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New MINI Convertible 2016 debuts in Tokyo

The new MINI Convertible is ready for its March 2016 on sale date in Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S form. Prices from £18,475

Winter is just around the corner, but MINI is already prepped for the spring sun with the unveiling of its new MINI Cooper Convertible. Set to go on sale in March 2016, the new MINI drop-top will cost from £18,475, an increase of £750 over the outgoing car and we've taken a good look at it on the MINI stand at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.

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While that may seem steep next to the £15,295 DS 3 Cabrio, we expect an entry-level ‘One’ variant to launch later on in 2016 and close the gap. For now the three-strong MINI Convertible range consists of the turbo petrol Cooper, turbo diesel Cooper D (starting from £20,225) and the range-topping Cooper S variant (from £22,430) with 189bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Though we've also spotter a super-hot MINI Convertible JCW out testing which should arrive later in 2016. 

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We’ve spied the third-generation droptop MINI a number of times previously, so its looks aren’t a surprise. Based on the latest MINI hatch, which launched last year, the Convertible cuts a familiar silhouette but has increased in size all-round compared to the outgoing car. It’s 98mm longer and 44mm wider than the last cabrio, but just 1mm higher. A 28mm longer wheelbase means increased legroom for all passengers and 36mm more knee-room in the back.  MINI claims more headroom than before, but the rear seats are still strictly for two.  

Thankfully, the better packaging means the tiny boot has grown by 25 per cent to 215-litres, or 160-litres with the roof down. The bootlid is still hinged from the bottom, giving a split-tailgate that can support up to 80kg and an opening top deck for better access. For an extra dose of practicality, the rear seats split-fold as standard.

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The fully electric fabric roof itself is said to be better at keeping noise out than ever before, thanks to new acoustic insulation.  Neat features remain such as the ability to partially retract the roof at any speed like a sunroof, or fully open or close it as speeds up to 18mph.

This being MINI, there are new customisation options including a bold (and industry-first) Union Jack pattern woven into the fabric of the roof. Two new exterior colours (Melting Silver or the bright Carribean Aqua pictures) and one new brown leather interior colour can also be added.

As predicted the MINI Convertible is mechanically unchanged from the hatch. The entry level Cooper gets the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol with 134bhp, but hits 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds with the six-speed manual, down nine-tenths over the hatch. That’s due to a 120kg weight penalty over the three-door MINI thanks to chassis strengthening and the electric hood mechanism. The Cooper D does the sprint in 9.9 seconds, while the flagship Cooper S hits it in 7.2 seconds, with a top speed of 143mph.

Efficiency also suffers slightly compared to the hard-topped MINI, with the Cooper managing 55.4mpg (down 7.3mpg), the Cooper D 70.6mpg (down 3.4mpg) and the Cooper S 46.3mpg (down 2.7mpg). CO2 emissions are 114g/km, 100g/km and 139/km respectively.

Standard kit for the Convertible includes the firm’s 6.5-inch display infotainment display with Bluetooth and MINI Connected services, parking sensors and a reversing camera.

Do you like the look of the new MINI Convertible? Give us your verdict in the comments section below...

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