An icon doesn’t need an introduction. The Mini brand along with names that join it such as Cooper and Convertible are dialogues written in scripts of Hollywood movies. A Mini is a style statement for all ages. The Vespa scooter of four-wheelers, the teenage girls definitive choice if daddy runs a cement factory. We experienced Mini in multiple forms over the last five years. This is the first time we finally got the roof down and enjoyed the Mini experience. Does this change a lot when considering our previous take in a good or a bad way? We find out as spend some time with the iconic car.
While the overall silhouette continues to be similar. It is the larger grille and different head and tail-lamps that help you say that is the new generation Mini. The LED DRL in the front are larger and so is the headlight as well. The rear tail-lamp has a prominent change in illumination as it now displays the British flag. The side profile is boxy, low and the low/flat roof makes it stand apart, even in this convertible version. The Mini is the only car which grabs attention with the roof up or down as it does make to look good either way. A rare aspect for any soft-top convertible car.
The exterior dimensions of the new generation Mini has increased by 98 mm in length to 3821 mm, while the track width is bigger by 42 mm and at the rear track by 34 millimetres to a total of 1501 mm in each case. Speaking of the convertible, the soft top can even be fully automatically opened and closed during travel at speeds of up to 30 km/h. There is a toggle switch on the front roof frame to operate the same. We wish it was somewhere below the touch screen. There are eleven metallic and two non-metallic paint finishes to choose from. All body finishes can be combined with the standard variant of the soft top and with the MINI Yours soft top. Other customisation options include exterior mirror caps and bonnet stripes in various colours and graphics as well as the Chrome Line exterior.
The interior as always is funky to look and high quality to feel. The toggle switches look fantastic and the way they are divided by metal looped elements give it a very old school and classic feel that Mini is known for. The screen between in our test car was quite small and it could be operated through a newly designed button which is in the below the handbrake and on the ground makes it a tad bit difficult to operate. However, since it works anticlockwise, the main dial that is, makes it easy to operate only when you get used to it in a few days as we did.
The gear knob is new and feels like an old school stick. The steering wheel remains the same which means its fantastic to hold thanks to a lot of contouring on it. The seating position is spot on and so is the view all around with the roof on or without it. Seats can be a bit more accommodating for larger drivers but it fits the bill just right for most Asians. The rear seat results are optimised in lateral support. Knee space has also been expanded by 36 mm.
Features list includes ambient lighting, which has a switch on the top and can change the colour of the British flag on the glovebox that makes cabin truly special place to be. This kind of ambient lighting is the new trend as we saw in a few Audi’s as well. All LED lights with good through and illumination were on offer as well. Android Auto, Apple Car Play, electric ORVM and a surprisingly a manual IRVM is on offer. Like most Mini’s you don’t get powered seats. Most of the things in the Mini are an optional extra.
The 2.0-litre motor makes 192 hp and a maximum torque of 280 Nm and is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The sport DCT gearbox is an optional extra on the car. The spontaneous power delivery of the engine allows acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds. The top speed is a claimed 233 km/h. There are three driving modes, MID, SPORT and GREEN mode. There is a bit of hesitancy when shifting while overtaking and in the mid-range, which is standard DCT behaviour. Shifts though are smooth and seamless.
Engine NVH levels are very low most of the time. Pushing the car hard results in a very sporty soundtrack with pop and bangs at over-run from the exhaust system. Engine rev freely, quickly and builds speeds in no time as a result. Good low and mid-range power means it driving it in all conditions is no problem. A high top speed and a top-end rush mean it is sporty as a Mini should be.
Dynamically, the Mini convertible just like any other Mini, very sporty to drive! We did find it more comfortable over the previous version as there is a bit of compliance in the suspension to deal with low-speed bumps, so that is a great balance. Steering feel is top-notch thanks to precision and feedback that is available aplenty. Steering is heavy most of the time including parking and slow speeds, but it is something you get used to it too.
Body roll is not existent and you can push the car hard and tyres barely protest too when driving on public roads that is. Brakes are good and tyres offer great confidence too. It does continue to feel a bit heavy and big then it should be but that is how we are now getting used to getting the Mini. Despite that, it remains a benchmark for FWD cars and even BMW adopted that platform too!
2021 Mini Cooper S Convertible India Review, Verdict
The Mini brand in India is very unique and exclusivity continues to be its top forte. A car that offers great performance, pedigree, iconic looks and in this case, the convertible experience, it all comes together as a something truly exceptional as a package that is hard to find around the world. Sure, the optional extras don’t make it great value but luxury and extraordinary experiences do not come cheap either.