What do you get when you combine a super impractical car with the most impractical body style? A whack-load of fun, also known as the 2022 Mini Cooper Convertible. Fresh off a facelift and minor interior update, the Mini Convertible is more playful and stylish than ever, so long as you're into that cartoonish, over-the-top aesthetic. Personally, we're fans, because it suits the personality of the car perfectly. This is a vehicle for people who don't take themselves too seriously, and who just want to have an absolute blast when out on the road. That lack of sensibility does, unfortunately, extend to considerations like cargo space, but if you're using the 2022 Cooper Convertible to do grocery shopping, you need to re-evaluate your life choices. Alongside rivals like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Mini is an expression of freedom and joy, but it doesn't come cheap. Starting at $27,900 in the USA, it offers you the choice of two powertrains, delivering 134 horsepower or 189 hp, each well equipped to move the quirky, small car around with ample haste.
The 2022 model year sees the Mini Convertible receive an extensive facelift and an updated interior with additional standard features. Up front, a new single unbroken hexagon grille takes up most of the area and the fog lights have been removed, though LED headlights are standard across the range. The front bumper also sports air curtains, while the Cooper S trims get an extra pair of air intakes with high-gloss black surrounds. The rear bumper is new, too, and features a hexagonal graphic that complements the grille, along with classic Union Jack taillights. The iconic twin-tailpipes are now framed to make them pop visually. Finally, new 17- and 18-inch wheel designs are available, and there are three new exterior colors on offer: Island Blue, Rooftop Grey, and Zesty Yellow.
Inside, a larger 8.8-inch touchscreen display is standard, along with SiriusXM, a digital instrument cluster, and Mini Ambient Light with six color settings. The steering wheel is all-new and is available with a heating function. An updated standard advanced safety suite now includes lane departure warning and active cruise control.
See trim levels and configurations:
The new Mini Cooper Convertible is a more modern rendition of a classic icon. The updated hexagonal grille with matching rear apron gives it a bolder appearance, while the addition of air curtains on the front bumper, and additional air intakes on the Cooper S, add to the Mini's sporty appeal. The removal of the fog lights may hinder its practicality, but that is not what the Cooper Convertible is about and the standard LED lights do a good enough job. New wheel arches house a choice of 17- or 18-inch wheels in updated designs on upper trims, although the base Cooper makes do with 15-inch wheels. The iconic twin tailpipe central exhaust sports a more eye-catching surround on Cooper S variants, whereas the Cooper makes do with a single tailpipe. Naturally, the Mini Cooper is most striking with the soft-top down. The fabric top is available only in black.
The facelifted Mini measures slightly longer this year, at 152.2 inches in base spec, and 152.8 inches for Cooper S variants. It's also a little lighter, with curb weight ranging from 2,892 pounds on the base Cooper to 3,033 lbs on the Cooper S with the automatic transmission. The remaining dimensions remain constant. The wheelbase is a compact 98.2 inches long, overall width is 75.9 inches including the mirrors, and height is a diminutive 55.7 inches.
There are two powertrains available to Mini Cooper Convertible shoppers. They are both small and low-displacement, but boy do they pack a punch. Under the hood of the base-model Cooper is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine that develops 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. This doesn't sound like much, but the Cooper cabrio is a light and sprightly car that makes excellent use of every last ounce of that power. The 0-60 mph sprint time isn't overly quick at 8.2 seconds (8.3 if you choose the manual), but the Mini never feels underpowered.
The more potent 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot is sublime if you have the extra cash for the Cooper S variant - and the fuel bill. The 189 hp and 206 lb-ft empowers the Cooper S with a lot more kick, enabling it to sprint from 0-60 mph in just 6.7 seconds (6.8 with the manual). It feels at home around town or on the highway, where it can reach its 143-mph top speed quickly and provide a perfect cruising experience, not that you'd typically be caning it at over 140 mph, of course.
A six-speed manual transmission is the standard fare and the one to go for regardless of trim if you want an engaging experience, since it can be optioned on the Signature and Iconic sub-trims. However, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which is compatible with every sub-trim, is brilliant and can deliver just as many thrills without all the hassle. It's the gearbox we'd opt for, since it perfectly suits the lifestyle of a convertible owner. Regardless of trim or transmission, every Mini Cooper Convertible comes with a front-wheel drivetrain.
Compact convertibles are a nearly extinct breed, but the 2022 Mini Cooper Convertible makes a very good case for their continued existence. Few other cars are this much fun to drive, with only slightly larger convertibles like the Mazda MX-5 comparing favorably. Regardless of the powertrain you choose, the Cooper Convertible is a blast and never feels lacking, but just to be on the safe side, the four-cylinder engine is the way to go.
Unlike most other sporty convertibles or sports cars in general, the Mini doesn't rely on a rear-wheel drivetrain. This would be a problem if it weren't so ridiculously small and light, but front-wheel drive suits it, and handling remains responsive and engaging. This is largely because steering inputs are almost directly conveyed to the controlling axle. This can take some inexperienced drivers off-guard, as it can feel a little sharp.
Once you get up to speed on the highway, this lightness isn't quite so disconcerting, but you'll never feel the kind of heft and feedback you would from a larger vehicle. Despite its convertible nature, the Mini Cooper is still a fun-loving town car. However, it does feel a little more laidback than its hardtop siblings, making it fun to cruise in.
Unfortunately, where most open-top lifestyle cars put an emphasis on comfort over sheer performance, the Mini Cooper Convertible can feel a little harsh on the road. Even small bumps can upset its balance, but throwing in the optional adaptive suspension can help to ease this problem. It's not necessarily worth the price, but if you're shopping in the premium segment, you can likely afford it.
The Mini cabrio isn't trying to be everything to everyone, and that means making sacrifices in areas like fuel economy. That said, the Cooper Convertible is not the gas-guzzler some of its larger cousins are. Thanks to its small size, low weight, and small-displacement engine options, it returns a respectable 27/37/31 mpg city/highway/combined in its default manual configuration. Swap in the intuitive automatic transmission and this only improves further to 29/38/32 mpg.
Naturally, upgrading to the larger displacement turbo-four has a negative impact on economy, with the manual Cooper S returning 23/33/26 mpg and the auto getting 27/36/30 mpg. While all these figures are pretty good, the small 11.6-gallon tank means the furthest you can expect to travel before needing to refuel is 371 miles.
The Mini Cooper Convertible is a premium vehicle, and the interior mostly reflects this. High-quality materials cover every surface and the styling is on brand and on point. However, it's also a very small car, so be prepared for a cramped cabin. Those in the rear suffer the most thanks to the severe lack of legroom, and cargo space is all but non-existent. The standard comforts and conveniences are a bit lackluster for the price, with the automaker charging extra for options like heated seats as you move up through the sub-trims. While there is technically seating for four passengers, this Mini is best treated like any other 2-door convertible - with the rear seats used to supplement the small trunk space.
With the roof up, the Cooper Convertible's trunk is uncompromised and offers a meager 7.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity. This may be enough to do a bit of light shopping, but try doing anything practical with the Mini and you're bound to end up frustrated, which defeats the whole point of owning a luxury convertible. Matters only get worse when you drop the top to enjoy the driving experience. This leaves you with 5.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity, barely enough for a single small suitcase. If you really need extra space, the back seat is better suited to luggage than people. Otherwise, the rear seatback has a 50/50 split-folding design so can be tumbled to improve practicality.
Inside the cabin, small-item storage is rather limited, too. As said, the rear seats can double up as emergency storage space, but you also get a pair of cupholders and a small glove compartment. The center console offers some storage bins, but they're too small to really be useful.
While Mini may be a premium brand, and the Cooper Convertible is a pricey lifestyle vehicle, the standard list of features is disappointingly sparse. The interior looks nice, though, with the Mini ambient light system. Apart from this, you get air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dynamic cruise control, push-button start, a power-folding soft-top roof, and a basic safety suite comprising a rearview camera with rear park distance control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. Upgrading to the Cooper S doesn't do much aside from change the engine, but you can access more advanced features by opting for the Signature or Iconic sub-trims. These features include dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel and front seats, a comfort access system, wireless charging, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. You can also get the nifty Mini head-up display with the Iconic sub-trim.
The infotainment system is simplistic but covers the basics. On the plus side, you get a larger 8.8-inch touchscreen this year, and all models have a neat digital gauge cluster. It comes programmed with Bluetooth and AM/FM Radio, as well as HD Radio and the newly standard SiriusXM. To get built-in navigation and Apple CarPlay, you have to option on one of the touchscreen packages, although this requires upgrading to the Signature sub-trim. Unfortunately, Android Auto isn't available. You get a few USB ports and an audio input jack, while a wireless charging pad is available on the Iconic sub-trim. Six speakers comprise the standard audio setup, which is upgraded to a 12-speaker Harman Kardon system when you upgrade to the Iconic.
There is no official dependability rating for the 2022 Mini Cooper Convertible from J.D. Power, though the brand and its parent company, BMW, are not always known for their high reliability expectations. A variety of BMW and Mini products were recalled in 2021 for reasons including airbags that didn't deploy and malfunctioning passenger seatbelts. However, only the seatbelt issue affected the Mini Cooper Convertibe.
Every new Mini is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, while free maintenance is offered for 36,000 miles/three years. Roadside assistance is available for the first four years with unlimited mileage.
As with many luxury vehicles, you won't find a comprehensive review of the Mini Cooper Convertible by the NHTSA. There is an IIHS review of the standard Cooper Hardtop, though. It scored a Good in each of the crashworthiness tests conducted. The convertible is not quite as structurally sound, though, thanks to the soft-top, so you can assume it wouldn't do quite as well in the same tests.
Standard safety systems include stability and traction control, ABS, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with automatic braking. There's rear park assist and dynamic cruise control with automatic braking as standard, too. A head-up display is optionally available. A set of six airbags is included: two standard front, two front knee, and two front side.
The changes to the 2-door Mini Cooper Convertible for 2022 make it an even more compelling purchase, even in the US where the segment is all but extinct. This is not a vehicle designed for everyone, and the pricing shows as much. You don't get a lot of car for your money, and the number of standard features is equally sparse. Instead, everything goes into the premium-quality cabin, the iconic exterior styling, and the punchy engine under the hood.
The base powertrain is nothing special, but it works remarkably well in the light drop-top. For a little more kick, there is an available 2.0-liter four-pot. Unlike the Cooper Hardtop, the convertible is not so much about the thrill of driving. It can be quite fun, especially with the six-speed manual transmission, but it's more of a top-down cruiser with quirky styling.
Ride comfort is not quite on par with what we'd expect from a convertible, especially if you opt for style over function and stick on the larger wheels. Matters are only made worse if you're stuck in the back seat, where space is extremely limited. The trunk suffers from a similar fate, becoming all but useless once you lower the roof. However, if you already have a sensible sedan or crossover, this shouldn't be a problem.
When fun is on the cards and you want people to see you having it, the Mini Cooper Convertible is the perfect choice. It's self-indulgent and utterly silly, and we love it for that. There aren't many capable competitors at a similar price, apart from the Mazda MX-5 Miata, but the two cars are like night and day in terms of personality. So long as you don't need to do anything remotely responsible, the Mini is a great car at a mostly reasonable price.
The price of the Mini Cooper Convertible can be a little difficult to swallow if you're not well-off enough to also afford a practical vehicle like an SUV or crossover. It may not be backbreaking with a starting price of $27,900 but you can get similarly fun cars in hot hatch or sedan guise for a little over $20k. If you want some of the fancier tech that Mini reserves for the sub-trim packages, you'll need to fork over $31,900 for the Signature or $35,900 for the Iconic. If you value fun over money, the four-cylinder engine is only available in the Cooper S, which starts at $31,900. The same sub-trims are offered - $35,900 for the Signature, and $39,400 for the Iconic. These prices are MSRP and do not include registration or licensing, nor Mini's $850 destination charge.
The main difference between the two models is their performance specs. Since this is a car you buy for the heck of it - for unadulterated fun - we'd recommend the Cooper S. It's a significant price hike already, so we'd suggest sticking with the base Classic sub-trim. Mini may be stingy with the nice-to-haves unless you pay extra, but they aren't really worth the money. You get most of the available driver assists as standard, and the few conveniences and comforts you're passing up will hardly be noticed once you start hooning around town.
|Mini Cooper Convertible||134 hp||27/37 mpg||$28,400|
|Mini Cooper Hardtop||134 hp||27/37 mpg||$22,900|
|Mazda MX-5 Miata||181 hp||26/34 mpg||$27,650|
These two Minis are practically identical, with the same selection of engines and the exact same sub-trim packages. However, the hardtop starts at under $20,000, making it far more affordable. Other than this, all that separates them is their style, and a smidge of practicality. Since the hardtop keeps its roof in place, the trunk is never infringed upon, meaning you always have access to the full 8.7 cubic feet of cargo space. However, you can increase this by opting for the 4-door variant, which offers a more appealing 13.1 cubic feet. The rear passengers also benefit from a few extra inches of legroom in this guise. Still, neither car is ever going to compete with a crossover when it comes to moving people and stuff. So, the question you really have to ask yourself is, do you enjoy the feeling of the wind blowing through your hair as you cruise and careen around town? If the answer is yes, then the choice should be obvious.
While not a direct rival to the Mini Cooper, the MX-5 Miata is close enough in terms of size, practicality, and fun to make it a competitor. Because of its slightly larger dimensions, it also gets a more potent engine. The four-cylinder delivers 181 horsepower and sends it to the rear wheels instead of the front. This makes it feel more like a traditional sports car. In line with that, it completely does away with useless rear seats. However, this doesn't mean a larger trunk. In fact, it has less to offer at only 4.6 cubic feet. That aside, the Mazda is a great car that handles beautifully and still delivers that exhilarating top-down experience. It may not be as premium on the inside as the Cooper Convertible, but it comes with more standard safety features and costs a lot less. Which one is the better choice will largely come down to which design ethos resonates more with the buyer; when it comes to driver enjoyment, the Cooper doesn't hold a candle to the Miata.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Mini Cooper Convertible: