First drive: Mini Cooper Convertible
The Cooper ragtop looks fantastic and is also a chick magnet, says Manish Sarser
We know you love the Cooper S. But there are a few other Minis to choose from. So we went and picked up the Cooper Convertible and here’s what we think of the squiggly roof Mini. Park the Convertible anywhere, and we mean anywhere – you become the centre of attention whether you like it or not. Everybody wants to take a look at it even without putting the top down. That chrome grille looks fantastic and we like it even better than that of the Cooper S. As usual, you have to opt for the white go-faster stripes. Our Cooper Convertible came finished in blue and white and we have to say, it looks stunning in every sense of the word.
The top will fold away neatly albeit not completely out of sight, and can be done up to a speed of 30kph. It does look great without the top, but in a city like Mumbai, top down motoring can only really be enjoyed late at night or early mornings. For all those other times, you’ll want to have a roof over your head. At speed, wind noise is kept under check, but car horns will make it into the cabin making you feel like a biker in the middle of a traffic junction. There are rear seats, but they're more like a good way to lose friends if you seat them there. The rear legroom is atrocious, best used to store your Gucci and Prada bags, and pray they don't get stolen at a signal.
Coming to the drive, the Mini Convertible gets the same 1.6-litre mill but without a turbo, so it makes only 122bhp and 160Nm, which isn’t bad until you see the Cooper S gives you 184bhp. Anyway, you get the same six-speed automatic transmission. Shifts are easy and quick enough. In traffic, it’s quite convenient.
And so is the Mini’s size. It feels like a toy, steering is superb and pointy giving the Mini unequivocal love for changing direction. Okay, there is some lack of rigidity that’s prevalent with a ragtop. But it’s okay because the engine won’t overwhelm you. The good bit is that the Convertible rides softer and absorbs the bumps better than the mad Cooper S. So every time you hit a bump, you don't find your vertebrae rearranging themselves.
But all this aside, the Convertible is a style statement, it’s a fashion accessory, which makes it a little girly for some people. To find out more, get the complete story in our June 2012 issue. On stands soon.