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New generation Mini Cooper S Convertible retains style, fun

With a dearth of four-seater convertibles, it is very fortunate that the Mini not only looks good, but offers a fun driving experience.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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Two years after the launch of the Mini's latest platform for its hardtop, the convertible version hits the streets in Cooper and Cooper S trim.

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The Mini Cooper S Convertible remains a front-wheel-drive car with a power-folding cloth top, and one of the few four-seat convertibles you can find.

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With an extra five inches of length over previous generations, the new Mini Convertible feels less go-karty and more grown-up.

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With its Sport package, the Cooper S Convertible gets dynamic dampers, keeping the car more stable in hard cornering.

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Under the hood, the Cooper S Convertible features a 2-liter engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger, pushing out 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque and designed to minimize turbo-lag.

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A six speed manual transmission comes standard, with an option for six speed automatic.

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Although not a strong sports car, the Mini Cooper S Convertible remains fun to drive, especially with the tremendous upward view offered by the convertible top.

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This top does compromise sight lines, creating a big blind spot when up and cutting off the lower half of the rear view when down.

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This Cooper S Convertible comes with LED headlights that point into turns.

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The Cooper S Convertible prices out at $4,000 more than the Cooper Convertible, and although the S model offers much more power, the standard Cooper Convertible should satisfy most buyers.

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Pack light, as the Cooper S Convertible only has 5.7 cubic feet of storage with the top down, 7.6 cubic feet with the top up.

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The Mini's interior looks very nice with the Premium package and Satellite Grey interior.

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The rear seats are compact, but usable.

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The Mini calls this dashboard trim Dark Cottonwood.

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The big, round frame in the center of the dashboard used to house a speedometer, but that has migrated to the driver instrument cluster.

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Swoopy styling gives the door interiors a unique look.

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The Harman Kardon audio option is worthwhile for music lovers.

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The steering stiffens up with the car's Sport mode.

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You can choose Green or Sport modes with a switch at the bottom of the shift lever.

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This dial and button setup controls the infotainment system.

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