For 150 well-heeled buyers, it’s even available with electric propulsion.

MINI Convertible models, specs and alternatives

It may not be such a common sight on Britain's roads as the iconic MINI hatchback, but the MINI Convertible is an important part of the brand’s line-up. This is particularly true in the UK; the biggest market in the world for the soft-top MINI. In fact, it's often the UK's best-selling convertible.

Now joining in its third generation, the latest MINI Convertible feels more luxurious than ever, while its increased dimensions mean it’s more spacious inside, too. The electric roof has been improved and the boot is also bigger than previous generations. We've given the MINI Convertible our award for the Best Convertible once again for 2024; the open-roofed MINI has won the same award each year since 2018 in our Best Car Awards.

The current generation MINI Convertible was updated in 2018, and was refreshed again in 2021 to mark 20 years since the first BMW MINI rolled off the Oxford production line. Now, the front grille is bigger, the headlights darker and a Union Jack roof comes as standard, plus there are extra wheel and paint choices. The Zesty Yellow colour shown in our pictures is new, and is as bright as it looks. There’s also a bigger media screen and new buttons, plus new options including a digital instrument cluster and electric handbrake.

The MINI Convertible is almost exclusively offered with petrol power – there's a 134bhp 1.5-litre Cooper, the quick 176bhp 2.0-litre Cooper S and an even more rapid 228bhp John Cooper Works version to choose from. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, or there's a dual-clutch (DCT) automatic gearbox. The automatic is mostly smooth at slow speeds and when you’re driving the car enthusiastically, which is exactly what the car tempts you to do. Straight-line speed aside, MINI has done a great job of transferring the fun handling and dynamics of the hatchback to the Convertible, despite the compromise entailed by removing the fixed roof.

For just 999 customers worldwide and 150 loyal fans in the UK, there’s also the chance to own the ultra-rare MINI Electric Convertible. While a fully-fledged drop-top version is expected to form part of the next-generation MINI Cooper’s line-up, the 2023 car sees the electric motor and battery pack from the current MINI Electric hatchback transplanted into the MINI Convertible.

Cooper and Cooper S engines give you the choice of several trim levels and special editions. Entry-level Classic is well equipped, incorporating features from the former Pepper and Chili option packs. There's a multi-function steering wheel and standard 8.8-inch colour touchscreen for the infotainment system, as well as air-conditioning, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers and projectors that light the ground with a MINI emblem when you open the door.

If the Classic is a bit mundane for you, Sport adds black wheels and JCW styling add-ons, while the Exclusive offers an alternative take on the MINI identity for a bit extra. It sports a leather interior, classy chrome exterior highlights and Union Jack-styled alloy wheels. New for 2022 was a Resolute special edition with bronze detailing inside and out. As ever, there's a long and tempting options list, but the price can quickly escalate if you get carried away.

The MINI Convertible hasn’t featured individually in our Driver Power owner satisfaction surveys of cars currently on sale in the UK, but in our 2022 survey the near-identical MINI Hatch came an impressive 11th out of the top 75 cars. MINI as a brand is clearly doing something right,  improving from 19th to ninth out of 29 brands in 2022, compared with the year before. While the Convertible hasn’t been crash-tested itself, the hatchback it’s based on was awarded four stars for safety by Euro NCAP.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 Cooper Classic 2dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,305

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 Cooper Classic 2dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,305

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 Cooper S Classic 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £26,180

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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