Convertible of the Year 2018: MINI Convertible
The MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
The MINI Convertible has always been a popular drop-top, and the newly facelifted third-generation version is the most convincing edition yet. It offers open-air fun and thrills in a supermini-sized package, and with a broad line-up of trims and engines, there’s plenty of choice for drivers.
This is the second time we’ve named the MINI our Convertible of the Year; it previously picked up the gong in 2016. With even more customisation options for this updated model, it has enhanced what makes the cabriolet MINI so appealing, so it climbs to the top step of the podium once again.
There’s more equipment, too. LED headlights are now standard, as are those Union flag motif tail-lamps that have become such a talking point. Fresh infotainment brings things right up to date in the plush, youthful cabin, while the new MINI Yours Customised service offers yet another level of personalisation. You can add 3D-printed panels on the dashboard and the front wings, and a bespoke look to the puddle lights.
Although the MINI Convertible carries a little extra weight compared with the hatch, the firm’s trademark sharp handling and spirited driving dynamics emerge unscathed despite some necessary chassis strengthening. With a pair of small rear seats there’s even a respectable level of practicality for a compact cabriolet. This includes the electric folding roof that takes 18 seconds to stow at speeds of up to 19mph.
The Convertible isn’t available in basic One trim, with the more desirable Cooper spec kicking things off. A four-cylinder Cooper S model tops the cabrio range and is available with up to 228bhp if ordered with the John Cooper Works kit, but you’ll have nearly as much fun for a lot less in the three-cylinder Cooper.
MINI Cooper Convertible (£19,795)
The regular entry-level Cooper drop-top is an absolute cracker. Its characterful 134bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine offers enough to entertain, while the chassis retains a respectable level of composure. The usual fun-to-drive feel we’ve come to love from MINIs sells it, while removing the roof makes it feel that little bit more special.
Audi A3 Cabriolet
The Audi A3 Cabriolet is still a fine small premium convertible and deserves its commendation, even if the A3 is beginning to age a little in the firm’s range. It’s a small but spacious convertible with an exceptionally well-built cabin, refined engines and sharp but safe driving characteristics. If you need more space than the MINI, this is a top pick.
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
Step even further up in size and you’ll arrive at the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet, which is undeniably stylish. The plush, S-Class-inspired cabin features high-quality materials and advanced infotainment. There are sharper cabrios to drive, but few are as nice to be in or offer as much relaxation and elegance with the roof up or down.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2018
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2018 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2018 is the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2018 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2018 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the Year - currently readingThe MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Volkswagen Golf is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mercedes A-Class and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2018 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe Mercedes C-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended