Mini Cooper S: Personality without a roof

2022 convertible a fun-to-drive drop top.

Someday. Eventually. Those hopeful words are said regularly by me when it comes to my love of convertibles. Someday, I will own a convertible. Eventually, I’ll get to enjoy the wind and open road and joy that comes from driving a convertible. As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of drop tops. I always have been.

So this week, my “eventually” happened, if only for the one-week loan of the 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible. I’ve always been a fan of the Mini brand for being a quirky vehicle full of a lot of driving personality. So add that to being a convertible and obviously I was pretty excited to spend a week driving this car with the top down.

And for once, Mother Nature cooperated with blue skies and warm weather – perfect convertible weather.

The Mini brand in general is full of distinction both in appearance and performance. My tester certainly falls into both of those categories. On looks, the Island Blue metallic exterior was accented with white striping up the hood. The circular headlights are so prototypical of Mini. The honeycombed-shape grille had the S emblem on it, to indicate that this was the punchier version of the Cooper.

On the back, the taillights have the Union Jack flag displayed inside, showing off the car’s British heritage. Dual exhaust pipes sit together, side by side and emit a peppy exhaust note. The honeycomb shape from the grille shows up below the rear bumper to complete the look.

In this era of boring car design with vehicles lacking personality, the Mini is a standout and put me down as a fan. Is it cutesy? Yes. Will it be a design that will appeal to everyone? Definitely not.

There are three engine variants for the Mini Cooper. The base engine is a little punchless with only 134 horsepower. My tester was the Cooper S, which has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 189 horsepower and 209 pound-feet of torque. The sportiest offering is the John Cooper Works (JCW), which bumps up the HP to 228 and the torque up to 235 pound-feet. Both engines match the personality of the looks with quite a bit of driving distinction.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but there was also a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Every time I drive a Mini I describe it the same way. “It’s like a big, fun go-kart” is what I tell everyone and that applies to this Mini Cooper S Convertible. Take the top down and it adds to the joy you already get from driving it.

I’ve used it quite a bit already in this review, but the personality shows inside too (which is good since the top should be down as often as possible). The interior to go with the Island Blue exterior was quite handsome. It was named Chesterfield Malt Brown and the leather seats had significant stitching and a light accent trim runs the exterior of the seats including the rounded, youthful headrests.

The seats are comfortable for this four-person convertible. While the backseat is small (as you’d expect), I did have one adult back there who said the legroom wasn’t bad and that the rear seat was comfortable.

One of the interior features that Minis are known for is the rounded infotainment screen. The 8.8-inch round touchscreen is responsive, but the overall infotainment system is a little confounding at times. There are things are overly complicated and as such the entire infotainment could be much more intuitive. There is a lot of technology for this car once you figure it out. As with most convertibles, trunk space is limited.

The Mini Cooper S convertible has only 5.7 cubic feet of trunk space making it quite limited in what it can hold. I did shove a couple bags of grocery in there on a quick errand.

Base price for this four-seat convertible is $31,900. My tester had the Iconic Trim, which included Nappa Leather steering wheel, heated front seats, a much-appreciated convertible wind deflector (which knocked down the wind/road noise some), and a Harman/Kardon sound system. As such, the final price, after destination fee was $40,350.

Fuel economy rating was 27 mpg/city and 36 mpg/highway. I averaged well over 31 mpg in a week’s worth of pedal-to-the-metal driving. Drive this car like it’s meant to be driven and don’t worry about the fuel economy.

I perhaps overused the word personality throughout this review. But that’s the go-to word when it comes to the Mini brand and certainly applies to one that offers you the wind in your hair and the open road ahead of you.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible

Price/As tested price................................................ $31,900/$40,350

Mileage.......................................... 27 mpg/city; 36 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Horsepower................................. 189 hp/207 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. Seven-speed automatic

Drive Wheels................ Front-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Born, Netherlands

About the Author