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Is the Mini Cooper S Convertible a Good Car? 4 Pros and 4 Cons

mini-cooper-s-convertible-2022-01-angle-exterior-front-neon-green 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

In an age of roads populated primarily by cookie-cutter SUVs in varying shades of silver, the Mini Cooper S stands out. That’s especially true for the convertible model, and that alone is enough to seal the deal for some buyers. The fact that it’s a hoot to drive is just a bonus.

Related: 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible Review: Better at Fun Than Sun

For 2022, the Cooper S Convertible gets mild updates, including a digital instrument cluster, LED headlights, lane departure warning and minor styling tweaks. While it has grown over the years, it remains entertaining to drive and is as quirky as ever. For fans of the brand, that’s a relief.

The Cooper S is also one of the very few new cars available with a manual transmission. For drivers who like to handle their own shifting, that is another plus. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is standard for those who prefer the alternative. Our recently tested model had the stick shift.

There’s a lot to like about Mini’s latest droptop, from all the virtues above to a relatively affordable price tag. But before you trot down to the dealer to take the plunge, there are a few things to consider. Here are four things we like, and four we don’t, about the 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible.

Things We Like

1. Fun to Drive

Few new vehicles provide the same kind of driver feedback and fun behind the wheel as the Cooper S Convertible, even when you’re just out running errands at moderate speeds. Selecting the car’s Sport mode livens things up even more with a heftier steering feel, quicker throttle response and a downshift rev-matching feature for manual-equipped models. The ride was firm with our test car’s optional adaptive shock absorbers and 18-inch wheels with summer tires, but the setup delivered minimal body lean in corners.

2. Strong Powertrain

The Cooper S is motivated by a 189-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is more than up to the task of hustling it around. Providing smooth power delivery and a willingness to rev, it has no trouble getting up to speed quickly. With a light clutch and smooth-shifting six-speed manual, the convertible returns an EPA-estimated 23/33/26 mpg city/highway/combined. Opting for the dual-clutch automatic raises estimated fuel economy to 27/36/30 mpg.

3. Welcoming Yet Quirky Interior

The Cooper S Convertible’s cabin is well-finished, if somewhat unique, in mostly good ways. There’s decent space in front, with sport seats that are supportive with good bolstering to keep you in place through corners. Mini design touches include Union Jack accents, a red starter switch and a ring around the multimedia screen that changes color in response to adjustments of things like audio volume and cabin temperature. The standard 8.8-inch touchscreen is easy enough to use, though it is supplemented by a knob and buttons on the console that can be awkward to reach and use.

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2022 MINI Convertible Cooper S
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4. A Top With Options

One toggle switch lowers the windows and drops the standard power convertible top, a procedure that takes about 16 seconds. Raising it is slightly quicker at 13 seconds. A thoughtful addition is the top’s sunroof feature, which allows just the front section to slide back. To help make your convertible further stand out, Mini offers an optional Mini Yours top emblazoned with a gray Union Jack.

Things We Don’t Like

1. About That Sporty Feel

While the adaptive shocks and larger 18-inch wheels with summer tires make the already fun-to-drive Cooper S Convertible that much more responsive, even slight surface imperfections are transmitted to the cabin, with larger bumps causing proportionally harsher responses.

2. Plan to Travel Light

As cozy and intimate as the interior is for two, don’t plan on bringing much else along for the ride. The Cooper S Convertible serves up minimal storage space in the glove box, door panels and in a small compartment under the center armrest. The trunk offers just 7.6 cubic feet of room with the top up, dropping to 5.7 cubic feet with it down. The backseat is par for the course for a small convertible — minimal legroom and uncomfortable seating — meaning that it’s no place to put friends.

3. Top Downers

While it’s certainly not the only visibility-challenged convertible, the Cooper S Convertible is somewhat unusual in that it’s easier to see out with the top up than when it’s lowered. The folded top sits behind the rear seats rather than stowing out of sight like in other convertibles, thus restricting rear visibility. The standard backup camera helps, but the open-air experience is not as open as you might think.

4. Shake With That?

The Cooper S Convertible loses a bit of structural rigidity versus its fixed-roof sibling in exchange for an open-air experience. The result is some visible shake in the windshield pillars and rearview mirror on bumpy roads, and we also noticed some accompanying cabin squeaks in our nearly new test car.

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