Introducing the 2016 MINI convertible.
Nothing says warm weather fun like a convertible. Which is why I was so excited when I was invited to take a drive to the Jersey Shore in the 2016 MINI Convertible.
On a beautiful spring day in NYC, I headed to the East Side Ferry Landing to catch the ferry to Sandy Hook, New Jersey–a short 45 minute ferry ride that totally beat the two hour drive– to learn about what’s new from MINI.
The big news: MINI has upped the ante with their first open top MINI powered by BMW Group engine technology. The new MINI convertible is a premium four-seater soft-top that is both practical and customizable for open-air motoring fun.
A must for convertible driving: Taking care of your hair
Speaking of all this open-air, I would be remiss if I didn’t share some style tips for the occasion. On the drive to the beach it was really bright and sunny so I opted for a fitted baseball cap (for added sun protection) and secured my hair in a low ponytail kind of tucked into my jacket collar on the side to prevent it from whipping me in the face. On the drive back it became a bit overcast and windy, so I went with a turban style headwrap which allowed me to secure more hair. You become aware of layers that persistently smack you in the face at anything above 20 miles an hour.
Meet the new MINI
Once we arrived it was time to get into one of the elegantly sporty vehicles and get out to Long Beach. The new edition of the MINI convertible not only makes driving more fun but is designed with luxury touches that make it easy to get an open-air experience. These are the models:
- MINI Cooper, starts at $25,950, 3-cylinder engine
- MINI Cooper S, starts at $29,600, 4-cylinder engine
- MINI John Cooper Works, starts at $35,600, 4-cylinder is its fastest (0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.4 seconds)
An excellent standard feature, the fully automatic soft top can be activated spontaneously at the press of a button. And just so you know how much fun you had with the top down, the MINI Always Open Timer keept track, letting you know how long the top was down.
The case for topless driving
Although the MINI Convertible is a premium two-door car, it does seat up to 4 people. I recommend those 2 passengers in the back seats be on the smaller side (think kids). Being a tall person (6’0”) legroom is important to me, and driving or riding on the passenger side of the cockpit style seats offered a comfortable experience.
There are a number of high-quality standard features including: automatic soft top activation, central locking, a 6.5 inch display with MINI Connected that connects your phone to the infotainment system, and dual climate control. They’re all on board to enhance your topless driving experience.
Build your own 2016 MINI convertible
MINI offers drivers over 10 million ways to customize their vehicle. That means the new MINI Convertible is made for individualization, including British heritage details like the MINI Yours Union Jack Design soft top design, available for a convertible for the first time. See all the options for yourself here.
Customize your topless driving experience
Now it was time to take on the road! It was warm and the sun was out, perfect convertible weather. However, MINI knows it rains and temperatures drop, so standard features include auto roof open and close that can even be operated while driving at up to 18 miles per hour, the MINI Connected entertainment system and an app with a rain warning function.
The driving experience is also customizable. The standard driving modes enable drivers to focus on ride comfort, sportiness or efficiency. “Safety first” is my motto, so I appreciate all of the first time features available for the MINI convertible: LED headlamps with LED daytime driving lights and LED rear lights; adaptive light distribution and LED turning light; LED fog lamp; LED interior and ambient lighting; MINI Head-Up Display, parking assistant, driving assistant with camera-based active cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function, high beam assistant and road sign detection; and, finally, rear view camera.
Fun & practical – a winning combination
Once I arrived at the beautiful beaches of the Jersey Shore, I had the chance to take a closer look at these drop-tops. Whether the soft top is open or closed there is a blend of luxury and sportiness that runs through the design of the MINI convertible.
And I learned that when the soft top is closed, the luggage compartment opening can be expanded via the easy load function. Yes, that is standard! There are two locking handles that allow the soft top frame to be swung higher up than in the previous model, to facilitate stowing larger luggage. Upgrade! The luggage compartment volume of the new MINI Convertible is 5.7 ft with the soft top open and 7.6 ft when it is closed. This feature makes it simple to securely accommodate skiing equipment, snowboards and other bulky items required for leisure and everyday activities.
The soft top also offers a sliding roof function which allows the front section of the top to be retracted to continuously variable levels by up to 15 inches. Controlled fresh air supply is also activated by means of a toggle switch on the roof frame and can be used at all speeds.
After a full day of driving, I can see how the MINI Convertible can make everyday driving anything but mundane and makes the case for going topless!
Note: I was MINI’s guest for this drive. Opinions expressed are my own.