There’s an adjustable center armrest between the front seats. It’s a nice touch, but it can get in the way when lifting the parking brake handle. I get that there’s not a lot of room to work with in the cabin, but it’s an unfortunate quirk that could be fixed by Mini switching to an electric parking brake.
Storage space, not surprisingly, is at a premium, with minimal space for stuff in the doors and glove box. Lifting the front center armrest can reveal an optional wireless phone charger; I fit my iPhone 12 in the charger without needing to remove its case, but it was tight.
If you don’t plan on using the backseat, you can fold it to create a storage shelf. The trunk itself is small — 7.6 cubic feet with the top up and 5.7 cubic feet with it down, according to Mini’s measurements — but the convertible includes levers to release the rear section of the power-folding soft top to improve trunk access.
The front sport seats have manual adjustments, including ones for lumbar and thigh support, but some shoppers will expect power adjustments at this price. The seats are supportive, and their side bolsters hold you in place in fast corners.
The Cooper S Convertible’s two-person backseat is about what you’d expect from a diminutive convertible: barely usable for adults. There’s hardly any legroom, and the seat itself isn’t that comfortable. It’ll perhaps be useful in a pinch, but anyone who has to sit back there won’t want to stay for long.
Is It a Good Convertible?
Like the car itself, the Cooper S Convertible’s standard power soft top has some unique characteristics, some of which add to the driving experience and some that detract from it.
In our testing, it took about 16 seconds to lower the top and 13 seconds to raise it. The top also has a sunroof feature, wherein you can retract the portion over the front seats but leave the rest of it in place. An optional Mini Yours top features a Union Jack emblem in gray across its entirety.
Outward visibility typically improves when a convertible’s top is lowered, and while that’s true for the Cooper S Convertible’s over-shoulder views — particularly when looking to the right — its rear visibility is significantly compromised. The culprit is the folded top, which sits behind the rear seats and blocks your view of what’s immediately behind the car. The standard backup camera helps when reversing, but rear visibility is actually better when the top is up — and, ironically, the rearview mirror creates forward visibility challenges by frequently hiding cars from view.
The Convertible’s body structure isn’t particularly rigid, either. The windshield pillars and rearview mirror shake when driving on bumpy roads, and I noticed some squeaks in the cabin.
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Safety and Driver-Assist Features
The 2022 Cooper S convertible hasn’t been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The convertible’s standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking system was rated advanced by IIHS out of a possible basic, advanced or superior.
Should You Buy the Cooper S Convertible?
The Cooper S Convertible is engaging to drive, it has unique styling cues and offers interesting personalization options. It has its share of quirks, too, and whether you find them charming or annoying will be a good indicator of whether it’s the right convertible for you.
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