Revised Mini Convertible Headed for Tokyo Debut

The sun seeking Mini model receives fresh new exterior styling, giving it a familiar but more mature appearance.

Greg Kable

October 22, 2015

3 Min Read
Singleframe grille new headlamps hallmarks of redesigned Mini Convertible
Single-frame grille, new headlamps hallmarks of redesigned Mini Convertible.

STUTTGART – The third-generation Mini Convertible is revealed in a series of official photographs issued ahead of a planned public debut for the compact 4-seater at the Tokyo auto show this month.

Set to reach North American showrooms during first-half 2016, the new Convertible is the latest in a quartet of models to join the current Mini lineup, following the 3-door hardtop, 5-door hardtop and recently introduced Clubman.

The ʼ16 Convertible will be sold with an initial choice of two gasoline engines in the U.S.: a 134-hp turbocharged 1.5L 3-cyl. in the Cooper and more powerful 189-hp turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. in the Cooper S.

Other powerplants, including a 228-hp turbo I-4 gasoline unit in a range-topping John Cooper Works model, are planned to be added to the lineup during second-half 2016, according to BMW officials. A hardtop of the 228-hp JCW model already is on sale.

Gearbox choices include a standard 6-speed manual and optional 6-speed automatic – the latter available with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. An electronic differential lock, along with dynamic stability control and traction control, are included on all models as standard.

In Cooper S form with a manual gearbox, Mini claims its new Convertible hits 62 mph (100 km/h) from standstill in 7.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 143 mph (230 km/h), beating its predecessor by a scant 0.1 second and 3 mph (5 km/h). Combined fuel economy on the European test cycle is put at 39.2 mpg (6.0 L/100 km).

Reflecting the changes brought to its 2-door hardtop sibling, the new Mini Convertible is 3.9 ins. (99.1 mm) longer, 1.7 ins. (43.2 mm) wider and 0.3 ins. (7.6 mm) taller than its predecessor at 150.4 ins. (3,820 mm), 68.0 ins. (1,727 mm) and 55.7 ins. (1,415 mm), respectively.

The sun-seeking Mini model also receives fresh new exterior styling, giving it a familiar but more mature appearance. Included is a more distinctive front end featuring a larger single-frame grille, altered headlamps, added structure within the front wheel arches and lower section of the doors, a more heavily raked windscreen, larger tail lamps and wider cargo area.

The new Convertible receives a heavily revised automatic cloth roof said to open and close in 18 seconds at the press of a button at speeds up to 19 mph (31 km/h). As before, the multilayer structure folds and stows in an exposed position above the trunk at the rear.

Safety enhancements include a single-piece roll bar that extends from behind the rear seats when sensors detect a possible rollover.

The adoption of BMW’s new high-strength steel UKL platform structure sees a 1.1-in. (27.9 mm) increase in the wheelbase along with track widths that are increased in length by 1.7 ins. (43.2 mm) at the front and 1.3 ins. (33.0 mm) at the rear.

Mini says the new structure provides added rigidity and stiffness than the platform used by the second-generation Convertible in a move claimed to reduce cowl shake and improve handling.

The use of reinforcing structural elements and other stiffening measures within the floorpan and bulkheads has led to a 254-lb. (115-kg) increase in weight over the 2-door hardtop at 2,811 lbs. (1,275 kg) for the Convertible Cooper S.

The larger external dimensions are reflected within the interior, with the front seats receiving added longitudinal adjustment and the rear seats benefitting from a 1.3-in. (33.0-mm) increase in shoulder room.

Luggage capacity is 7.6 cu.-ft. (215 L) with the roof up – 1.2 cu.-ft. (34 L) more than before. With the roof stowed, trunk space is reduced to 5.7 cu.-ft. (161 L).

Among the standard equipment on models bound for the U.S. will be a 6.5-in. (16.5-cm) infotainment monitor, Bluetooth connectivity with a USB audio connection, rear parking distance control and a rearview camera.

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