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2016 Mini Cooper Convertible

2016 Mini Cooper Convertible

2018 facelift adds drivetrain upgrades and new features

Affordable convertibles have been dropping like flies in recent years, including the Volkswagen Eos, Chrysler 200 Convertible and Nissan Murano CC. But, drop-top lovers need not worry, as there are plenty of exciting convertibles still on the market. One of them is the Mini Cooper Convertible, which received a redesign for 2016 and a mid-cycle update for the 2018 model year.

The Cooper Convertible is based on the Hardtop model, so there aren’t any surprises in terms of exterior styling, interior design or powertrain. Much like its predecessor, the current Mini Cooper Convertible comes with numerous customization options, which give it a playful personality that surpasses that of the Fiat 500. The new drop-top arrived in dealerships with the option of three engines in Europe and two in the U.S., but a couple of diesel engines were also made available. For 2018, the compact gained significant updates inside and out and a few revisions plus new transmissions under the hood.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Cooper Convertible.

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2016 Mini Convertible Unveiled

2016 Mini Convertible Unveiled

Mini just announced details on the 2016 Cooper Convertible, and it promises plenty of styling and customization options, plus a wallop of driving fun under the hood. The two-door soft top is the first convertible Mini to come with BMW Group-derived engines and underpinnings.

Customizability starts with the exterior, where buyers can choose between 11 different paint colors, including Melting Silver (a carryover from the Clubman) and the new Caribbean Blue. You can also get the roof embroidered with an enormous Union Jack, if so inclined.

Speaking of the foldable roof, it comes with multiple settings, such as a “sunroof” option if you’re not looking to go full drop-top. There’s also an “Always Open Timer” to find out exactly how many hours you’ve driven with expanded headroom.

Inside, there’s seating for four, plus upholstery options like new Malt Brown leather that comes in diamond-stitching “reminiscent of classic English Chesterfield sofas.” The Mini Connected infotainment system and a 6.5-inch screen are standard, but buyers can opt for an 8.8-inch screen that throws in navigation and an app that’ll warn you if it’s about to rain.

Powering the front wheels, you’ll find either a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder on the base Cooper, or a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder on the hotter Cooper S. The three-cylinder makes 134 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and 162 pound-feet of torque at 1,250 rpm, while the four-cylinder makes 189 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque at 1,250 rpm. A six-speed manual is standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional. Top speed for the base Cooper is 128 mph, while the Cooper S can hit 143 mph.

The 2016 Mini Convertible will make its public debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, which kicks off next week. Pricing will be announced in January, with U.S. sales commencing the following March.

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2015 Mini Cooper S

2015 Mini Cooper S

It’s been only 13 years since BMW revived the Mini brand in 2001, and the Cooper has already been treated to a second overhaul for the 2014 model year. The redesign brought many changes inside and out, including fresh drivetrains. The Cooper S was upgraded to a larger four-cylinder engine that not only delivers more power and torque, but better fuel economy too.

The most striking fact about it, though, is that it’s longer and wider than it has ever been. Not only that, but Mini also launched its first-ever five-door Cooper, a body style that seemed unlikely with the Clubman still around. Moreover, the performance-oriented Cooper S also received one and a JCW is probably underway as well. The reasoning is simple here. Buyers are asking for increasingly larger interiors and the previous Cooper didn’t have much to offer in that department.

It’s not exactly a minivan (though it could become one at this rate), but the roomier interior and added legroom should bring more people into Mini dealerships. What’s more, the Cooper S 5-Door has just started a new career as a family hauler, something the Fiat 500 Abarth, for instance, can’t brag about yet. Hoping Fiat doesn’t get a "bright" idea soon, let’s have a closer look at the third-gen Mini Cooper S.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Cooper S.

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Ford Fiesta ST Vs. Mini Cooper S

Ford Fiesta ST Vs. Mini Cooper S

Compared with our friends in Europe, where hot-hatches are as plentiful as 500-year-old cathedrals and socialized medicine, we in the United States and the rest of North America have been fairly limited in our hot-hatch options. That’s changing. The Volkswagen Golf GTI has always been the constant — not always great, but excellent in recent years. It had the market all to itself until the first Ford Focus ST and Mini Cooper S were introduced in the early 2000s. Three generations later, the Focus got bigger, but the Mini stayed more-or-less the same size. So, to cover its bases in the junior hot-hatch segment, Ford launched the Fiesta ST for the first time in the U.S.

That pretty much brings us up to date. On paper, the current Mini Cooper S and Fiesta ST couldn’t be more evenly matched. Both have torque-happy turbocharged engines producing between 190 and 200 horsepower. Both are roughly the same size to within a few inches. Performance figures and fuel mileage are so similar that you would need a data logger to detect the difference. But despite having similar mission briefs, these are two very different cars with different personalities, tailored to appeal to different end users. Lets take a closer look at both to see which you should put in your driveway.

Continue reading to find out which of the two cars we find better.

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Mini Cooper S Convertible Driving Open Top: Spy Shots

Mini Cooper S Convertible Driving Open Top: Spy Shots

Even before the third-generation Mini Cooper Hardtop was unveiled in late 2013, spy photographers had already captured pictures of the drop-top variant wearing light camouflage. Now, with the 2016 Mini Cooper Convertible getting closer to its unspecified on-sale date, our photographers have once again caught up with the cute convertible only this time Mini’s engineers are testing the car with the soft top fully retracted.

It’s no surprise that the styling of the new Cooper Convertible won’t differ too much from the two-door Cooper it is based on, but there is one key area where the 2016 Cooper Convertible will vary from the current convertible. From what there is to see in these images, the more rounded tailgate and added rear overhang should help improve the Convertible’s cargo capacity. One of the images even shows the current convertible right alongside the 2016 model, giving a better comparison of the two cars’ rumps.

Speaking of the rear end, this car is definitely the Cooper S Convertible as evident from the center-mounted exhaust outlets. This means that the 189-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder will add even more fun to the top-down driving experience.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mini Cooper Convertible.

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Raphael Orlove Drives Dakar-Winning Mini In The Desert: Video

Raphael Orlove Drives Dakar-Winning Mini In The Desert: Video

For the uninitiated, here’s a bit of background info: the Dakar rally raid is quite simply one of the most punishing race events in the world. It’s an ultra-long off-road event that sees pros and amateurs alike blasting across over 5,000 miles of some of the roughest terrain Mother Nature can muster. Vehicle classes encompass cars, ATVs, bikes, and enormous heavy-duty trucks. To even finish is considered a gigantic accomplishment, but the Mini ALL4 Racing team has taken gold in the car category four years running. “Capable” doesn’t even come close to describing the abilities of this world eater, but that didn’t stop Jalopnik’s Raphael Orlove from getting it stuck in the middle of the UAE desert.

Of course, I mean no offense towards our comrades in gasoline, but still, it is a bit humorous, which is a point not lost in the video: “BMW gave me every preparation to drive this thing,” Orlove says. “They flew me out to Dubai, they built the simplest, easiest Dakar winner in modern history, they gave me as much instruction as possible, and access to some of the best engineers and drivers in the world. But look, sometimes you’re shifting down from flat-out in fifth gear on the desert floor into the dunes, and you crest a rise, and you go to downshift, and you pull for fourth gear instead of push for second. So the engine bogged and the wheels sunk and we were stuck.”

No worries, Orlove, it happens to the best of us. Next time, though, make sure to bring an extra water bottle. You know, just in case.

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Mini JCW Convertible Shows Some Skin: Spy Shots

Mini JCW Convertible Shows Some Skin: Spy Shots

When Mini introduced the new John Cooper Works Hardtop model at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show we had no idea the

BMW

owned brand was also working on a convertible model. That became apparent about a month later when a camouflaged Mini Convertible wearing a front bumper identical to the JCW Hardtop was spotted by our trusty paparazzi. And while Mini still hasn’t confirmed there’s a JCW drop-top underway, a second test car sporting the aggressive fascia we’ve seen on the hatchback back in January hit the streets for more real-world action. This time around, the prototype is painted red and, more importantly, most of the camouflage is gone.

With no black-and-yellow tape covering the front bumper, I’m now 100-percent positive this is indeed the soft-top version of the nippy JCW Hardtop. Yes, there are important details missing, such as the racing stripes on the engine hood, the JCW badge on the grille and the unique, two-tone wheels, but these features will likely appear as the vehicle moves closer to production.

As a brief reminder, all these JCW-specific goodies will come alongside a new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 228 turbocharged horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. That’s a 20-horse and 29-pound-feet increase over the previous model, making the new JCW the most powerful production Mini ever, as of 2015. Expect those numbers to translate into six-second 0-to-60 sprints and top speeds in excess of 150 mph.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini JCW Convertible.

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2015 Mini Cooper Sport Pack

2015 Mini Cooper Sport Pack

When BMW took over production of the Mini in the year 2000, it started churning out a long list of special editions and new conceptualizations of the iconic British compact. Over the years, there have been several Mini iterations, some with additional doors, some with no roof, and most with an increase in size and weight. However, no matter the model, they are all both sporty and nimble.

That tradition continues with the introduction of the Mini Sport Pack. Now, buyers of any three-door or five-door hatch are offered this optional equipment package, which comes with new exterior features, interior improvements, and suspension upgrades.

Mini says these new accessories can add up to 25 percent to residual resale value, which should entice buyers into more liberal use of the option list when considering the purchase of a new Mini Cooper.

But is it worth the extra outlay? Hit the jump to find out.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper Sport Pack

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2015 Mini One First 5-Door

2015 Mini One First 5-Door

Much like any other fashion statement, Mini Coopers don’t come cheap. For instance, the base two-door hardtop model costs more than a Toyota Corolla and it’s nearly as expensive as the Camry at $20,700 before options. Add a John Cooper Works badge and the sticker jumps to $30,100, only $2,850 short of the base BMW 3 Series. Yes, I know I’m comparing apples to kumquats, but there really is no car to compare it to except for the Fiat 500. And that’s mainly because Mini chose to turn the tiny, revolutionary vehicle of the 1950s into a larger accessory on wheels that comes in many shapes and sizes. With people complaining about the price tags of the new Mini, the British company rolled out the Mini One in 2014. Powered by a new 1.2-liter three-cylinder and sporting slightly fewer features, the One became the cheapest offering of the Mini lineup, costing around 10 percent less than the base Cooper. For 2015, however, Mini is lowering the nameplate’s starting price even more with a new model that goes by the name One First.

Launched as a five-door model at first, the One First makes use of the One’s 1.2-liter three-cylinder, but output drops well below 100 horsepower. Although there’s significantly less power traveling to the pavement, the hatch’s improved fuel economy is likely to make drivers forget about the sluggish acceleration. Let’s have a better look at this brand-new trim after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini One First 5 Door.

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2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

John Cooper’s cooperation with Mini began back in the days when the British automaker produced the original Mark I car. Developed as an homologation car for rally racing, the original Cooper and Cooper S models were built until 1967. The modern-day John Cooper Works was founded in 2000 by Michael Cooper, son of John Cooper. The first Mini JCW was released in 2008. The company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW and is the in-house tuning arm for all Mini vehicles, much like the M division is to Bimmer. Seven years since the inception of the first modern-day Mini JCW, John Cooper Works has released a brand-new iteration of the beefed-up hatch.

Based on the recently redesigned Cooper Hardtop, the new JCW is the most powerful Mini ever developed as of 2015 with 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. The 2015 John Cooper Works Mini is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show and go on sale in the United States a few months after its debut.

Updated 1/12/2015: Mini has officially revealed the Cooper Hardtop John Cooper Works at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Not that we didn’t already know nearly everything about it already. The only new information available is its starting price of $30,600 plus $850 delivery fee, its release date of spring 2015, and that Mini will be running the Cooper Hardtop JCW in the Street Tuner (ST) class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in 2015.

Updated 01/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new images from the car’s official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mini John Cooper Works.

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Spy Shots: Mini Clubman Spied Inside and Out

Spy Shots: Mini Clubman Spied Inside and Out

The current Mini lineup is slowly getting a makeover and the Clubman is the next to join the ranks of Britain’s redesigned "fashionmobile." Previewed by the Clubman Concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Mini’s new wagon brought many changes to the nameplate, a fact confirmed by the first prototypes that took the streets in the second half of 2014. With 2015 already upon us, the new Clubman was spotted trotting around German streets once again, showcasing its six-door configuration and revised sheet metal.

As soon as we set eyes on the production-ready concept of the 2015 Mini Clubman, we learned that the new Clubman would be the most revolutionary of its kind. Although its exterior design is essentially the same, save for a few nips and tucks all around, the wagon has received regular rear doors for the very first time, ditching the single, reverse-hinged opening on the passenger side and the unequal front-door setup. What’s more, it has grown in size, following the trend applied to the rest of the new Mini lineup.

The interior of the Clubman has been revamped as well, strangely enough to the extent it’s quite different when compared to the Cooper Hatch, but you’ll have to skip past the jump to find out more about that.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Clubman.

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2014 TopSpeed Year in Review

2014 TopSpeed Year in Review

2015 is almost upon us, car lovers, and TopSpeed has one last post to close out the year that was 2014! As this little blue green ball we all inhabit completes yet another revolution around that warm spot of fusing hydrogen hanging in the sky, we tend to revert back to the time-honored tradition of summarizing a few of the big events that transpired over the course of the year. It’s a crossroads, a time to bask in the glory of past wins, as well as learn from prior mistakes in a bid to avoid such blunders in the future.

In many ways, 2014 was a time of great change and rebirth, with both exciting successes and catastrophic failures laced throughout. We’ve seen the glorious return of heroes like the Dodge Challenger, plus the emergence of exciting new technology like in the Toyota Mirai. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a glut of niche vehicles stretched thin between a variety of purposes, like the Mercedes GLE Coupe, as well as fatal corporate mistakes in a record-breaking year for automotive recalls.

Usually, we’re a glass-half-full kind of crowd, so we’re tempted to say, overall, this most recent spin around the sun yielded a net gain for the automotive world. Perhaps, but we suppose that’s still open for debate. Regardless, it’s been a mixed bag, no doubt about that. But don’t fret: we’re here to tie it up into one neat package for you.

Click past the jump to read our list of highs and lows from 2014.

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