MINI Cooper Convertible



  • blackhatblackhat Member Posts: 34
    I visited a Mini dealership today. They were "introducing" the Mini convertibles.

    Cool car! I am torn between getting a convertible or Cooper hard top. My girlfriend wants me to get the hard top and load it up... the convertible is like a $3,500.00 "option". "Cool blue" is not going to be offered with the hard top version in 2005. It's a convertible-only color for the Cooper convertible.... and that's the color I want.

    The only negative I have to say about the convertible is that your rear vision is compromised by the rear seat safety bars, and with the folded-back top (when it is down). I think I can live with these things.

    I'll have to see as the time draws near when I can actually get one.

    Anyone out there have a Mini in southern California - L.A. county, to be specific? Do you have an auto or the 5-speed? With all the freeway driving I do every day, I am being strongly urged to consider the CVT auto transmission. I really want a stick shift for my next car (cheaper, for one thing, and I've been driving auto matic for the past 4+ years). I prefer driving a car as opposed to a car driving me.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    FWIW, the blind spots on a smaller car will be less of a hassle. You don't need much room to get around.

    I believe you get more sun and mild weather than we do here in DC, so you should get plenty of use out of that top.

  • blackhatblackhat Member Posts: 34
    Yeah, I need to go onto and configure a few convertibles on the "build your own" section, once it's up and running.

    Convertible AND automatic... that's $4800.00 more right off the bat.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I've been debating getting a 4 seat convertible to replace the Miata since I have 2 kids, but I'm not sure a booster seat would fit in a Mini convertible. I'll have to check one out, though.

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 44,064
    also, are you concerned with utility (either rear seat passengers or cargo carrying)? The hatch is pretty useful with the rear seat down, but I believe the convert won't be too good in that regard.

    Juice, I looked at Minis (coupes) and unless you are short, even kids won't have enough leg room.

    SOrta off topic, but there are a few mini-competitors in the works that might have a bit more rear seat room: Focus (euro only of course), Volvo C70 (guess the same basic platform as the Focus), and the VW concept.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I know that, just living in denial. Any chance the convertible will have more legroom in the back? ;-)

    A co-worker dumped her C70 convertible at a huge loss, timing was off, though.

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 44,064
    I doubt that the convert will have more rear leg room. At best, it will be the same, but often you lose a little bit of leg and shoulder room.

    To me, the mini is a 4 seat Miata coupe with emergency use rear seats, and a large cargo box. Using this logic, the Mini convertible is the bigger Miata that some people are looking for (and yes, I know about the FWD).

    Maybe BMW will bring over the 1-series convertible to be the Minis big brother? Of course, the 3 series is already short on rear seat room.

    Things are tough for those of us that want it all!

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 44,064
    since there is an active thread comparing the new Scion tC to the Mini, maybe Toy (er, Scion) can make a convertible version of hte tC? The kids should like that, and the old people like me that are actually buying the car will too.

    Big difference between the Mini (no leg room) and the tC (limo like rear leg room, at least for a small coupe) in accomodations in the rear. If a tC convertible kept the same proportions, it would offer the rear leg room that the Mini lacks.

    Actually, Acura should offer an RS-X convertible, but nobody asked my opinion.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I want a 7 seater convertible that handles like my Miata for free. Am I asking for too much? LOL

    I'd love to see Scion do a convertible. I'm not sure the square xB shape would adapt well, so maybe a tC convertible?

  • blackhatblackhat Member Posts: 34

    I sat in the new convertible yesterday.... One of the things that hit me immediatley was, "man, if I have passengers, they ain't gonna have much leg room back there!"

    I'm under 6' tall, so I have no worries for myself.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'm sure it's really a 2 seater.

    What would actually fit 4? Sebring and Solara seem a bit dull, and I hated the PT Cruiser interior.

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 44,064
    Ah, one reason I gave up and bought the Scion. I couldn't bring myself to drop 30K on a Solara (just too boring).

    The 3 series is the best overall package, but still small back seat and trunk, and way expensive.

    If you can handle the looks/image, the Beetle is a possibility, although I don't think it has much trunk room (a common failing).

    I'm interested to see the new Volvo, but I imagine it will be 30K++, and still not particularly large in the back.

    Bring back the '68 Olds 442 convertible. Plenty of trunk and back seat room, and fast to boot.

    Or, convince Toyota to do a S/C solara, 6 speed stick, with a serious suspension upgrade. Or maybe Chrysler can drop the Hemi into an AWD Sebring.

    Or maybe you can get the Mini and tell the kids to sit on their feet.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The Volvo would have been used, and mostly because the opportunity sorta fell on my lap (cherry car driven by older lady with few miles at a low price).

  • blackhatblackhat Member Posts: 34
    Didn't mean to discourage you from the Mini..... I didn't actually sit in the back seat - just the front. So, I can't cast accurate judgement on this feature. It just seemed to me - going soley on looking - that it would be a "snug" experience for most.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,133
    Now that this car is hitting the lots, we'll be moving this discussion over to the Coupes board, probably tomorrow.


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  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'll bring my 5 year old and check one out.

    Maybe we could get away without using a booster seat? Is that even safe, though?

    I'll check it out.

  • blackhatblackhat Member Posts: 34
    It's funny... when we were kids, there WERE no booster seats! My brothers and sister and I just piled into my dad's Crown Victoria station wagon and sat wherever - on my mom's lap, or way in the back facing out the rear!

    What changed, I often wonder. Crazier drivers today?... and more of them?

    Hope you can get your Mini convertible. I won't be certain on whether or not I'll be getting one, or a hard top, until next Spring.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Oh, I'm just casually looking around. I doubt I'll trade the Miata any time soon. Just thinking (way) ahead.

  • blackhatblackhat Member Posts: 34
    Me, too.... thinking WAY ahead. I won't get a Mini until around this time next year - if I can time my order right!
  • checkitoutcheckitout Member Posts: 15
    I have two kiddos, 4 and 2 yo respectively. I want a fun, great handling car, preferably a sporty 4 seater convertible.

    Juice, how do you do it with the Miata? (hoping to come up with an excuse for the wife). When you need to pick up your kids, do you go home and then get your 4 seater?

    I will check out the Mini S convertible. I am also looking at the RX-8, the Legacy GT and others. I know the cars should not compare, but they do because all of them are fun and seat 4. Also the price should be below 30K, plus or minus 1-2k.
  • minime5minime5 Member Posts: 41
    Hey Check -
    I currently have a Mini Cooper, and regularly have my 8 year old in the back seat. There's plently of room for him back there (alot more than you think with the way the back seats are designed). I test drove a MCS Convertible over the weekend, and the room is almost the same. My son sat in the back for that, and said it was great...You should have no problem with your children for many years....
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I have 3 cars, so the Miata is my errand car/personal commuter. The wife usually picks the kids up, or they car pool.

    I'll take the 5 year old on quick rides to the neighborhood swimming pool, stuff like that, but not for longer distances (even though there is no passenger air bag on my 1993 Miata).

    We own a beach condo and the nice, mild summer weather had us thinking how nice it would be for all four of us to go there in a drop top.

    Just day dreaming basically. I'm happy with the Miata, it serves its purpose (3rd car) quite well.

  • ckurt25ckurt25 Member Posts: 2
    I know theres not going to be much space in the trunk of the convertable but I'm wondering if anyone has gotten a good look. My girlfriend has a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder and she's got a bit of room back there, enough to fit a couple sets of golf clubs. Right now I'm driving a Jeep Wranger. Love the 4x4 convertable thing but hate that it gets 17mpg. I've got just enough "trunk" space to put a gallon of milk, loaf of bread and a bag of chips. If the Mini can hold a set of golf clubs it'll be my next vehicle. If not I'll just have to keep dreaming.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    In the back seat only, is my guess.

  • crunchcrunch Member Posts: 84
    The MINI will hold the golf clubs ONLY if the back seats are folded flat. To be more specific, no way that a set of golf clubs will fit just in the boot with the seats up. They might fit upright in the back seat with the top down!!
  • ckurt25ckurt25 Member Posts: 2
    Yep, checked one out at Motot City Mini (Rochester Hills, MI) yesterday and there is about 35" in the trunk. Not even close for clubs. BTW - the dealer said 90 days out for orders and priced at MSRP for those of you interested in the Detroit area.
  • checkitoutcheckitout Member Posts: 15
    Thanks for the responses.

    It is good to know that my kids will fit.

    Now I gotta try it. I will try the RX8 as well.

    Does anyone know of a funner, sporty 4 seater convertible out there for less than 35K?

    I know this is a personal question, but does anyone think the RX8 is more of a blast to drive, and why? TIA.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    To me the freedom of an open top cannot be replaced by any coupe or hatch, no matter how sporty.

    It feels like I'm going faster at 25mph in my Miata with the top down than at 75mph with a closed car.

  • checkitoutcheckitout Member Posts: 15
    I bet the fact that the Miata is way low also helps in the subjective appreciation of speed.


    I forgot to mention that I am 6'4". I've read that I would fit comfortably in a MINI, but then I am concerned if my kids in their car seats would suffer from a lack of space. Before I buy I will take the kids and try it out, but I am wondering if anyone has any experience. TIA
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Let us both know! I have 2 kids also.

    Agree fully on the ride height comment, BTW.

  • cargal2cargal2 Member Posts: 36

    Just test drove a mini convertible tonight. Expected to take it around the block, nothing more. The dealer put the top down. I made a right out of the lot driveway, and never wanted to come back!!!!! It was just awesome to drive. The car felt so much bigger than it looks. Wasn't chilly with the top down, either. Was looking to check out an automatic, but it won't be available in this model until the middle to end of November.... Ne'er fear, the stick was a dream to use... You should see how the trunk works, it's so cooool!

    I found this site with all sorts of pics from various angles of the Mini convertible. They were taken at the March, 2004 Geneva International Motor Show.

    Okay, so I've been bitten by the bug. I don't care what I need to take with me, and if doesn't have the room of an SUV.... It's like I must consider living my life, top down?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I gotta say, it's fun just reading your post, feeling the enthusiasm.

    Get one. You only life once, man!

    Which story do you want to tell your grandkids, that you bought a practical car, or that you owned one of the original Cooper drop-tops?

    They might leave the room if you choose wrong. ;-)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Wow, tons of pics.

    The back seat looks bolt-upright. I don't think my kid's booster seat would even fit in properly. Also, the rear seat base is really sculpted.

    I wonder if Mini will have a custom-fit booster. Or even if the kids will fit in the regular seat without a booster (safely).

    Seat width might also be an issue. I doubt I could squeeze in 2 child seats side by side.

    It does look bigger than I thought, though. I'll take the kids to the next car show and we'll test fit one for kicks.

    Are they in dealers yet?

  • cargal2cargal2 Member Posts: 36

    My dealer gave me the pleasure of tooling around this afternoon in a different mini convertible. Gosh... It's such a terrific car. I also took it on the highway, and didn't feel too much buffeting. It's so cool to have different options for the roof from top down, to up, to half-open. You can also have the windows open and closed for a different effect, too.

    The backseat looks kind of sloped to me, when I think about it.

    There is a special latch that moves the seat forward and down to get in the back. I saw someone else try it, and they had a full-size adult in the back.

    The dealer I was at today, has three or 4 convertibles: Cool blue with a blue top, purple haze with a black top, all black, an orange and black one (I think), and a Mini S which is about $31,000.

    Oh, I don't know what to do. It's roomy, but as much as they try to make the trunk practical, I fear I won't have enough room for groceries, etc. Of course, you can put the seats down. The hatchback seems much bigger inside, in the back that is.

    What was nice of this dealership is that they allowed me to test-drive the hardtops in comparison: two automatics (one with 15 and the other with 16 inch wheels), and a stick. I would really prefer to have an automatic, but the stick drove better in the hardtop. The 15 inch wheels made much less road-noise. The stick in the hardtop was a little harder than the stick in the convertible....

    Decisions, decisions, decisions... We'll see. I understand that they can be okay in the snow.... If I kept the top down, I wouldn't have much of a problem in getting things in and out of the car.

    Lastly, I drive into the City alot. What's nice about the mini convertible, especially, is that I can sit in traffic, etc. and just keep the roof half-open to avoid being mugged.... This is why this convertible appeals to me the most....

    Call around Juice, and see if your local people have the convertible in!

    One last thing, though.... The downside for getting the convertible and driving around with kids is that it doesn't seem to have rear side air-bags available, yet (only front and front side). You would have to check the specs on the Cooper S convertible, to see if it's equipped with them.
  • blackhatblackhat Member Posts: 34
    Hi, cargal2.

    What did you think of the "purple haze" color? Was it REALLY purple - as in violet? Or was it more of a blue-ish purple? Pics I have seen make it look both(!).

    Whether I get a convertible or a hard top is up in the air. But, I want to know in my head what color I am going to choose.

    I think I need to see these new colors in-person.
  • cargal2cargal2 Member Posts: 36
    Hey hat,

    Well...When I first saw the 'purple haze' I couldn't really see it in the dark. I saw it yesterday, and really liked the color on the hardtop with a white roof. The color is like an iridescent plum... If you know anything about fabrics, it has the two-tone sheen like a dupioni silk. It looks different in different lights.

    I drove the convertible in the purple haze. It had a black roof. I don't know, I think I liked the "cool blue" color better in the convertible.

    Maybe, if the purple haze had a blue roof, I would have liked it better.

    There are a couple of sites which has all kinds of stickers to decorate your mini...

    In my dreams, if I buy the hardtop purple haze with the white roof, I'd want the black and white checkered mirrors, and sunroof... I don't think, I could pass up those bonnet stripes, too!

    Hat, if you really like the purple haze, you could gussy it up, too.

    Anywho, I brought someone with me, yesterday to look at them. She didn't like the rear window.... Many blind-spots when it's up. I guess, it can be dangerous in the winter.

    Mini's gimmick is to have new owners' sign a 90/10% agreement... They insist the car can be driven in snow and rain, and you won't get wet after 35 mph.

    How you get the roof open from 3-34 mph is the question.... It won't fully open or close if you're driving over 3 mph. Sure, the sunroof opens at any speed, and the windows open and close, but then, you can hardly see how the back. Sunroof open, or top up, it's very tough to look out the little back window and over those rear head-rests/roll-bars.

    Maybe this is why, Mini insists upon keeping the roof open?

    Included, Park distance control won't help on the highway.

    I've been running searches to see if there special mirrors can be added to improve matters. The SM showed me little convex mirrors that can be applied to the side-views; it still doesn't help the butt..

    I like the way the convertible drives, better than any of the other minis. Solid, smooth, very-easy shift, it's a dream to drive. To me, it's even better than the hardtop S!

    In the hardtop, I noticed the 15 inch tires give alot smoother ride. The 16s were fine for the convertible.

    Does anybody know of any special accessories to help me deal with the back?! Which federal agency approves of the new cars that can be sold, and don't they watch out for these kind of things?

    Oh, I just love the car... I just don't know..

    Hope that helps, Hat?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Car & Driver reports from their experience that the Mini is fairly treacherous in the snow. You might want to check out their current issue and the longterm report on the car and see what you think of their explanation on the subject.
  • blackhatblackhat Member Posts: 34
    Hi, cargal...

    Thanks for your input!

    I took a drive to the local Mini dealership out here (I'm in So. Cal.) to see what colors they had.

    They had a purple haze w/white top (and another with body color top) out in the lot. In the broad daylight, purple haze is certainly purple! It's a cool color but I don't think I'd be happy with it for more than a month. Not for me. Wish Mini went a midnight blue route for the '05 Cooper. HOWEVER...

    I think I know what I'm going to order next year..... I'm going to get an "astro black" with chrome mirror caps, white racing striped, and a checkered sunroof graphic (since I can't have a checkered ROOF with a sunroof). I saw a silver Mini with the checkered roof, and both my girlfriend and I thought it was a very cool look.

    I hear astro black has some blue in it(???), so I think that would be the wise choice for me. I've never had a black car before (have had two red cars, two blue cars, a green car, and a burgundy car in my day), so astro black sounded good to me.

    Had I decided to get a convertible - which is not looking too promising at the moment (would rather load-up a Cooper hard top than have a sparsely equipped drop top), I'd have gone with "cool blue" with a black top. Saw one at a Mini convertible "introductory event" out here, and loved that color! Too bad "cool blue" isn't offered in the Cooper hard top. I'd be there without a doubt!

    See yuh! Good luck with your Mini purchase!
  • cargal2cargal2 Member Posts: 36
    Hi Mr. Shiftright,

    Thanks for the reference. I did check out the C & D article online. I see where the testers wrote about the problems with the Mini in snow, with snowtires. I wonder why some of that thought seemed truncated.

    I went to the end of the article, and saw a footnote about the problem. Something is not completely clear about it. Why didn't they talk more about how it handled in the snow, rather than a passing reference to it, here?

    I thought I'd post it for your thoughts. Thanks for warning me!

    P.S. I found the 15 inch tires gave a much softer ride than the 16 inch run-flats. Don't know what to do without a spare, though.

    From Car and Driver:

    "TIRES: When the Mini arrived here in March 2003, it wore Dunlop SP Sport 5000 DSSTs (for Dunlop Self-Supporting Technology, or "run-flats"). By the time the snow began piling up in November, the Mini got new boots for Christmas in the form of Bridgestone Blizzak WS-50s measuring the same 195/55R-16 as the original-equipment Dunlops. On snow and ice, the Blizzaks were awesome, but when the pavement dried out, the logbook quickly filled with criticism of the blocky-treaded tires that were literally hell on wheels. One editor said it rode "like a '70s Vette" and another thought the car was so darty that something had broken in the suspension. As soon as the snow melted, we put the OEM Dunlops back on, but they were soon down to the wear bars with less than 29,000 miles on them, so we replaced them with Goodyear Eagle NCT EMTs. After the Blizzaks and the worn-out Dunlops, the Mini's poise was back to "normal," and the Eagles were praised for their wet-road traction. They also netted us a 0.01-g improvement in final skidpad testing."
  • stryderstryder Member Posts: 140
    Haven't posted in a while, but noticed the new convertible article, so figured I'd stop in.

    I'm highly confused about C&D's snow handling critique. On my '02 MC, I had WS-50s, and they handled very well on snow and ice, but maybe I wasn't pushing them enough to get 'darty' performance out of them, or maybe because I bought an extra set of 15" wheels (vs the 16s it came with), and thus had a bit more sidewall I never really found the dry weather a problem with the snow tires. In any event, if you worry about dry weather performance of your snow tires, perhaps you bought the wrong tires? If you live somewhere where its dry much of the winter, maybe you should get more performance oriented snows, vs the Ice tire, as Bridgestone advertises the Blizzak as. I haven't decided what to put on my '05 MCS this winter yet, but as an example, I see no reason to not go with 15" Blizzak WS-50s again, and I know many people with similiar setups.

    Great review on the convertible, but a few minor points:

    1. For 2005, all the cars (hard top + convertible) have the new, 3 spoke steering wheel. Its not unique to the convertible, and the old 2 spoke is no longer available.
    2. Isn't it worth mentioning park distance control comes standard on a convertible to offset the visibility problems, at least when backing up?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    PDC, that's funny, the car is so tiny! :-)

    It should be standard on every full-size SUV!

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,257
    I'm afraid if I stop to drive a Cooper S Convertible the 3 series will end up on the lot and I'll be on my way home top down!

    One thing that concerns me is the power of the Cooper S. Anyone know of warrantied mods that will give the car decent power? 0-60 in 7 seconds is excrutiatingly slow for my tastes.
  • crunchcrunch Member Posts: 84
    The only warrantied mod that I am aware of is the John Cooper Works kit. $4500.00 + 10 to 12 hours labor to install at your dealers rates. Will bring the 0 to 60 down to the low 6(s) but IMHO no mods will add enough torque to this tiny motor for times in the 5(s).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You've got some expensive taste!

    Try an SLK350 or Boxster, S2000 maybe. Not a lot of convertibles in the 5s.

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,257
    Yikes, that's like 6k or so extra. With options I'd be looking at 37k for a mini (I optioned one on and it came out to 31k). Ayecarumba.

    SLK350 is nice but over 40k seems crazy for a brand as junky as MB.

    S2000 is pretty sweet. I'm betting I could find a used one in the 20s.

    Boxster = fake, ugly Porsche.

    I'm in no hurry, just enamored with the look of the Mini and its size. Tiny, yet can seat four in a pinch.
  • crunchcrunch Member Posts: 84
    Did someone tell you that MINIs were cheap? Just Kidding. I'll bet if you go back and try really hard you can get it up to 40K before taxes! Yikes indeed!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    What can we say? Supply and demand. Dealers are still getting full list price in some areas. For the coupe. Never mind the drop top.

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,257
    Guess if the Werks package is available for the convertible, I'll probably forgo some other element - like the aero kit.

    I gotta stop by Brecht Mini and test one.
  • stryderstryder Member Posts: 140
    Brecht probably isn't your best option for finding an affordable car, at last check they were still charging over MSRP, because they could.

    Anyway, the other waranteed option would be Dinan. If you get their new (only a few months old) upgrade package installed by a Dinan dealer, they'll match the MINI warranty, so essentially if its not covered by MINI, its covered by Dinan. Also a bit cheaper then JCW, but lack the prestige and its so new, you're relying more on Dinan's reputation then the experience of the few thousand who have had the JCW kit done.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,257
    I wouldn't buy from Brecht (I had a bad experience with an ignorant salesperson when shopping for my Bimmer and thus I will never buy from them), but I will test drive a car there. :)
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