MINI Convertible (2009-2015) - Engines, drive & performance

Great handling and strong performance make the MINI fun to drive

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

The hatchback’s famed ‘go-kart-like’ handling remains intact in the MINI Convertible version, making it one of the most fun-to-drive drop-tops on sale in the UK right now. Unfortunately, that fun character comes at the expense of comfort, as the car’s firm suspension crashes and thumps over poorly surfaced roads – which can be as much of a problem in speed-bump-infested urban environments as it is on rough country back roads.

MINI Convertible petrol engines

The basic One model feels a bit underpowered thanks to the convertible’s extra weight, but this isn’t as much of a problem in the more lively petrol Cooper and Cooper S models.

However, as open-top driving is arguably about the sense of occasion that comes from having the wind blowing through your hair, that power deficit may not bother many buyers – especially as the car’s list price naturally goes up the more performance you want.

For those who are interested in having a quick car, the Cooper S is particularly impressive, thanks to a 182bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which also sounds great. This engine complements the convertible's sporty nature, enabling it to get from 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds.

The performance-focused John Cooper Works model is easily the fastest version of the MINI Convertible on offer thanks the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine being boosted to deliver a total of 208bhp. This will take the car from 0-62mph in a truly hair-raising 6.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 148mph.

MINI Convertible diesel engines

The Cooper D uses a BMW-developed 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine that’s very frugal, but the trade-off is that, like the entry-level petrol engine, it can occasionally feel a bit underpowered, particularly because the convertible version of the MINI is heavier than the hatchback. For this reason, we’d recommend the more muscular Cooper SD if you want diesel power.

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 John Cooper Works 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £31,580

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