Summer may be over,
but you can still have fun

MINI
I know its September, but its still warm enough to get your top off! We are now all pretty familiar with the sight of the stylish modern day version of the Mini on our roads.

I know its September, but its still warm enough to get your top off! We are now all pretty familiar with the sight of the stylish modern day version of the Mini on our roads.

Indeed the Mini brand has grown with new and exciting versions such as the Countryman, Clubman, Paceman, Coupe and of course the subject of this review the Convertible. There is even a Mini van now!

The Mini has really been selling very well worldwide and here in Ireland since its original launch. Indeed it has in some respects it has developed a bit of a cult

following.

Impressions

The 2013 Mini has many design cues from the 60‘s original, the short bonnet with bulging front wings, the upright A-pillar, the short rear end, it’s unmistakably a Mini, yet the design is truly modern. I can honestly say that in the hundreds of cars I’ve road tested over the years few draw as many admiring glances as the Mini. The convertible looks very well with the neat canvass roof and yet still manages to keep that Mini shape.

Behind the Wheel

Slip inside the cabin and again you’re definitely in a Mini. The large speedometer is placed in the centre of the dash - even the numerals in it are a replica of the
original.

The heating and ventilation controls are 21st century but the toggle switches below hark back to the sixties.

Finally with the rev counter positioned on the steering column in front of the driver the sporting nature of the Mini convertible is emphasised.

The quality of fit and finish is typically BMW - beyond reproach.

Standard equipment includes front and side airbags, ABS, electric windows, remote locking, courtesy light delay, walk you home headlight timer, a quality stereo system with CD player, front fog lights, sport wheels and half-leather upholstery and of course that electric fold-down hood.

Performance

My test car was powered by the 115 BHP 4 cylinder fuel injected engine the Mini is more sports car than town runabout. Acceleration from a standstill is lively and it will hit 120 km/h mph in just 9 seconds, pushing onto a top speed of about 200km/h.

More impressive again though is the mid range punch. A wonderfully slick gearbox, with well chosen ratios gives this Mini Convertible really good acceleration. On the economy front I returned a very respectable 5.9 litres per 100km.

Road Behaviour

On the road the Mini Convertible proves to be as agile and nimble as I had expected.

The suspension set up utilises one of the most sophisticated rear set-ups in the world, BMW’s Z axle. The result is pin sharp handling and grip whether on wet or dry roads. Levels of refinement are very high, with wind, road and engine noise all very well suppressed. Indeed this Mini Convertible is very impressive in this area.

With the top folded down real wind-in-the hair motoring is a joy. There is a limited amount of buffeting making it comfortable to travel distances with the top down. The roof folds away in no more than about 25 seconds at the push of a switch.

The only negative I had was that because the folded roof sits overhanging the boot area it does spoil the lines of the car when the top is down, unavoidable I suppose as there is nowhere for it to fold away into.

The Cabin is roomy up front but the rear is strictly for short journeys - or the kids. The boot like the original is small, but will hold one mid-sized suitcase.

Verdict

This car is a winner. The style is superb, true to the design cues of the original but beautifully interpreted for the 21st century and it loses none of that appeal in Convertible form.

The driving experience delights with sports car levels of fun and BMW’s legendary levels of refinement and quality. The Mini One Cabrio costs €23,540.