Day Five with the MCS Convertible

Observations on driving a 2005 MCS convertible:

  • The new '05 door armrest is a fantastic addition and the pockets in the doors retain all the previous usability and possibly a bit more.
  • The LED lights in the door handles are totally trick and totally useful.
  • The lights below the doors are probably unnecessary but, in real world use, very welcome.
  • The new, larger interior mirror is really a nice addition. However everytime you raise or lower the top you still must re-adjust the mirror.

  • The new clock location is horrendous. It's good to know they'll be moving it again soon.
  • It's definitely louder on the highway than the coupe – no question.
  • The new one piece dash doesn't eliminate dash rattles… at least not in this particular convertible.
  • The two small orange LED lights just behind the mirror bath the dash and the radio area in an orange glow that really looks fantastic. It also gives you just enough light to see the controls a little easier. All this coupled with the chrome interior trim it gives the car a more upscale look and feel.
  • The antenna that originally looked awkward to me now just looks endearing.
  • The stock 16″ wheels look more of a comfort/luxury option and less sporty than one would expect to see on this car. Interestingly these are the wheels most of the rest of the world gets on the Cooper as an option. Not sure why the US gets them as standard on the MCSc.
  • Mike Maddox

    I couldn't agree more on the location of the clock – it's terrible. It's also hard to set, and to set accurately (seems like even after I set it, it's 1 minute behind).

  • Gabe

    totally agree – the interface for setting it is pretty ridiculous.

  • indimini

    Can you say how highway noise compares to the hard top w/ the sunroof open? Also, how is the highway noise when the soft top is in sunroof mode?

  • Gabe

    I'm referring to the noise level with the roof closed.

    When the sunroof is open on the convertible it's just a bit louder than when the sunroof is open on the coupe.

  • BOB

    “”The new clock location is horrendous. It's good to know they'll be moving it again soon.”” Gabe, when will this be changed?

  • Gabe

    I've heard of no exact timetable for a change but according to Paul Mullet at MINI2 and a source I've talked to it should happen before too long.

  • TJKonarski

    There's actually 4 small orange LED lights that bath the center console with orange light. The other two are just below all the control switches (above the cup holders). It's one of my favorite things about the car. Who else would think of (and actually put in the vehicle) ambient lighting that's meant solely for looks and style? MINI gets huge points with me on this.

    Yes, very true on the clock. It's small, it's in an odd place, and yes, it sets behind a minute or two.

    I had an annoying creaking sound coming from my MCSC's passenger rear quarter window and also a bad rattle coming from somewhere in the back. I took it in to the dealer for service. The service department determined that the window regulator needed to be adjusted and the convertible top itself was “not aligned in rear”. Once the adjustments and alignments were made all my creaks and rattles went away. (Who knew a convertible top can get an alignment?…)

    Gabe: Overall, did you enjoy having a MC Convertible? Would it be something your would buy for yourself or are you more for the hard top?

  • Sean Bartnik


    “Who else would think of (and actually put in the vehicle) ambient lighting that's meant solely for looks and style?”

    Well, Volkswagen would. They beat MINI to the punch on this one by a few years. But I'm glad MINI finally caught up because I really like it. And I agree with Gabe, the lights in the door handles are fantastic.

  • TJKonarski

    Sean Bartnik : No kidding?! I didn't know that. With the stereos, lighting, materials and styling in showing up in so many vehicles nowadays it's like the interior of our cars are kind of like MINIature clubs. I'll have a martini, please… 😉

    (Before anyone lashes back — No, I don't condone drinking and driving.)

  • Gabe

    The first time I had seen small orange LED lighting like this was in the E46 3 series that debuted in '98 as a '99. Since the MINI uses the same electronics I always figured it was a no brainer. However I never really thought the two small LED lights under the toggles really made much sense… I mean how many out there with cars even know they exists. However the two near the rearview mirror (like the 3 series) made sense.

    Now I'm just waiting for someone to tell me that …. “oh yeah, the '53 Studebaker how those!” :)

  • Gabe

    “Gabe: Overall, did you enjoy having a MC Convertible? Would it be something your would buy for yourself or are you more for the hard top?”

    I'm going to have to wait until my week is up before I answer that question :) However I can say I've never been a big convertible person before this test.

  • Steve

    I had a loaner '05 Cooper for a couple of days, and also enjoyed the interior lighting (and disliked the clock). In addition I liked the exterior lights flash on door unlock and trunk close, compared to just door lock on my '02.

  • TJKonarski

    Yeah, the two under the toggles don't offer any really “useable” light. I mean, they aren't really illuminating anything different than what the two near the mirror are already illuminating. It would've been better if they took the two under the toggles and moved them back to illuminate the storage area behind the cupholders. I think that would've been ideal and slightly functional.

    However, I have the interior chrome package and the two lights under the toggle do provide more of a reflective quality on the chrome down in that area. Maybe that was MINI's purpose for these, though I do think they'd be better off pushed back shining in the storage area.

  • GSKChicago

    Sorry, as I clearly missed from other posts.

    Where are they moving the clock to in future MINI's? Where was/is the clock in pre-'05 MINI's?

    Thanks. :o)


  • Gabe

    No idea where they are moving the clock. it was in a small plastic housing just behind the rear view mirror.

  • dan

    I believe the Audi A4 had ambient lighting back in 2000 as well…a soft red glow from above…very cool.

  • Joe K.

    As did my 2002 Audi TT roadster; a nice touch.

  • Shawn

    As an FYI… the Acura TSX has ambiaent blue lighting. Very nice touch.

  • elmor fudwel

    I like, as many of you,think the ambient lighting is a pratical and fun thing.

    Recently, I've begun to wish for some type of lighting that would light up the toggle switches in my '02 MCS. In the dark, I can't see them at all, though the icons are visible. I find that I have to fumble around a little for the window switches. What I thought might work in future models is if each toggle had a light at it's tip in addition to the icons being lit.

    Though I don't currently know of any third party toggle switches with incorporated lights, I'm trying to think of a solution.

    Too bad the lights can't be retrofitted in some way.

  • TJKonarski

    The toggle switch for the fog lights has a tiny green light that illuminates when the fog lights are turned on. Maybe those switches can be bought somehow.

  • Cadbury

    as always – there are as many opinions as there are people: I come to MINI from a Honda Accord – clock is just above the dash in the center. When I test drove the '04, one of the things I was concerned about was that I'd have to get used to looking up for the clock!! I was really relieved when I got an '05 and the clock was down center… 😉


    The Scion's have changeable ambient lighting, too…illustrating that it doesn't have to be on an expensive automobile.

  • TJKonarski

    It's interesting that the ambient lighting seems to be showing up on vehicles that are manufactured by companies that their designs are more forward, more modern and of known for thinking 'outside the box'. (Scion, MINI, Audi, etc…) It also seems to be mostly foreign manufacturers who are developing vehicles with very unique, cutting edge designs and features. For instance, I don't hear anyone saying that the Ford, Chevrolet or General Motors has ambient lighting (though they may very well have, I just don't know.)

    For me, I think it's the smaller things like this that speak in a large way about the dispostion of these manufacturers. Ya know… Toyota is very close to bumping out Chrysler to become one of the Big 3 with regard to sales in the United States this year. Wouldn't that be a sobering realization if the Big 3 consisted of GM, Ford and TOYOTA?…

  • MINIGuy

    “The toggle switch for the fog lights has a tiny green light that illuminates when the fog lights are turned on” It does? I can't see the light when the fog lights are turned on on my '05, is it visible in the day?

  • MINIGuy

    Nevermind, I found it!


    Gabe, can you comment more on having to adjust the mirror when you move the ragtop? That seems kind of silly… David

  • Gabe

    When the top is up you have a different view out the rear window than you do when the top is down. With the top down you have a big lump 'o' top where you used to have a view. It's not a huge deal… a quick minor adjustment takes care of it.

  • MiniLifeCrisis

    Actually, I like the orange lighting on my MCS-C. However, I also have a HB dash. I'm told that HB and Orange are complementary colors.

    Gabe, I too find myself adjusting the mirror slightly when the roof is up or down. The only thing I didn't like was the glare in the mirror when the top was down; I'm told it's due to the lack of roof and on any convertible.