The 2015 Detroit Auto Show brought a meaner and quicker Mini JCW hardtop to the market. Equipped with larger air inlets, a new front grille, a new diffuser, and more importantly, a new four-banger, this latest Mini to sport a John Cooper Works badge is also the most powerful Mini to come from the BMW-owned company. Naturally, the new setup will spread to other Mini models sooner than later, and the Brits will no longer sell JCW-badged coupes or roadsters, they just launched a convertible version of the familiar two-door.

The drop-top arrives just in time for the 2016 model year with the same specs and features as the Hardtop, but with the infinite headroom of a cabriolet. It’s more powerful and significantly quicker than its predecessor, and benefits from more options that ever before — feats that make it the fanciest and most potent vehicle in its class.

"The new Convertible has all of the legendary driving performance you expect in a Mini yet with interior materials and finishes which set a new benchmark for the segment," said Patrick McKenna, head of product planning. "Now with the addition of the John Cooper Works variant we have once again set the bar high for the rest of the premium convertible market by offering a high performance open-top driving experience."

The new JCW Convertible goes on sale in April 2016.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works Convertible.

  • 2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    228 @ 5200
  • Torque @ RPM:
    236 @ 1250
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    150 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    32500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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As expected, the Convertible model is identical to the Hardtop below the waist. A new front bumper made almost entirely of large air intakes speak of the cooling requirements of the new engine and the updated brakes, while the honeycomb grille suggests that Mini wants this JCW model to really stand out next to a standard convertible. Around back, there’s a revised bumper and integrated diffuser-like piece, as well as a center-mounted twin-exhaust.

Other details we’re already familiar with from the JCW hardtop include black wheel arches, body-colored side skirts, and JCW logos all around.

Other details we’re already familiar with from the JCW hardtop include black wheel arches, body-colored side skirts, and JCW logos all around. Of course, the convertible doesn’t get the hardtop’s roof-mounted spoiler. The drop-top borrows the same options from its hatchback sibling, including the black stripes with Chili Red lines for the hood, black, white or Chili Red mirror caps, and the brand-new Lapisluxury Blue Metallic and Rebel Green Metallic exterior paints, the latter exclusive to the JCW line.

Another cool option is the Union Jack soft-top with the British flag rendered in monochrome.

Interior

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Interior
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Once inside the JCW Convertible, customers will find the same sporty amenities introduced on the JCW Hardtop, plus the infinite headroom that comes with every cabriolet when the top is folded behind the seats. That said, look for newly developed John Cooper Works sports seats wrapped in Dinamica/fabric or available leather, a new multifunction steering wheel, a JCW shifter, JCW-branded side sills, and stainless-steel pedals. There’s also improved legroom in the back compared to the previous model, but look for less than the hardtop’s 34 cubic feet of luggage space, and blame the foldable roof for the reduction.

The Mini Driving Modes feature, which allows the driver to select between the Green, Mid and Sport driving modes, comes standard, as does the Always Open Timer, which provides drivers with the ability to calculate the number of hours they’ve driven with the top down. Of course, the convertible JCW also benefits from a laundry list of options, such as an 8.8-inch infotainment display upgrade for the 6.5-inch screen. All told the new JCW Convertible sets the standard in the premium cabriolet market and the most customizable vehicle you can buy from a dealership.

Drivetrain

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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Not surprisingly, the JCW Convertible received the same engine that debuted in the Hartdop model. I’m talking about the brand-new, turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that generates 228 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 236 pound-feet of torque from 1,250 to 4,800 rpm. The new four-pot boasts a 20-horsepower and 29-pound-foot increase over the previous unit, which is why the new JCWs are the most powerful production Minis ever, as of 2016.

The JCW Convertible needs around 5.9 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start with the six-speed automatic

The JCW Convertible needs around 5.9 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start with the six-speed automatic and 6.1 ticks with the six-speed manual. The previous model achieved the same benchmark in 6.6 seconds. Now that’s a massive improvement. Top speed has also been increased by four mph to 150 mph for the manual version and 149 mph for the automatic model. The Hardtop can hit 153 mph.

With these figures, the JCW convertible is now more powerful and quicker than both the Fiat 500C Abarth and the Volkswagen Beetle R-Line convertible, two of its most important competitors in the U.S.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
Output 228 HP @ 5,200 RPM
Torque 236 LB-FT @ 1,250-4,800 RPM
0 to 60 mph 5.9 seconds (Manual: 6.1 seconds)
Top Speed 150 MPH (Automatic: 149 MPH)

Prices

Pricing for the JCW Convertible starts from $35,600, not including handling and destination, which makes it nearly $6,000 more expensive than the standard cabriolet. Also, the drop-top carries a full $5,000 premium over the JCW Hardtop.

Competition

Fiat 500C Abarth

2015 Fiat 500 Abarth High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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With a peppy Abarth-spec engine, sporty suspension, and a poppy exhaust, the 500C Abarth is a fun car to toss around. The retractable roof not only makes the little Fiat more enjoyable on sunny days, it also enhances the experience by bringing that exciting exhaust noise inside the cabin. Sure, the Abarth is nowhere near as powerful as the Mini JCW, with "only" 170 ponies and 170 pound-feet of twist coming from the tiny 1.4-liter turbo-four, and it’s a full second slower than its British rival, but it’s significantly more affordable at $22,195 before options. Add a handful of extra goodies and the 500C is still more affordable than the JCW, and the fact that the sticker also includes a day of track training makes it a decent deal for the buck.

Find out more about the Fiat 500C Abarth here.

Volkswagen Beetle Convertible R-Line

2014 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo R-Line Convertible High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Beetle may be slightly larger, but it comes with both the neo-retro appearance and appeal of the Mini Cooper. When it comes to performance and infinite headroom, the convertible R-Line offers the best combination. The R-Line package adds a touch of sportiness to the Beetle by means of body-colored bumpers, a rear diffuser-style piece, special badging, and 19-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile tires. The interior is well equipped, featuring goodies such as leather sports seats, a flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, metallic inserts, and a Fender audio system. Under the hood, there’s a 2.0-liter four-banger that cranks out 210 turbocharged horses and 207 pound-feet of torque, significantly more than the 500C Abarth, but less than the Mini JCW. 60 mph comes in 6.7 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph. Pricing starts from $25,450, a relative bargain next to the John Cooper Works convertible.

Read more about the Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Convertible here.

Conclusion

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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Much like the Hardtop version, the JCW Convertible is everything we expected it to be, starting with the aggressive styling and ending with the powerful four-cylinder engine. With the drop-top, you’re getting the same appearance package, drivetrain, and options, but with more headroom and slightly less luggage room. That’s great news, unless you have a lot of stuff to haul or your budget can’t handle a $35,000+ purchase that’s more of a fashion accessory than a purposeful means of transportation.

  • Leave it
    • * Very expensive
    • * Numerous competitors to choose from

Spy Shots

March 12, 2015 - Mini JCW Convertible spied wearing red

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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Press Release

INI USA announced pricing today on its all-new 2016 MINI Convertible with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $25,950 for the Cooper model. In addition, the company also introduced the fastest, most powerful convertible it has ever built, the new MINI John Cooper Works Convertible.

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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As one of the newest additions to the MINI product line, the new MINI Convertible represents the first open top MINI powered by BMW Group engines. The premium four-seater soft-top convertible is both practical and customizable, delivering unlimited open-air motoring fun. The latest generation convertible, which was designed, engineered, developed, and assembled in Europe, starts only $250 higher than previous generation car, making it the only true convertible built in Europe priced below $26,000. The Cooper S variant will start at $29,600. All prices exclude the $850 Destination & Handling fee.

In addition to the Cooper and Cooper S models, MINI has developed its fastest, most powerful open-top yet with the new MINI John Cooper Works Convertible. Similar to the recently launched MINI John Cooper Work Hardtop, the new MINI John Cooper Works Convertible is specially tuned for high performance on the track and on the road. The John Cooper Works variant will start at $35,600 plus Destination & Handling.

“The new Convertible has all of the legendary driving performance you expect in a MINI yet with interior materials and finishes which set a new benchmark for the segment,” said Patrick McKenna, Department Head, Product Planning, MINI USA. “Now with the addition of the John Cooper Works variant we have once again set the bar high for the rest of the premium convertible market by offering a high performance open-top driving experience.”

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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As with all MINI models in the product line up, the new MINI Convertible is made for individualization. Featuring a choice of 11 exterior color options, including the new Caribbean Aqua and Melting Silver colors, as well as a number of premium seating options such as the new Malt Brown leather with diamond-stitching reminiscent of classic English Chesterfield sofas, the new MINI Convertible sets the standard in the premium convertible market.

The new MINI Convertible comes equipped with a standard “Always Open Timer,” providing convertible enthusiasts with the ability to calculate the number of hours they’ve driven with the top down. It will also come standard with the MINI Connected infotainment system including a 6.5-inch high-resolution screen. In addition, an optional larger 8.8-inch display includes navigation and a clever rain warning app, which notifies drivers of impending storms so they can prepare their vehicle for inclement weather. A list of standard features, a la carte options and available bundled packages can be found at the end of this release.

OPEN-AIR PERFORMANCE, REDEFINED.

Built with BMW Group engines, the John Cooper Works model will feature the most powerful engine ever installed in one of the brand’s production models. The 2.0- liter 4-cylinder engine was developed based on the latest generation of power units with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. It generates a maximum output of 228 bhp and a maximum torque of 236 ft.-lbs., accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 Seconds (Manual: 6.1 seconds).

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible High Resolution Interior
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The car also features a sports exhaust, suspension technology refined with racing expertise and model-specific design features that not only optimize the car’s aerodynamic features, but also guarantee a fun and efficient ride emphasizing its exclusive charisma.

The new Convertible will go on sale in March 2016 at MINI dealers across the U.S., with the John Cooper Works variant becoming available in April. Customers looking to build or pre-order a new MINI Convertible can use the configurator now available at MINIUSA.com or visit their local MINI dealer. For full vehicle specifications and product details on the new MINI Convertible, please see the detailed product news release here. A detailed product news release for the new John Cooper Works variant is also available here.

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