Convertibles are fun vehicles that are amazing to drive, but they also come with a few deficits in the practicality department. For those who live in winter climates, it can be a hassle to deal with the cold chill that invariably whistles through the small gaps in the roof's seal found on even premium models, combined with the lack of insulation of the top itself. Convertibles also often give up a significant amount of trunk space in order to store the folding roof, seldom leaving room for more than one overnight bag or a small load of groceries. Finally, since many convertibles hail from the compact segment of the market, their rear accommodations are not exactly spacious, generally limiting the vehicle to two occupants on all but the shortest of city trips.
In the mid-2000s, BMW had a good thing going on with the MINI Cooper, a coupe that was a fantastic recreation of both the spirit and the look of the original micro machine. Wanting to somehow generate even more interest and excitement surrounding the compact automobile, BMW decided to build a convertible version of the car. They decided to apply the latest technologies in order to avoid the traditional deficits of drop top vehicles. From the outset, this posed some interesting problems. For one, the MINI's tiny dimensions made it difficult to find a place to store the roof when in the open position. This was solved in a manner similar to that employed by the New Beetle drop top by introducing a lip that rests upon the rear deck and contains a portion of the roof when not in use. The convertible design also meant a re-think of the vehicle's hatchback, which could obviously no longer operate in quite the same manner. In its place a sort of drop-down tailgate was installed to access the now almost non-existent trunk.
Public response to the MINI Cooper Convertible was extremely positive. The vehicle's core audience consisted of enthusiasts who were virtual proselytizers for the brand, fanatics who appreciated the automobile's splendid road manners and supreme handling capabilities. The rag top edition of the car tapped into a further vein of drivers who were in love with the MINI's styling and found that by removing the roof the vehicle was now too attractive to resist. The convertible became a strong component of Cooper sales and a pop culture sensation. This article examines the features and specifications of the best used convertible built by MINI.
2005 - 2007 MINI Cooper convertible
When designing a convertible, it is not always easy to reconcile the styling attributes of the vehicle that the drop top is based on with the demands and realities imposed by a folding roof. By its very nature, a fabric top is going to form a different shape than the steel one it is replacing, and as such designers must get creative when it comes to either preserving the current profile of the automobile or designing a new but still acceptable look. The 2005 - 2007 MINI Cooper convertible, blessed with a very square roofline, does a fantastic job of staying true to the vehicle's appearance with the top up, while doing an acceptable job of stowing the roof when it is time to play under the sun or stars.
Mechanically, the 2005 - 2007 MINI Cooper is identical to the coupe of the same name. The base model of the vehicle is powered by a 4-cylinder engine that displaces 1.6-liters and provides 115 horsepower. This engine is supercharged in the MINI Cooper S convertible and offers a healthier 168 ponies, a figure that bumps up slightly with the introduction of a turbo unit for 2007. The entry level rag top is equipped with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a continuously-variable automatic unit, while the Cooper S benefits from a 6-speed manual that morphs into a 6-speed automatic with paddle-shifting capability in later model years. The convertible MINI pays a weight penalty of about 500 lbs over the coupe in order to handle the extra structural rigidity that is required, but it still tips the scales at well under 3,000 lbs.
While the MINI Cooper convertible's trunk might be quite small, the rear seats fold forward to provide 21 cubic feet of storage, helping to salvage at least a respectable amount of utility. The MINI can be ordered with a whole host of premium goodies, such as dynamic stability control, leather seats, a Harman Kardon stereo system, navigation and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Given that the corporate parent in this situation is BMW, the MINI's interior is assembled with the same degree of fastidiousness and attention to detail as any of their other products.
The 2005 - 2007 MINI Cooper is a fine used convertible that adds a splash of exclusivity to an already tight automotive package.