2018 MINI Convertible Review
As its name suggests, the 2018 Mini Convertible is the drop-top version of the two-door Mini Hardtop. It has the same fun-to-drive nature as the Hardtop, but its power-operated soft top gives you the option of warming up to the sun's rays.
As with all other Minis, the Convertible's base price is just a jumping-off point to a list of seemingly endless options. Check enough boxes and the price escalates with shocking quickness. But the Mini's extensive paint, interior and performance combinations are also what set it apart, giving owners a degree of personalization unlike any others. Want 18-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, and taillights with an inset Union Jack design? Done.
But at its core, the Mini Convertible is an exceptionally fun car to drive, whether it's powered by the base three-cylinder engine, the 189-horsepower midlevel engine, or the highly caffeinated 228-hp turbo four-cylinder in the John Cooper Works trim. The Mini always feels playful and engaging, its tires firmly embedded in the asphalt. The trade-off is a firm, and at times harsh ride, especially with larger wheels.
And so while no other small convertible can match the Mini's level of customization, there are others worth considering, notably the Fiat 124 Spider, Mazda MX-5 Miata and even the Volkswagen Beetle convertible. But even among this group, the Mini Convertible's charm and likability stand out. It's that good.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Mini Convertible is a compact convertible that seats four and is available in base (Cooper), Cooper S and high-performance John Cooper Works trims. The base Cooper trim serves as a great starting point for customization, but the attractive base price can escalate quickly as you tack on desirable options. The Cooper S adds larger wheels and more power and performance, while the John Cooper Works is the highest performer of the bunch, with a cranked-up turbo engine and a sport-tuned suspension.
The base Cooper starts with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine (134 horsepower, 162 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic transmission is optional.
Standard features include a power-operated fabric convertible roof (with sunrooflike function), 15-inch alloy wheels, an electronic limited-slip differential, automatic headlights and wipers, heated mirrors, push-button ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a cooled glovebox, cruise control, premium vinyl upholstery, and 50/50-split folding rear seatbacks. Technology highlights include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, smartphone app integration, a 6.5-inch display screen, and a six-speaker sound system with HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary input jack.
The Cooper S adds a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (189 hp, 207 lb-ft of torque), a hood scoop, dual center-mounted exhaust tips, 16-inch wheels with run-flat tires (regular tires are optional), LED foglights and sport front seats.
The John Cooper Works trim ratchets up the performance index with a hotter turbo four-cylinder engine (228 hp, 236 lb-ft), 17-inch wheels, upgraded Brembo front brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, LED headlights, an aerodynamic body kit, a rear spoiler, a sport steering wheel, and special seats with cloth upholstery. The standard suspension is available as a no-cost option for the JCW.
There are many stand-alone options, but most are bundled into packages. The Premium package consists of keyless entry, heated front seats, satellite radio, auto-dimming mirrors, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. The Sport package includes adjustable suspension dampers, a choice of 17- or 18-inch wheels, sport seats, and LED headlights and foglights. The Technology package bundles a self-parking system with front and rear parking sensors, a navigation system, a touchpad controller, and an 8.8-inch display screen. The Fully Loaded package combines all three packages. John Cooper Works interior and exterior packages are also available. As the package names suggest, they kit out the two lower trim levels with a choice of leather cabin materials and JCW performance parts.
Notable stand-alone options include adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and various combinations of cloth or leather upholstery. Even more personalization is available through a large selection of custom details such as hood stripes, mirror cap choices and special interior trim pieces.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed manual | FWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Mini Convertible has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Mini Convertible.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
Child safety seat accommodation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.