Since the MINI Cooper S Convertible was recently given a face-lift, is it the convertible you need or does the panoramic roof offer you a better experience?
The latest MINI Cooper S Convertible comes with even more personalisation options than before. The rear lights are LEDs in the shape of the Union Jack, and chrome details are offered in black if you’d rather. While optional touchscreen and wireless phone charging are nice features, the roof is actually the biggest decision you need to make with the new MINI. To truly stand out from the crowd, is a panoramic roof on the 3 and 5-door the better option compared to the convertible?
Traditionally any car that is designed as a coupe and is then converted, suffers. It becomes weak at the knees, the body floats in the bends and the package feels less complete compared to the hardtop version. The added weight to strengthen the chassis traditionally ruins a car’s handling. At 30kg more than the standard car the convertible MINI feels dynamically less sharp in comparison.
While the handling deficit of the convertible will be noticeable on a dry track or B-road the real disappointment comes from theother 360 days a year. Britain is either too cold or too wet to have the roof down, not that this will stop the most hard-core. The roof fabric on the new car is thin, much thinner than most convertible rooves. So when you are moving at pace, the wind and rain on the top are very apparent.
Is the convertible worth it? In the UK we buy more convertibles than our French, Spanish and Italian neighbours. We areever theoptimists, and fans of the underdog. We want to believe that we know best, and that sunshine for two weekends in July is enough to justify the extra £2,500 compared to the 3-door hatch.
In reality you would be better off speccing your MINI Cooper S with a panoramic roof. You can enjoy the sunshine in the day and the stars at night without having to second-guess Mother Nature. The fixed roof with a glass panel mean that the structural rigidity of the coupe is uncompromised, while offering the open-air delights of the cabriolet.
The classic hatch styling of the Cooper S is a thing of beauty, so why not enhance the experience rather than change that gorgeous profile like the convertible? The Panoramic roof option creates an airy cabin like the convertible without having to stow the roof away, which eats into cabin and boot space.
So what if you can’t take the roof down fully? In the UK, we whinge so vociferously when it’s hot that you’d rather have the air-con set to cold than risk getting burned anyway. It could very well be the greatest option MINI has ever offered the Brits.
Keep the fixed roof and save some money for a day out if we get any sun this year. The panoramic roof option will let you enjoy both the sun and your MINI regardless, if we get any sun that is!