By Cars.com EditorsAugust 9, 2016
About the video
Mini updated its convertible for 2016, but most of the big changes are under the hood with two new engines joining the lineup. The convertible's power folding cloth top impresses, but forward and rear visibility are a sore spot.
(car engine starting) (upbeat music) For 2016, MINI has updated it's Cooper convertibles. It's gotten a little bit bigger in every direction, but the real news is under the hood where we have two new engines.
One is a turbocharged 134-horsepower 3-cylinder engine that regular Coopers get, and then, like we have here, the Cooper S gets 189-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Overall, I really liked what BMW has done with this engine. It's very good away from lights, which is kind of unusual for small turbocharge engine. One thing I did notice though, on the highway, when I wanted to make a pass, I noticed I was way out in the rev range. It's not really a bad thing, but it is something you notice the more time you spend in the Cooper. Overall, though, it's a good engine. (Cooper convertible engine roars) Now for my time driving the mini convertible, I can say there's one thing it does really well, and one area where as a convertible, it really struggles. Where the Cooper convertible really excels is as a convertible. And by that, I mean, you're really exposed to the elements. There are a lot of other competitors out there that have a windshield it's like right here, it's right in your forehead. And so you never really get that sense of true open air feeling. That's just not the case here. Another neat trick is it has what they call a sunroof function. So you can sort of close the top to about right here. You still have a lot of open air over your head. What's nice about that is you can close the sunroof at any speed. The top can only be shot if you're going around 18 miles an hour or less. Where the Cooper convertible really struggles is in the area of visibility. Now, looking out the front, this windshield bar is just in the wrong place. You can't really see stoplights at all. And that's a problem whether you have the top down or if the top is up, it's obviously going to be a lot worse. Either way, it's not great. Also at the back with the top-down, you really can't see anything. The top just sits too high. And for that, to be able to see anything you're going to need a backup camera and that's an extra cost option. So those are just a few of the things that we like and we don't like about the 2016 Cooper convertible. Now, the thing is, as much as I like the engines and the open air experience, the fact is, it faces some stiff competition in the segment from cars such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Fiat 500c Abarth. For more detailed information on that, You'll need to check out my review at cars.com. (car engine roars) (car trunk closes)