LET’S MOTOR IN A ROADSTER: Not many in the motoring world can rival the sense of privilege offered by the haughtiest of British vehicular marques given their decadence and accomplished heritages. However, it required a super affordable U.K. made, front drive compact, feeding post World War II demand, to ultimately offer a British state of sporty driving mind to the masses.
Notwithstanding a Countryman crossover cave-in on their showroom floors, under continued Bavarian tutelage, the fourth generation of Mini Cooper had to advance its sporty compact car value to British prestige price ratio. An updated 2022 MINI Cooper S Convertible 6-Speed arrives to keep both #SaveTheManuals and affordable 2+2 drop top thirsty quenched.
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WHAT: 2022 MINI Cooper S Convertible 2+ [pre-teen] 2 subcompact convertible coupe F57 = Mark 3.5, based off the MINI Cooper S 2-door hatchback.
Standard S-trim Power: 2.0L DOHC 16V DI intercooled turbocharged gas I-4 = 189 hp/ 20 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm + 6-speed manual helical transaxle; optional 7-speed dual clutch helical automatic w/ shift paddles
MINI Drive Modes x 3 = Green, Normal, Sport
Base model Power: 2.0L DOHC 16V DI intercooled turbocharged gas I-4 = 134 hp/ 162 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: Not much has changed on the outside since the 3rd generation MINI Cooper convertible appeared in 2014. MINI Coopers are the wide hexagonal jaw sinister grimace to the late VW Beetle’s oblique type of Smiley Face. The test vehicle’s Zesty Yellow pastel paint job contrasted by grey on black Union Jack power folding soft top and dark bladed wheels make imbue this cutie with menace. Grille frames are fully piano black, fully encasing the cross beam lower fascia, revised front bumper covers have a wider body colored mid-section and there’s a wisp of dark corner inward arrow brake cooling duct. Lighting housings and door handles are now darkened, while wing mirror caps are body colored. The darkened bow-tie lower rear fascia survives without corner reflectors. Rear tailamps illuminate in a Union Jack motif.
MINI Coopers Are All About; Clamshell sloping single valley hood with center triangular plateau followed by snorkel inlet; Oval angel-eyes LED DRL ringed headlights with integral foglights; Hexagonal grille housing extends lower, integrating with contrasting black upper bumper cover; Dark lattice upper grille insert featuring “S” emblem; ark grey lower body cladding, wide at the wheel arches w/ rectangular front directionals, rear reflectors; Slab sided w/ a tall beltline & chrome cowl strip; Door mounted wing mirrors; Convertible MINI Coopers feature a slightly canted short convertible trunk lid w/ gloss black handle above a wide license plate bowl. Upright trapezoid LED taillamps wrap around; Body color bumper covers feature “bow-tie” lower fascia inserts.
Union Jacks (where the famed British emblem can be found): “MINI Yours” Gray on black power folding soft top roof; taillamp illumination, seat headrests (cabin)
WHY: Because the Mazda MX-5 Miata lacks a back seat.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Summer 2021
WHERE: MINI new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Born, Netherlands
WHERE TO: Open differential front-wheel drive, w/ brake controlled front wheel torque vectoring.
HOW ROADWORTHY: The 2022 MINI Cooper S Convertible sequential twin-scroll turbocharged B48A20M1 straight gasoline four has an affinity for being wound out yet preaches with a broad torque band that doesn’t expire prematurely. Rowing a heavy resistance shift lever with vagueness to navigate the six transmission gears is not ideal for track school, though clutch take-up is sufficiently short and light for street driving. Hopes should not be raised for a John Cooper Works short throw shifter, as that trim is now exclusively torque converter automatic driven. But compliments are due a Cooper S specific exhaust which breathes an charismatic burble on ignition.
Rolling with 18″ alloys & 40-series Pirelli PZero runflats, the MINI Cooper S Convertible‘s vertical body motion control is quite competent. Despite the chopped roof configuration, the optional electronic dynamic damping truly takes most of the edge off impacts from deeper road crevices. The latest Cooper S drop-top still can be counted on for near Go-Kart reactive steering, with attendant rapid winding once past the meaty resistance. The latest electric powered rack is even up to transmitting feel. Disc rotors at the corners exhibit reactive bite even as tire tread hardened in colder ambient temps.
-1 What’s with the constant low pitch wind whistle permeating the cabin with roof raised?
HOW FAR: 28 combined miles per gallon; 360 miles highway range
HOW BIG/ LITTLE:
√ Strictly a 2 Plus squeezed in teen 2 occupant deal where a snap in 2nd Row airfoil will gladly fill up the rear most of the time; √ Fold & slide front seats for 2nd Row ingress; -1 Rear seat cushion dips, forcing knees up; back so coifs.
HOW USEFUL: √ Small carpeted trunk; √ 50/50% split 2nd Row seatbacks trunk pass through; √ Cup holders x 3; √ Door pockets; √ 2nd Row aft front seat back pockets x 2, Tow Rating: Not Rated
- +1 has door pockets & embedded cup holders lacking in Mazda MX-5 Miata
- –1 Forward visibility from low seat position; Outward rear visibility from thick seat headrests, wide side pillars & small backlight; Tiny trunk barely exceeds Mazda MX-5’s, except when 2nd Row airfoil is stowed.
HOW SAFE: √ 6 airbags; √ Rear camera; sonar front & rear audible Park Distance Control; √ Active roll-over twin rear hoop deployment; √ Automatic high beam headlamps; √ Rain sensing windshield washers; √ Heated headlamp washers; IIHS = Good marks across board
Advanced Driver Assistance: MINI Active Driving Assistant: √ Forward traffic, cross traffic & pedestrian warning; √ Lane Departure warning; This is a manual transmission enthusiast roadster after all.
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: The exterior “Toothy Smiley Grimace” theme seeps inside the 2022 MINI Cooper S Convertible while embracing instrument modernity, precision controls and premium materials. For greater convenience the I-Drive infotainment menus is simplified. A new wide 8.0″ inch eliptical TFT instrument panel is more cohesive and comprehensive. Tradition dictates a huge center stack dial, with jukebox style variable color illuminated ring, now containing a split screen rectangular LCD touch and remote media display. Ditto, toggle switches, a heartbeat alternating brightening / dimming ignition toggle, Union Jack emblems in items from headrests to magnetic seat belt strap fasteners. Door panel latches replicate the keyfob’s semi-circles, while elliptic shape steering wheel spoke bezels, A-pillar speaker grilles, armrests and front bucket seat adjustment levers.
√ One touch power convertible top operation; “MINI Yours” leather seating; w/ front seat knee extensions; √ Keyless entry; √ 4 power windows, w/ full up/ down express & auto receding upon top lowering; √ Driver’s door puddle lamp; √ Driver’s outboard sun visor; √ Cruise control; √ 2-Zone automatic climate control.
Cool Gizmo(s): √ Discus Keyfob; √ revised Wurlitzer jukebox motif variable color LED ringed infotainment display; √ Driver’s side MINI winged logo puddle lamp; √ Onboard feature video tutorials w/ UHD graphics
Details Done Right: √ Center stack & overhead console gated toggle switches; √ Glowing red illuminated keyless ignition; √ Variable color full cabin ambient lighting; √ Tilt / telescope steering wheel = perforated leather rim inserts, w/ dorsal finger indentations; √ Robust wearing, supple feeling, precision stitched leather
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Hard plastic front seat backs advertise scuffs. Power windows will not automatically fully raise to seal upon raising convertible top.
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ 8.8″ tri-pan,e landscape touch & remote controlled LCD infotainment screen; √ I-Drive center console rotary knob remote infotainment control w/ touch pad & dedicated function buttons; √ Voice command hands-free communications; √ 3-D HDD GPS voice command & guidance navigation; √ Subscription based Sirius XM radio; √ 12 speakers, 360 Watts Harman Kardon streaming audio; √ MINI Connected Apps; √ Apple Car Play; USB x 2, 12V x 2; √ Qi wireless device inductive charger
- +/- wireless Apple CarPlay optional w/ Navigation Pkg.; Optional audio still struggles to overcome some top down wind and road noise
- -1 No Android Auto, Swaps some physical audio controls for touch + haptics ones
HOW MUCH: $41,750 = as tested 2022 MINI Cooper S Convertible 6-Speed manual
WHAT’S MISSING: Better sealing cloth top; Wider front and more pliant seat cushions; Less sensitive & deafening Park Distance Control alarm; Android Auto; Old MINI Office email & SMS messaging app.
ANY COMPETITION: Mazda MX-5 Miata: +1 : shifting precision, rear wheel drive dynamics
BOTTOM LINE: Go karting, al fresco, atop very short list of 2+2 ragtops with manual transmission.