MINI John Cooper Works Convertible: top-down go-kart style driving

It's got the looks, the style and the ride you will love

At $57,340 there’s certainly a whole lot of other cars you could buy for your money – but would they offer you the same zip and turn as the John Cooper Works MINI Convertible?  I think not.

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Around the base of the gear stick is a twist and turn vehicle dynamics control.  To the right a couple of times you’re in ECO mode.  This then shows a useful + or – indicator as to how efficient you’ve been driving compared to standard mode.  And it guides you through your suggested gear-changes etc.

But the real joy comes from two flicks to the left.  Sport mode.  The large infotainment screen glows with a red-ring around it and the indication on-screen is that this mode will give you a go-kart like feel to the handling.

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And it’s not wrong.  The joy of a car so close to the ground, with such a short wheelbase and relatively narrow track is the direct feeling of the drive.

Through John Cooper Works (JCW) tuning and dynamics, the thing feels amazing. Throw it into a corner, no problem, and perhaps adding more joy is the sound.  The burble and blip of the engine as you come down through the gears is something akin to a high-end sports car which starts to give context to the price tag you’re paying here.

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On the model we drove we had added bonnet stripes, a Piano Black interior, seat heating and control package (Forward collision alert, high beam assist, active cruise control plus tyre monitoring and LED headlights with adaptive cornering)  which added just $2,440 to the $54,900 Manufacturers list price.

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As standard for the list price you’re getting the stunning 18 inch wheels, an auto transmission (upgrade to the Manual for no-cost folks, it’s a bloody great gearbox), Digital Radio, 12 speaker Harman/Kardon Hi-Fi, Head-up display, JCW sports seats and interior content, the 8.8 inch infotainment system, park assist, reversing camera (great quality) and more.

This little 2 litre 4-cylinder is pushing out 170kW and 320Nm torque with a fuel economy at a claimed 6.2l/100.

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On the road in traffic, feels like a nice low sports car with body hugging seats and an easy drive.  As the twists and turns open up it turns into a smile factory.  I haven’t enjoyed a manual car this much in a long long time.

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The convertible roof takes away some boot space, but let’s be honest, boot space was never a big thing for the MINI anyway.   My only real gripe about the car was the obstruction that the folded down roof became – taking up half my rear-view mirror when down.

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Other than that, this is a cracking little motor.  With the front grill and bumper styling paired with the relatively enormous wheels, plus the engine note and corner handling – it’s a winner, no doubt.

MINI John Cooper Works Convertible
Date Published: 12/12/2016
Great sound, great look, great handling, this thing is everything you want for that twisting turning road - but in a very drivable and comfortable package.
4.5 / 5 stars
Categories
Motoring

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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