Car Tech Video: 2009 Mini Cooper Convertible
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Car Tech Video: 2009 Mini Cooper Convertible

4:27 /

The Mini ragtop is cute. That's about it.

[ Music ] >>[background music] The mini ragtop, it's cute, that's about it. ^M00:00:08 [ Music ] ^M00:00:13 >>[background music] Now normally we check the tech, inferring that there's a lot of it, not in this case. This little guy's pretty stripped. It's story here is the comfortable top. Here's the dinner plate speedometer, the classic mini cooper signature and in there is your basic radio, audio system. Here's what you got and it ain't much, AM/FM radio, no HD radio in there, nothing fancy. The CD player's right there. Single slot lives right there and of course we've also got an auxiliary jack, I defy you to find it. It's down here. You've got all the usual audio settings, base, treble, balance, fade. No surround sound, none of that nonsense. It's not that kind of system. And over here you've got the speed volume control to go up and down with the vehicles speed, didn't help enough and then my least favorite, the gong. [background noise] Let's you know when your seatbelts are off, incessantly and annoyingly. Here's your volume for the park distance control. I've got to say I like that. Raising and lowering the windows is easy enough. You've got these retro style chrome toggles, very mini but then the rear windows are interesting. There are some back here but to raise them and lower them you do them as twins. There's no dedicated raise or lower for either side. Now I like driving along with my window open and the one behind it open to reduce buffeting but I have to have this one open as well, which is really weird. Another mini quirk, here's what appears to be one of those advanced keys, maybe one of those hands off guys, not really. It goes up here in this little slot and by doing so that enables the button right next to it to start and stop the car. That doesn't do me any good. I'm already there. Now I've got two things to do to start the car in that exact location. And now the cue de graw of goofy, this gage over here in classic mini style, what do you think it does? I polled our crew. I asked them. One thought it was like a sunburn timer. The other thought it was the dial for the wayback machine out of an H.G. Wells novel. Neither are entirely accurate. It is a top down motoring timer, the always open gauge. It tells you in hours on those LED bar graphs and on minutes on the hand, how long you've been driving with the top down. Why do I care? Now the top of the Cooper is interesting. It first pulls back into this sort of landau top, opening up just the front part of the canvas for what is really basically a sunroof and leaving the roof rails in place. Then pull the switch one more time and now the whole top pulls back, disconnecting these side rails up here in the front compartment and taking it back like a standard ragtop convertible. It actually moves rather quickly. Once it's down it's none too tidy an affair. I mean what's all this mess back here? But by keeping it up here where its ugly they don't put it back here where it destroys what trunk space you've got. [music] [background music] Underway your first reaction is oh that's why they make an S. Our car is just a plain mini and that means a loopy, gutless, 1.6 liter 4 putting out 118 horsepower. Now if that was being delivered via the standard 6 speed manual gearbox we might eke some fun out of this thing. But our car was saddled with a 5 speed automatic slot box that does horrible damage to the steptronic brand that BMW applies to such mechanisms. It's slow to react, rubbery when it does and just numb. There is a sport mode button that just raises the shift points, as far as I can detect. But like drinking coffee when you're just plain tired, it doesn't really help. It just makes things more nervous. Simply put, the power train ruins this car. Buy an S or buy something else, unless you're just oblivious to what makes cars enjoyable to drive, in which case you're watching the wrong video. Handling is less offensive but unmemorable aside from the point and shoot feel of any car with a wheelbase this short. What keeps this mess from adding insult to injury is good numbers on the MPG side, 25/34. Our little Cooper bases at 24K with a ragtop. Add $2000 for the leather package we're not crazy about, $250 for sports seats that were really hard and flat, $1250 for the premium package which really doesn't have any tech, it's all trim and $1250 for that disaster of a transmission. The screwball openometer is free but I'd pay to have something useful there. [music]

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