Following the introductions of its updatedand Clubman vehicles, Mini has lifted the veil on its all-new Convertible. Available in both Cooper and Cooper S trims, the Mini Convertible takes all the updates of the Mini Hardtop and applies it to the automaker's drop-top variant.
As with the Hardtop, the new Convertible is much larger than its predecessor. It's 4.5 inches longer, 1.7 inches wider and nearly a full inch taller than the outgoing model. Furthermore, the wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer, and both the front and rear track are almost two inches wider. The trunk's expanded, as well -- luggage volume is up roughly 25 percent, to 7.6 cubic feet with the Convertible top up (5.7 when it's down).
The Convertible retains its textile soft-top, which touts automatic open-and-close functionality using either the interior switch or the key fob. The top takes 18 seconds to open or close, at speeds up to 18 mph. It'll also open part way to act as a sunroof. In the event of a rollover, two integrated protection bars will spring forth to protect occupants. If you're feeling particularly cheeky, you can stray from the traditional black soft top and order your Convertible with a Union Jack-themed design (much like the Hardtop's optional roof vinyl).
Otherwise, the Convertible is very nearly the same as the Hardtop. The 'vert will come available in two trims, each with its own powertrain. The standard Cooper packs a 134-horsepower three-cylinder engine, whereas the hopped-up Cooper S flaunts a 189-horsepower four-cylinder. Both come standard with a six-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matched downshifts, but buyers can spend additional coin and opt for a six-speed automatic, as well.
Additional standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control with a setting specifically for top-down cruising, a 6.5-inch non-touchscreen infotainment display with AUX and USB input, tire-pressure monitoring with individual tire readouts, and a 50/50 split rear seat with a trunk pass-through. The US also receives the Mini Excitement package as standard, which contains adjustable LED interior, ambient and puddle lighting.
Mini's vehicles have always been rich with optional equipment, and that story doesn't change with the Convertible. Plenty of technology is available, including adaptive suspension, an 8.8-inch infotainment display with navigation and a touch-sensitive controller, LED exterior lighting and a head-up display. Luxury can be added into the mix, as well, by opting for the same Chesterfield leather interior seen on the new Clubman.
Safety equipment is also available for a bit more money. The Driving Assistant package lumps most of these systems together, utilizing front and rear cameras that bestow adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, automatic high beams, road sign detection and Parking Assistant. That last one adds 360-degree parking sensors and automatic-parking capability.
Pricing will be announced in January 2016, prior to the Convertible's US launch in March. UK residents will receive the car at the same time, but Australians will have to wait until later in 2016.
Editor's Note, October 23, 2015: This article has been updated to include additional details for UK and Australian markets.