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Topless cruising in the Mini cabriolet

29.02.2016

Last week I got behind the wheel of the latest Mini Clubman and I quite liked it. I also had the opportunity to drive the new Mini Cabriolet.

Two very different cars, really. One is family orientated with a sense of practicality and the other is a small, open-top weekend special. So what is the new topless Mini like? I was in Cape Town to find out.

Exterior

As for the looks, the exterior is unmistakably Mini and features a precise balance between top-class elegance with a sporty flair. Some noticeable design features include the classic Mini circular headlamps and rear taillights, which feature chrome surrounds, hexagonal radiator grille as well as black peripheral body trim around the wheel arches add to the car’s identity. The roof is a high-quality textile soft top with a fully automatic opening and closing mechanism as well as a sliding roof function. The opening and closing of the soft top and side windows happens in just 18 seconds and it is also possible to open while travelling at speeds of up to 30km/h.  

Engine

Under the stubby little bonnet of the Cooper one will find a 100kW/220Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder TwinPower turbocharged engine. As for the Cooper S, well that uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre 141kW four-cylinder engine. Both engines can be matted to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed StepTronic gearbox. There is an extensive range of MiniMalism technology as standard. This includes optional Mini driving modes, which differ between Green mode for efficiency-optimised driving and Go-kart mode for enhanced driving fun.

Interior

Inside, it’s Mini business as usual. Top quality materials have been used, however, it remains exactly the same as the hatchback with no drastic changes to the dashboard. The interior is very customizable with choices ranging from different types on inlays as well as interior trim options. I particularly like the large dial found in the middle of the dashboard. It incorporates an LCD screen, which displays not only infotainment and navigation (if ticked on the options list) but also vehicle information. Mini, being a more youthful brand has also incorporated the ability to connect smart-devices to the car via an array of various apps. These apps open up a technological world of things, for example Web radio, which allows you to listen to any radio station from across the world, while enjoying that coastal drive along Camps Bay.

Ride Quality

Talking about the drive, the Cabriolet, in both Cooper and Cooper S derivatives deliver a sporty and firm ride. One can definitely feel the added strengthening that’s been put into the car to account for the missing roof. It is not as nimble as the hatchback in my opinion, however, the aural benefits are something to smile about as the little Mini pops and burbles its way through the gears.

Verdict

After spending enough time in the Mini Cabriolet to get a rather painful sunburn on my ears and neck I can say that despite its limited boot space and just about non-existent rear leg room the car does fulfil its true calling, and that is to offer Mini lovers a stylish, fun, modern and well-engineered open-top cruiser. All Minis are overflowing with character and the little Cabriolet offers loads of that and an unlimited amount of head room - to boot.

Pricing:

Includes VAT & CO2 tax

Cooper:  
R386 000 six-speed Manual
R385 310 six-speed Auto
Cooper S:  
R435 360 six-speed Manual
R452 539 six-speed Auto

 

Article written by Justin Jacobs
29.02.2016
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