In an age of roads populated primarily by cookie-cutter SUVs in varying shades of silver, the Mini Cooper S stands out. That’s especially true for the convertible model, and that alone is enough to seal the deal for some buyers. The fact that it’s a hoot to drive is just a bonus.
For 2022, the Cooper S Convertible gets mild updates, including a digital instrument cluster, LED headlights, lane departure warning and minor styling tweaks. While it has grown over the years, it remains entertaining to drive and is as quirky as ever. For fans of the brand, that’s a relief.
The Cooper S is also one of the very few new cars available with a manual transmission. For drivers who like to handle their own shifting, that is another plus. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is standard for those who prefer the alternative. Our recently tested model had the stick shift.
There’s a lot to like about Mini’s latest droptop, from all the virtues above to a relatively affordable price tag. But before you trot down to the dealer to take the plunge, there are a few things to consider. Here are four things we like, and four we don’t, about the 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible.
Things We Like
1. Fun to Drive
Few new vehicles provide the same kind of driver feedback and fun behind the wheel as the Cooper S Convertible, even when you’re just out running errands at moderate speeds. Selecting the car’s Sport mode livens things up even more with a heftier steering feel, quicker throttle response and a downshift rev-matching feature for manual-equipped models. The ride was firm with our test car’s optional adaptive shock absorbers and 18-inch wheels with summer tires, but the setup delivered minimal body lean in corners.
2. Strong Powertrain
The Cooper S is motivated by a 189-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is more than up to the task of hustling it around. Providing smooth power delivery and a willingness to rev, it has no trouble getting up to speed quickly. With a light clutch and smooth-shifting six-speed manual, the convertible returns an EPA-estimated 23/33/26 mpg city/highway/combined. Opting for the dual-clutch automatic raises estimated fuel economy to 27/36/30 mpg.
3. Welcoming Yet Quirky Interior
The Cooper S Convertible’s cabin is well-finished, if somewhat unique, in mostly good ways. There’s decent space in front, with sport seats that are supportive with good bolstering to keep you in place through corners. Mini design touches include Union Jack accents, a red starter switch and a ring around the multimedia screen that changes color in response to adjustments of things like audio volume and cabin temperature. The standard 8.8-inch touchscreen is easy enough to use, though it is supplemented by a knob and buttons on the console that can be awkward to reach and use.