Mini Uncovers New Convertible

Bigger is better?

by on Oct.22, 2015

The new Mini Convertible grows by more than four inches and gains plenty of interior space.

The Mini makeover, it seems, is in full swing, and the latest addition to the British maker’s line-up comes with a makeover of the Mini Convertible.

As with other recent remakes, the 2017 Mini Convertible grows a little larger than the outgoing ragtop, with a bit more emphasis on practicality this time around. But the fun factor isn’t being played down, and like the new Mini Hardtop launched last year, the Convertible now shares its underlying architecture, as well as its powertrain options, with Mini’s sibling BMW brand.

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“The new MINI Convertible has a great balance of playful personalization and sophistication. It’s open-top driving without compromise,” says David Duncan, vice president MINI of the Americas, adding that, “The front wheel drive BMW architecture and engines make it fun-to-drive and practical in any driving conditions.”

Set to make its debut at the L.A. Auto Show next month, and then go on sale in the U.S. in March 2016, the ragtop grows in virtually every dimension.  It’s a full 4.5 inches longer, gaining 1.1 inches in wheelbase, 1.7 inches in width, and 0.8 inches in height. The track also grows by nearly two inches.

(Mini joins a growing list of makers coming to LA Auto Show. Click Here for more.)

That adds up to a noticeable improvement in interior space, with longer front seat tracking and improved access to the back seats, Mini says. The new model also gets a 25% bump in cargo space, addressing one of the biggest problems with the outgoing model. The boot, as the Brits like to call it, now measures 7.6 cubic feet, though that drops to 5.7 cf with the convertible top open.

The new Mini Convertible's top can operate in just 18 seconds -- and at speeds up to 18 mph.

The convertible roof itself is a fabric affair, and can slide rearward for those who might want a sunroof-like mid-position. It takes just 18 seconds to fully open or close the top, and it can be operated at speeds up to 18 mph.

The new Mini Convertible also integrates a new, hidden rollover protection system, part of its new safety package.

At launch, the ragtop will offer two engine variants in the U.S., both developed by BMW. That includes a TwinPower turbocharged inline-3 making 134-horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque in the Mini Cooper Convertible. The Mini Cooper S Convertible, meanwhile, will get a turbo-four upping the pony count to 189, torque jumping to 207 lb-ft.

Buyers will have a choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed Steptronic automatic. The Cooper S will add paddle shifters to the automatic.

(Click Here to check out the second-generation Mini Countryman.)

The new, shared architecture made headlines when it was announced it would be shared with BMW and mark the first time the Bavarian brand would have a front-drive offering in its line-up.

The trunk now actually has room for 25% more luggage, top up or down.

Mini has always bragged about its “go-kart” handling, and it claims to be upping the fun-to-drive factor with features such as a speed-related Servotronic steering system, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control and Electronic Differential Lock Control – all standard. The Cooper S Convertible adds Performance Control; optional Dynamic Damper Control, and a choice of 15-, 16- or 18-inch alloy wheels.

For the first time, the Mini Convertible will feature full LED lighting, including its headlamps, daytime running lights and taillamps.

The line-up of safety features includes Head-Up Display, a semi-auto Parking Assistant, Driving Assistant with camera-based active cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function, high beam assistant and road sign detection; as well as a rearview camera. There are plenty of other high-tech infotainment technologies, as well.

As always, Mini is putting an emphasis on customization. It will even offer the familiar Union Jack option for the new ragtop.

(This customized pizza wagon really delivers. Click Here to check out Domino’s new DXP.)

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