The Mini Cooper S is a good little hot hatchback, but how do you make the iconic Cooper S even better? As it turns out, you can do so without tinkering under the bonnet and simply by taking the roof off. And, in doing so, Mini has literally taken the fun quotient of the Cooper S through the roof.
All that firepower is still intact under the hood from its 2-litre, twin-turbocharged, direct injection, four-cylinder petrol engine, developing 188bhp between 5,000 and 6,000rpm and 280Nm of peak torque between a very handy 1,250 and 4,600rpm. This well spread power and torque curve ensures that, as the smooth shifting six-speed gearbox goes through the gears, there isn’t any indication of turbo lag to cause a dip in the power curve. And the fact that the car only weighs a mere 1,385kgs also helps in keeping its power-to-weight ratio in check.
The end result is that this striking looking Cooper S Convertible, with its racing stripes and union jack fabric roof, has impressive performance to complement its chic appearance. 100km/h is dispatched in just over 7 seconds. And while that’s well and good, it’s the sensation of speed that counts here more than anything else.
Drop the roof, put your foot down, and the Cooper S roars and darts forward with all the ferocity of a wild cat (a small one of course). And the cat references don’t end here, as it handles very well too. It corners absolutely flat, and so allows you to carry a fearful amount of speed around bends thanks to its well-balanced chassis, low centre of gravity and wide tyres. Sadly, its stiff suspension is the weak link on the road, as it crashes into bumps and has a back-breaking ride over anything but perfect tarmac. On the track though, this thing just charges into corners and darts out of them – making it an extremely fun car to drive.
So it drives well, but that’s not all. The joy it offers courtesy of its top down motoring is something that many enthusiasts will relate to. It’s a symphony of induction noise, combined with a sporty exhaust note that crackles and bangs on the overrun, which makes for a phenomenal experience – something that can’t be measured, but sure as hell tickles all the right senses.