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Convertible of the Year 2022: MINI Convertible

The MINI Convertible is the 2022 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A5 Cabriolet and Mazda MX-5 commended

It’s true that the convertible sector is dwindling, but Brits still love a drop-top, despite our often varied weather –and in 2022 the best in the business still comes from MINI. That’s because this compact four-seater delivers everything you want from a cabriolet, with fun driving dynamics, a desirable image and wind-in-the-hair thrills that won’t cost a fortune to buy or run. The latter is a key factor to the MINI’s win this year compared with more expensive, thirstier cars when motoring bills are soaring.

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The 134bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo Cooper model is the one to go for, because it’s more affordable, still delivers strong-enough performance and offers the level of personalisation you expect from any MINI model.

Of course, there are more powerful 2.0-litre versions with the hot Cooper S and JCW models, but while these serve up even more go, when it comes to show, the recipe is unchanged, no matter which MINI Convertible you pick.

The electrically operated roof takes just 18 seconds to raise or lower and can even be operated on the move at up to 19mph, while a clever feature of the MINI Convertible means the car can remember your climate control settings for when you have the roof up, switching them to a saved setting for when you put the roof down. That’s big-car premium technology in an affordable package.

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There is space for four – just – because the rear seats are tight, but it’s a level of flexibility that two-seat rivals such as the Mazda MX-5 can’t match. And even if you won’t be carrying passengers, you can use the rear bench as extra luggage space. Sharp steering, a responsive, darty chassis and a crisp gearchange if you go for a manual model ensure the MINI Convertible is great fun to drive, while the added element of being able to remove the roof seals the deal on yet another win here. Bravo MINI.

Our choice

Mini Convertible Cooper Exclusive (£28,065)

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The Cooper model is a great entry point into the MINI Convertible range, delivering a peppy 134bhp. But we’d step up from the base Classic model to the Exclusive trim, which is priced from £28,065. Cruise control, 18-inch wheels, and aluminium-effect trim all feature, while there’s an almost endless list of customisation options, too.

Commended

Audi A5 Cabriolet

If you’re after a full four-seat convertible then they don’t come much sleeker than Audi’s A5 Cabriolet. A facelift in 2021 kept the German model looking smart from the outside, while updated interior tech means it delivers the kind of premium experience you’d expect from an upmarket model like this. A choice of petrol and diesels with mild-hybrid tech means the powertrains have kept pace, too.

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Mazda MX-5

Few roadsters have a history like the Mazda MX-5. This compact, affordable two-door model delivers engaging driving dynamics to shame sports cars costing twice as much, with beautifully revvy, naturally aspirated engines and a superb manual gearchange. With soft-top and folding hard-top RF variants to choose from, this Japanese roadster is a great convertible choice.

The 2022 New Car Awards are brought to you in association with Hankook tyres

New Car Awards 2022: the winners

Special edition of Auto Express

Auto Express Issue 1,736

For the full experience, make sure you pick up a copy of our special 2022 New Car Awards collectors' edition of the Auto Express magazine, which is available in shops now.

You can buy individual issues of Auto Express or subscribe for even bigger discounts on the print magazine cover price. You can currently subscribe or download individual issues of our digital edition direct to your desktop, phone or tablet as well.

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