Ever notice how all of Mariah Carey's songs seems to sound alike throughout her entire career that has span 19 years so far? Especially when she strikes gold; it will be almost certain that her follow-ups will not stray too far. In the same way, Mini's new cabrio has struck a similar cord; only Mini die hards can tell that this is the new version.
However, the devil is in the details, one would have to leave the top down all the time to announce that he or she is driving the brand new Mini Cabrio. The smaller and neater rollover safety bar is now no longer jutting out like a supermarket trolley that mars the previous Cabrio's silhouette. Conclusively, owners of the new Mini Cabrio, must follow the marketing slogan closely; Always open.
I have been led to believe that in an open top, once the roof is down, little else matters. It doesn't matter what engine or what kind of goodies has been thrown underneath the skin of the cabriolet; an open top is simply not a tool for Lewis Hamilton stunts, it is more Paris Hilton strutting along the red carpets with her swanky Manolo Blahnilks for maximum stares.
And I couldn't be more wrong in the case of this Mini Cabrio. There is true finesse in the way it tackles corners. By giving the steering set-up a lighter feel than previous model, it has to be said that there can be only be more fun. There is always a sense of full adjustability and control under socially irresponsible cornering speeds.
Speaking of fun, sun seekers will be thrilled to know that Mini has added a new innovative device called the "Open Timer". It tracks the amount of time the cloth roof is left in open versus the total time the Cabrio has been driven. This huge analogue dial is plugged next to the massive rev counter, giving it more air time than the speedo itself.
Placing the speedo in the center console may do for some in terms of aesthetics, but often having to take my eyes off the road to have a clear view of how fast I am traveling has put me off caring about the exact speed.
Which could pose quite a problem for speed junkies like me. There are some giant balls under the cutsey boyish face of the Mini. BMW (who owns Mini)threw the kitchen sink at making this engine after the disappointment of the engine in the first Mini. In this top-spec guise, the turbocharged engine is soulful and free revving. With no glass and metal separating the ears and the tailpipe, the addictive repertoire of purrs, parps and pops adds to the pleasure of a roof-down Mini Cooper S Cabrio. Hardly can one keep within legal speed limits.
Our interchange yellow test unit came with a six-speed automatic transmission. Overcome the somewhat jerky inertia and you will be treated to a fast reacting gearbox. Which can also be used to describe the fabric roof; just as before, only 15 seconds is required for bringing the roof up or down. As I have personally dodged soaking the beautifully crafted interior while being caught in a surprise shower minutes after leaving the showroom on a very eventful Friday the 13th.
Remember how Mariah was waving her arms in her video for 1991's Emotions? This Mini cabrio entices anyone still with a heartbeat wanting to do just that, even making it Through the rain occasionally. Though I would advice Mariah not to, in fear of her costly optional extras to spill all over.
This top-spec (for now) Mini Cooper S Cabrio offers a seamless blend of pokey performance, sharp handling and respectable build quality would answer all the questions a fun cabriolet buyer would ask. Now, how would one overcome the highish outlay required and a potential uphill task of choosing the right colour and spec combination?
|Mini Cooper S Cabrio|
|Engine||1,598cc 4 cylinder 16V,Turbocharged|
|Max. Power||175BHP @5500rpm|
|Max. Torque||240NM @1600-5000rpm|
|0-100 km/h||7.7 secs|
|Fuel Economy||7.1L/100km (combined cycle)|
|CO2 Emissions||170g/km (Euro IV compliant)|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)|
|Price with COE*||$147,800|
*Prices quoted are indicative of prices in Singapore. Please contact your local distributor for prices in your country.
Read this week's AutoClub Newsletter spread on cabriolets.
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