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
For complete, in-depth coverage of the 2018 New Car Awards, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...
- 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
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2018 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearSkoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe Skoda Kodiaq is the 2018 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Volvo XC40 is the 2018 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X1 and MINI Countryman commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended
- 16Large Premium SUV of the YearThe Land Rover Discovery is the 2018 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover commended
- 17MPV of the YearThe Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer is the 2018 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Renault Grand Scenic and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 18Roadster of the YearThe Mazda MX-5 is the 2018 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the McLaren 570S Spider and Porsche 718 Boxster commended
- 19Coupe of the YearThe Lexus LC is the 2018 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Audi A5 and Porsche 718 Cayman commended
- 20Hot Hatch of the YearThe Honda Civic Type R is the 2018 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i30 N commended
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe Porsche 911 GT3 is the 2018 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW M5 commended
- 22Luxury Car of the YearThe Mercedes S-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Continental GT and Porsche Panamera commended
- 23Affordable Electric Car of the YearThe Hyundai Kona Electric is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf commended
- 24Premium Electric Car of the YearThe Jaguar I-Pace is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Electric Car of the Year, with the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S commended
- 25Affordable Hybrid Car of the YearThe Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year, with the MINI Countryman and Toyota Prius commended
- 26Premium Hybrid Car of the YearThe Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Hybrid Car of the Year, with the BMW 530e and Range Rover Plug-in commended
- 27Pick-up of the YearThe Mitsubishi L200 is the 2018 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and Mercedes X-Class commended
- 28Van of the YearThe Mercedes Sprinter is the 2018 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen Crafter commended
- 29Technology AwardThe Nissan Leaf wins the Auto Express 2018 Technology Award for its bi-directional charging
- 30Social Media Campaign of the YearJeep's 'Set your own course' has won the 2018 Social Media Campaign of the Year
- 31Car Advertising Campaign of the YearVolkswagen's 'Born Confident' advert for the new T-Roc has won the 2018 integrated advertising campaign awarC
- 32Driver Power AwardLexus has scooped the 2018 Driver Power Award after taking the customer satisfaction survey by storm once again
- 33Design AwardWe asked you what your favourite car design is for 2018, and the Aston Martin Vantage has taken the crown
- 34Anniversary Awards – Auto Express, evo and OctaneWe celebrate 30 years of Auto Express, 20 years of evo and 15 years of Octane with our special Anniversary Awards