The MINI Convertible is here. Instead of the usual write-up everyone seems to be doing (and we already did back in early April) we're going to instead focus on some of the changes and additions that are less talked about.
- Everyone seems to take photos of the convertible with the top up or down. Here are a few in “sunroof” mode: 1 / 2 / 3
- According to the initial MINI PR release about the new convertible there was to be rear LED lights. Well I've seen quite a few convertibles in the past 3 months and all of them including the US spec one I saw today did not have rear LED lights. I'm not sure why the spec changed but there certainly seems to have been a change. You can read an excerpt of the original PR release here.
- Sure the view out both the front or back seats is great with the top down – but what about with the top up? [Photo]
- The new key! MINI has taken care of my biggest complaint with the key – it now feels as well made as the BMW key. But it's still as big as it's always been. You can see a photo comparing it to the BMW key here [Photo]
- New seats! MINI has made some subtle but welcome changes to the sport seats. First off the stitching pattern has changes. Secondly the seat and the leather appear to be a bit more taut than before. The seat seems to hug better as the bolsters seems better defined. Overall the quality just seems higher than before. [Photo]
- Convience lighting under the door. [Photo]
- As promised LED lighting in the door handle! [Photo]
- The rear power socket is still there. However it's been moved from the left side to the left rear of the boot.
- While attempting to see if a rear brake mod could still be accomplished I noticed that there's no easy way to change rear bulbs. In fact it looks to be quite a lot of work just to get back to that area.
- Plastic plate that takes the place of the rear foglight on US spec cars. For those of you in the US don't worry – you can always opt for the dealer installed rear foglight package. [Photo]. By the way, as noted previously the reason the US isn't getting the rear foglight as standard is that California and Oregon have laws that somehow interfere with either the light or the placement of the light.l
- Is the center storage container something that can be retrofitted to earlier cars? Well – according to what I saw tonight and these photos, it certainly looks that way. It seems that it's only held in place by one screw – which occupies the same spot as a screw in the previous cars. [Photo 1 / 2]
- In this one photo you can see the three biggest changes to the Convertible's engine compartment. On the left side you can see the newly redesigned air intake which now appears smaller. Moving from left to right we see the new engine mount. Then on the right side you can clearly see the new structural bracing seemingly to give the convertible more rigidity. [Photo]
There are some great additions here that I for one welcome. However I think the biggest dissapointment is the installation of a ridiculous black plate on US spec cars that almost takes on the appearance of some kind of faux central defuser. It's hard to imagine but it actually looks worse in person than in the photo.
One of the biggest improvements for have to be the seats. They finally look a little bit closer to the class leading BMW sport seats.
I'm even finally warming up to the 5-spoke “rocket” 15″ wheels. While they wouldn't be my choice I think they fit the car. I am, however, dissapointed that the convertible sport package in the US doesn't come with the 7 Fin-Spoke 16″ wheels new for 2005. Having seen them in person in quite a few convertibles while in the UK I can say I definitely prefer tham over the 5-star wheels that were introduced in 2001 and are on the current car. It would seem that in the US they will be dealer installed option. And that of course means you get stuck with another set of wheels if you order them.