MINI Convertible John Cooper Works
With spring well underway, convertibles are always a fun way to rediscover the pleasure of the year's hottest temperatures. The 2022 MINI Convertible John Cooper Works has the British attributes that enthusiasts love combined with the wind-in-your-hair experience that everyone appreciates. Without further ado, let's get into it: our test model had an MSRP of $56,530.
When you first see the MINI Convertible in Zesty yellow, it's stunning how such a tiny vehicle can shine. Even on cloudy days, you can't miss the car passing on the street; a big thumbs up to the designer for offering such a striking colour. You also find the typical MINI Cooper cues, such as the round headlights in front and the Union Jack flag taillights. You also get exclusive 18-inch wheels, red brake callipers, openings in the front grille, and a hood scoop for additional air for the engine on the John Cooper Works trim. And, of course, JCW logos are placed all over the vehicle to emphasize that you went all-in. This vehicle is so charming; it truly is one of a kind!
Inside, the basic MINI layout is carried over in this model also. You'll face the new digital gauge cluster that doesn't display enough information with the fuel level and engine revs on the sides and the digital speed and trip report in the middle. As we've said in previous reviews, we wish it would contain more information and be more configurable. This screen now displays the speed limit at the top right corner of the speed indicator, a helpful feature for this tiny speedster. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and has all the buttons you need for everyday use, and is now also heated for 2022. You also have paddle shifters that help change gears faster.
The round infotainment system layout and the airplane-style buttons are nothing new for MINI owners. We like the LED graphic around the center screen. It is different yet simple; it makes the ensemble look fantastic at night. In the center console, the typical round infotainment system. The screen is the same one found on the other models from the manufacturer, and the display for Apple CarPlay is pretty wide, which is practical. No Android Auto is yet available, and I hope they can add that critical feature soon. You can also control the touchscreen via a knob on the center console, and it works great. Airplane-style buttons are used to control the drive modes, and the button to start the vehicle is bright red and will light up; it looks exciting.
Inside the MINI Convertible, interior space is about what you would expect in a subcompact 2-door hatchback with the roof down. The front occupants have nothing to worry about; the two rear passengers will tell a different story. There is enough space to fit a child, either in a child seat or a booster, and smaller adults. Fortunately, the ISOFIX ports are easily identified and accessible, making the car seat installation straightforward. Getting in and out is made simple with the latch on both front seats, close to the headrests; the only step left is to ask the person sitting in front nicely to stand up! As for trunk space, it's obviously impacted by the roof stored there. You can fold the rear seats in a 50/50 configuration to have space and get a decent room for a trip to the grocery store, but it's far less roomy than the classic 3-door MINI. A quick word on the electric soft top, it can be lowered or raised at the simple touch of a button in 18 seconds for the whole process. A great benefit is that the vehicle doesn't need to be at a complete stop for the mechanism to work; the car can be going at speeds up to 30kph to function whenever you start feeling some droplets of water.
We've tiptoed enough around; let's get to the main advantage of the MINI Convertible John Cooper Works. The numbers do not reflect the performance we feel under the hood in this vehicle. A turbocharged 4-cylinder coupled to an 8-speed Sport Steptronic automatic transmission combines 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. First, the engine's rumble is amplified by the exhaust tailpipes mounted in the center of the bumper, and it sounds satisfying. Second, although the estimated 0-100kph time of 6,5 seconds doesn't look that impressive, we were pretty surprised by the responsiveness of the throttle and the absence of delay from the moment you stepped on the accelerator. The transmission changes the gears quickly, thus enhancing the enjoyment behind the wheel. You can feel the added benefit when you opt for the JCW package. You can change the drive modes between Green, Mid, and Sport to unleash the beast fully.
As for the rest of the driving experience, this convertible felt agile and stable. Even though it is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it is planted, and body roll is limited at high speeds and low speeds. The 17-inch run-flat tires are tiny and help the car feel even more precise in corners. The steering is stiff, and isn't overly electronically assisted. Braking is also excellent; we're still talking about the performance trim in the convertible lineup. We also liked that whether the roof is up or down, it doesn't affect the vehicle's dynamics; in other words, you can drive it hard in both configurations since the chassis has been reinforced for the whole John Cooper Works model.
The MINI Convertible JCW combines the open-air experience and a go-kart feeling. This vehicle is focused on enthusiasts who want a convertible but feel that the Mustang is too big; for example, in that sense, this MINI is perfect for the task. However, the price is steep, $56,530 for our test model, but MINIs are different from anything else in the auto industry in 2022.
MINI has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with MINI Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion of the car referred above.