New Mini: An affordable open-top motoring option

New Mini: An affordable open-top motoring option

By SHAMS NAQVI | | 16 April, 2016
The car promises to provide an open top motoring experience and the roads of Goa were a good spot to get a feel of the car, albeit the hot weather was a bit of a dampener.

Mini is one of the most likeable automobile brands in the world. The cute looking small yet premium cars have turned heads the world over. The story in India is no different and the brand has found acceptability here especially in the metros.  Recently the parent company BMW expanded the Mini portfolio in India by launching the new Mini convertible in the market. The car promises to provide an open top motoring experience and the roads of Goa were a good spot to get a feel of the car, albeit the hot weather was a bit of a dampener. There have been a good number of convertibles in the market and most of them belong to the German car makers. There’s the BMW Z4, the Mercedes E400 and the Audi A3 convertible, but the Mini Cooper convertible brings in affordability along with premium features.  

Looks

The exterior design of the car expresses the driving fun along with technological advancement and refined premium characteristics. The car for the first time is fitted with a fully automatic, electrically powered soft top operation system as well as fully integrated rollover protection. The soft top can be opened and closed in just 18 seconds. So a sudden change of the weather or even your mood will mean you won’t have to wait long for the roof to open or close. The soft top is also available in an optional MINI yours version featuring a woven Union Jack graphic. This union jack graphic can also be found at some other places in the car. The LED headlamps come with cornering lights which means they don’t just look good but are also practical to use.

The company says that expanded seat surfaces and increased headroom contribute to optimized space comfortable in the backseat .The one to look forward is the excitement package.

Interiors

There’s a lot of luxury inside the Mini convertible. The seats are comfortable to sit on and the access to the second row is as cumbersome as is could be in some other 2-door cars. The company says that expanded seat surfaces and increased headroom contribute to optimized space comfortable in the backseat .The one to look forward is the excitement package, which comprises LED interior and ambient lighting as well as a projection of the MINI logo on the ground on the driver’s side when the door is opened. This is a feature which has been seen in many cars off late and is a cool addition. There’s a multi-function sport leather steering wheel and sports seats for driver and front passenger. Optional features include a Harman Kardon hi-fi system navigation system and a bigger 8.8’ screen with Touch Controller. The luggage compartment comes with comfort access and easy load function that has a capacity of up to 215 liters which is approximately 25 percent more than the predecessor.

Engine

The car is powered by a 2-litre 4-cylinder engine with twin power turbo technology that according to BMW makes it higher on performance and lighter on fuel. It mobilizes a peak output 192 hp and a maximum torque of 280 Nm torque. The car sprints from 100 km/hr in 7.1 seconds and the top speed is 233 km/hr. There’s a newly developed 6-speed automatic transmission with increased efficiency and enhanced shift comfort. The standard technology includes an auto start/stop function, brake energy recuperation, shift point display and electromechanical power steering.

Ride & Handling

The compact dimensions of the Mini convertible ensure that the car handles just the way you want it to. You can throw it around corners and the slalom course set up in Goa gave us a very positive feel of the car.  The different driving modes enable an individualized vehicle set-up focusing on ride comfort, sportiness or efficiency, according to preference. In addition to the standard MID mode, the sport mode is geared towards active driving fun while the green mode supports fuel-efficient driving. The optional 6-speed sports automatic transmission can be operated using shift paddles. There are some other worthy additions to the gearshift like optimized acoustic and vibration response that ensure a better rode on the car. The cleverly designed wind deflector can easily be locked into position behind the front seats and comes in especially handy to avoid unwanted air turbulence during open-top driving.

Verdict

Owing to a convertible option and many driving modes the Mini convertible is actually many cars rolled into one. It only helps that it’s also stacked with cutting-edge safety technology. The standard safety equipment comprises of Front and Passenger Airbags, Brake Assist, 3-Point Seat Belts, Dynamic Stability Control, Crash Sensor, Anti-lock Braking System, Cornering Brake Control and Run-flat Indicator. This makes it a viable open top motoring option and at an ex-showroom price of Rs. 34.9 lakh is a relatively affordable option amongst expensive convertibles. 

Shams Naqvi  is an anchor/producer  for the News X motor show Living  Cars.

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