The new Mazda MX-5 is getting very positive reviews from automotive journalists. It is simple, affordable and fun roadster that has a long heritage behind it. With new styling features it is even more appealing to motorists and it is clear that MX-5 is very likely to defend its name of the most popular roadster. However, other manufacturers want to participate in this market segment as well. Now British automotive brand MINI is introducing its new MINI Convertible, which is said to be the first and still the only premium convertible in the small car segment.
Company promises that this new Convertible offers ultimate combination of sportiness, efficiency, comfort, functionality, safety, connectivity and quality of both materials and workmanship. However, style in this segment is very important as well. This MINI retains easily recognizable exterior design, which borrows some of its features from the beloved classic Mini – hexagonal radiator grille, circular headlamps and rear lights with chrome surrounds, black peripheral body surround and side turn indicator elements. Its looks combine elegance with sportiness, while modern design cues and powerfully sculpted surfaces distinguish it from other drop tops.
Company also introduces new colour to the vast choices of exterior finish – Caribbean Aqua metallic fits new car well. However, unlike MX-5, this car is not a two-seater and has an electric roof.
Even though sporting character is very important, roof mechanism is equally as significant, especially for people from rather colder climate countries. MINI Convertible features a high-quality textile soft top with fully automatic opening and closing mechanism as well as sliding roof function.
For those who seek for even more style, Union Jack graphic can be woven into the roof fabric. Roof mechanism can be operated during travel at speeds of up to 30km/h and takes only 18 seconds. Which is also very quiet, because the new fully electric drive mechanism. Safety is a key issue when talking about convertibles – this MINI has rollover protection which extends automatically when required.
This MINI is not so mini as before. It grew in size and now is 98 millimetres longer, 44 millimetres wider and 1 millimetre higher than previous model. It was made for practicality reasons, because now it is more comfortable entry and longer seat surface for rear passengers. It also means that the luggage compartment grew by about 25% and now is 215 litres with closed top and 160 litres with open top. Looking at the pictures makes clear that rear seats are still not comfortable for adults, but it is the case for all four seater convertibles.
Roof mechanism can be operated at speeds of up to 30km/h and takes only 18 seconds to open or close. Sliding roof function allows for a smaller section of roof to remain open. Image credit: press.bmwgroup.com
Interior of the car is also recognizable MINI. It features horizontally structured cockpit, circular or elliptical contours for displays, air vents and door trim elements as well as high-quality colour and material combinations. There is also quite an array of technologies – display, optional LED lighting display and red start/stop button at the centre of the toggle switch bar in the lower section of the centre console.
Also, car features such comforts as central locking, Radio MINI Boost with USB and AUX-IN socket, Park Distance Control and air conditioning. MINI convertible can be equipped with LED headlamps with LED daytime driving light and LED rear lights as well as other lighting technologies. And such innovative safety feature as Intelligent Emergency Call. Of course, the most important part about this car is how it will perform as a sportscar.
AT launch MINI Convertible is available with three engine options. 3-cylinder diesel engine with 85 kW/116 hp will fit those who are looking for maximum efficiency. But those who still prefer petrol engines can choose 3-cylinder petrol engine with 100 kW/136 hp. However undoubtedly the most fun car in the range currently is equipped with 4-cylinder petrol engine with 141 kW/192 hp.
The most powerful version will do 0–100 km/h in a little more than 7 seconds. All these engines are turbocharged and very efficient and environmentally friendly with combined fuel consumption of 6.0 – 3.8 l/100 km and combined CO2emissions of 139 – 100 g/km. All cars use 6 speed gearboxes – as standard MINI Convertible comes with 6 speed manual, but less passionate drivers can choose automatic version. Power is sent through the front wheels, as usually with MINI’s, but it is said to retain great body rigidity, which usually is a problem for drop tops. Classic go-kart feeling and agility are said to be there too.
That is all we know so far. We will have to wait and see what automotive journalists have to say about it. Company says it is on the class of its own and is more of a premium market product, rather than simple and affordable MX-5. However, when it comes to actually choosing a car, people are inevitably going to compare these two.