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Convertible of the Year 2023: MINI Convertible

The MINI Convertible is the 2023 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Fiat 500 and Mazda MX-5 commended

The sun shows no signs of setting on the MINI’s drop-top masterpiece, which has secured an incredible sixth consecutive win in the Convertible category. The addition of an all-electric model has broadened the British baby’s appeal, but it’s the open-topped marvel’s combination of wind-in-the-hair thrills, endless customisation options and low running costs that continues to make it such topless treat.

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This MINI allows you to make the most of any breaks in the fickle British weather; its powered fabric top opens you up to the elements in as little as 18 seconds. Yet when the insulated roof is raised, the cabin is almost as comfortable and quiet as the standard hatchback’s. It’s also equally upmarket and has all the kit you’ll need, including a neat digital-dial pack and intuitive infotainment. And while the interior is compact, its handy 2+2 seating layout makes it a more practical choice than traditional roadster rivals.

The Convertible also delivers the same fun- loving driving experience as its tin-top siblings. With quick steering, acrobatic agility and strong grip, the MINI always raises a smile. It’s backed by a line-up of eager turbocharged engines, running from a 1.5-litre three-cylinder to the scorching 228bhp JCW. If you want to enjoy the sounds of the countryside as well as the sights and smells, there’s also the near-silent Electric version, although it’s not cheap, at £52,500.

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It would be a brave punter that bets against the MINI being in seventh heaven in 2024.

Our choice

MINI Cooper Sport (£28,540)

In many respects it’s best to keep it simple with the MINI, because the Cooper’s characterful 134bhp 1.5-litre motor delivers a perfect blend of eager acceleration and fuel-sipping economy. However, we’d recommend adding the Sport upgrade that brings racier looks and adaptive dampers to the standard car’s already-generous equipment list.

Commended

Fiat 500

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The MINI wasn’t the first drop-top small car with an electric heart: that honour goes to the Fiat 500. In fairness, the alfresco Italian isn’t a full cabriolet, but the Fiat’s full-length canvas roof lets you get up close and personal with the elements, an experience that’s only enhanced by the zippy and near-silent EV drivetrain.

Mazda MX-5

The world’s best-selling roadster shows no signs of slowing down as it approaches its 35th birthday. With its classic front-engine and rear-drive layout, the MX-5 offers driver thrills, but is as affordable to buy and run as most family hatches. A choice of fabric or folding-hardtop versions adds to the appeal.

You’ll find all the information on our New Car Awards 2023 winners and the reasons why we chose them on these pages. Just follow the links below to read more…

New Car Awards 2023: the winners

Special edition of Auto Express

Auto Express Issue 1,787

For the full New Car Awards experience, make sure you pick up a copy of our special 2023 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.

Stay right up to date with the latest from the world of cars in 2023 and beyond, subscribe to our email newsletter and follow us on social media...

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