On the outside, the 2016 Mini Convertible gains 4.5 inches of length, 1.7 inches of width, and 0.8 inch in height, as the wheelbase expands by 1.1 inches. That affords much more room inside: rear-seat passengers have an extra 1.6 inches of legroom and 0.5 inch of shoulder room, while trunk capacity increases by about 25 percent. The trunk can now store 5.7 cubic feet of luggage with the convertible top lowered and 7.6 cubic feet with it raised (compared to 5.4 cubic feet in a Fiat 500C and 7.1 cubic feet in a Volkswagen Beetle convertible).
Visually, the 2016 Mini Convertible evolves its looks in keeping with today’s Mini designs. Large oval-shaped headlights dominate the front corners, with a large black mesh grille adorning the nose. Out back, Mini’s vertical taillights sit at either side of the small fold-down trunklid, which can support up to 176 lb for when you’re loading heavy items. A new option for the convertible top is a grayscale embroidered Union Jack flag, a visual link to the brightly colored flag designs available on hardtop Mini models.
The 2016 Mini Convertible’s roof itself has a heated glass rear window and can be opened or closed in just 18 seconds at speeds up to 18 mph; drivers can even control the top remotely when the car is parked by holding a button on the keyfob. As on the prior model, a special Always Open Timer tallies up how much time owners spend driving with the roof down. And a standard feature of the Mini Connected smartphone app warns owners if a rainstorm is approaching, so they don’t end up with soaked seats.
Can’t decide if you want the roof fully open or closed? There’s also a function whereby drivers can slide the front of the roof backward by up to 15 inches, allowing more fresh air to enter the cabin. A redesigned windblocker, which affixes behind the front seats to keep buffeting to a minimum, is said to be smaller and easier to use than before. A new Easy Load function allows owners to “lift” the softtop when it is raised for easier loading of large items into the trunk, while a standard 50/50-split folding rear seat allows for carrying long items like snowboards.
Familiar engines up front
Like its closed-roof siblings, the 2016 Mini Convertible is offered in base and S trim levels. The former is equipped with Mini’s 134-hp, 1.5-liter turbo-three engine, and accelerates to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds with the car’s six-speed automatic transmission or 8.3 seconds with the six-speed manual. Moving up to the S model gets buyers a 189-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that lowers those figures to 6.7 and 6.8 seconds, respectively.
The interior of the car follows in the footsteps of other Mini models, with a large infotainment display at the center of the dash and dials for the climate control and other switches lower down on the center stack. Standard features on the 2016 Mini Convertible include dual-zone climate control, a 6.5-inch Mini Connected display interface, LED ambient lighting, and a Mini logo “puddle light” that projects onto the ground when the doors are opened. Options include LED exterior lighting, a head-up display, navigation, a self-parking feature, Dynamic Damper Control suspension, and the Driving Assistant suite of adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, and automatic high beams.
The 2016 Mini Convertible goes on sale in spring 2016. Prices will be announced closer to that time, likely with a mild bump over the $26,550 and $29,550 starting prices of the 2015 base and S-model Convertible.