Distinctly British in its style, the 2021 MINI Convertible is a head-turner in many ways. This year, the line-up gets a few exciting new additions, including the return of the 6-speed manual transmission that stick-lovers will enjoy. You can also opt for the standard 3-cylinder engine on the Cooper trim or upgrade to a more powerful 4-cylinder turbo engine on the Cooper S.
As far as features go, you can basically configure this vehicle until your heart is content. Pick from one of the main trims (the Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works), then equip it with one of the sub-trims (the Classic, Signature, and Iconic). This year, you can opt for a budget-friendly Oxford Edition.
Any of the engines you pick will have a nice blending of power and efficiency. These vehicles also handle with ease and are great for city driving due to their compact physique. Inside, the cabin looks just as unique and upscale as the exterior. You'll just have to bear in mind that going over rough road surfaces is difficult for the suspension to handle, space sure is limited, and the MINI Convertible can be pricier than its rivals.
Could the 2021 MINI Convertible be the right addition to your life? Before you decide, read on and learn what is new for 2021, which styles and trims are available, how this vehicle drives, and what to expect from it in terms of fuel efficiency.
What's New For 2021?
New for the 2021 MINI Convertible is the availability of the Oxford Edition, a value version of the MINI. Also, the 6-speed manual transmission (which was taken away last year) makes its triumphant return, wedging its way back in alongside the 7-speed dual clutch and 8-speed automatic transmission options. Other than that, most things carry over from last model year's line-up.
The MINI itself comes as a Convertible or Hardtop. Here, we are just focusing on the Convertible versions.
As previously mentioned, there are three main trims and three sub-trims for the 2021 MINI Convertible. The Cooper has a turbo 1.5-L 3-cylinder engine that creates 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. A leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, air conditioning, a rear-view camera, heated side mirrors, and adaptive cruise control all get included in the standard features list.
The Cooper S upgrades you to run-flat tires. It also has a John Cooper Works steering wheel, three drive modes, and black-and-white checkered interior trim. The John Cooper Works trim adds sport seats, a sport suspension, and cornering lights with the LED headlights.
Now, we have the sub-trims. The base is the Classic. This includes a 6.5-inch infotainment system, a small steering wheel, and faux leather upholstery. Upgrading to the Signature will get you more luxury-oriented features like heated front seats, LED fog lights and headlights, keyless entry, and a dual-zone automatic climate control system.
The line-topping Iconic sub-trim offers even more. It comes with a large number of larger, more chic wheels and upgraded leather upholstery in more color options. Smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay is standard, but Android Auto is missing from the list, meaning Android phone users cannot sync their phones' apps with the MINI Convertible.
Since the 2021 MINI Convertible is so lightweight in its design, the 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine is able to give the Convertible quite a lot of power to accelerate. Getting this engine with the Cooper S trim level will give you a snappy 0-60 time of about 6.8 seconds. The brakes are equally strong, always feeling predictable and able to progress in a linear fashion. For not being a genuine sports car, the MINI competes well with them in making panic stops, coming to 0 from 60 in just 101 feet.
Picking between the three selectable drive modes lets you customize your driving experience. Normal mode feels light and easy while Sport adds a good amount of heft. On the highway, its quick responses make the MINI feel a bit too punchy, but otherwise, the steering feels pretty precise. Handling is even better since the MINI is so quick to respond. Its stability control is on-point and makes for a rather thrilling ride.
Worried it might not be too comfortable? Worry not. The sport seats feel cozy enough for long road trips, although the side bolsters are a little intrusive for taller folks. Stick with the smaller 17-inch wheels on the more sport-oriented Cooper S for a comfortable ride quality; anything larger might make it feel too stiff. Note that some wind and tire noise will seep into the cabin at highway speeds, but it should not come off as being obnoxious.
The MINI just isn't very utility-oriented, and that's the key thing to know going into it. Small-item storage spaces in the cabin are scarce and small, and the Convertible only offers 7.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the top up. Taking the top down dwindles the available space to just 5.7 cubes. You might be able to fit a few grocery bags or a suitcase back there, but not much else.
On the base 3-cylinder engine, you get an EPA estimated 31 mpg combined. Real-world tests show that, on the highway, you can average about 38 mpg in the 3-cylinder with the 6-speed manual transmission equipped. The Cooper S model's turbo 4-cylinder takes the number down to 27 to 30 mpg combined depending on which configuration you buy.
The 2021 MINI Convertible is all about having fun and looking stylish while doing it. The driving performance is exciting, but you will have to be creative with how you utilize space inside the cabin and in the cargo area.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All MINI Convertible MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.