2009 Mini Cooper Convertible Review
The Mini ragtop is cute. That's about it; as Brian Cooley finds out when he reviews the 2009 Mini Cooper Convertible.
2009 Mini Cooper Convertible Review
The mini ragtop, it's cute, that's about it.
Now normally we check the tech inferring that there's a lot of it, not in this case. This
little guy's pretty stripped. I think the story here is the convertible top. Here's the dinner
plate speedometer, the classic mini Cooper signature and in there is your basic
radio/audio system. Here's what you got and it isn't much, AM/FM radio, no HD radio in
there, nothing fancy. The CD player's right there. Single slot lives right there and of
course we've also got an auxiliary jack. I defy you to find it. It's down here.
You've got all the usual audio settings, bass, treble, balance, fade. No surround sound,
none of that nonsense. It's not that kind of system. And over here you've got the speed
volume control to go up and down with the vehicle speed. It didn't help enough and then
my least favorite, the gong. It lets you know when your seatbelts are off, incessantly and
annoyingly. Here's your volume for the park distance control. I've got to say I like that.
Raising and lowering the windows is easy enough. You've got these retro style chrome
toggles, very mini but then the rear windows are interesting. There are some back here
but to raise them and lower them you do them as twins. There's no dedicated raise or
lower for either side.
Now I like driving along with my window open and the one behind it open to reduce
buffeting but I have to have this one open as well, which is really weird. Another mini
quirk, here's what appears to be one of those advanced keys, maybe one of those hands-
off guys, not really. It goes up here in this little slot and by doing so that enables the
button right next to it to start and stop the car. That doesn't do me any good. I'm already
there. Now I've got two things to do to start the car in that exact location and now the
coup de grâce of goofy. This gauge over here in classic mini style, what do you think it
I pulled our crew. I asked them. One thought it was like a sunburn timer. The other
thought it was the dial for the way back machine out of an H.G. Wells novel. Neither is
entirely accurate, it is a top down motoring timer, the always open gauge. It tells you in
hours on those LED bar graphs and on minutes on the hand how long you've been driving
with the top down. Why do I care?
Now the top of the Cooper is interesting. It first pulls back into this sort of Landau top,
opening up just the front part of the canvas for what is really basically a sunroof and
leaving the roof rails in place. Then pull the switch one more time and now the whole top
pulls back, disconnecting these side rails up here in the front compartment and taking it
back like a standard ragtop convertible. It actually moves rather quickly. Once it's down
it's none too tidy an affair. I mean what's all this mess back here? But by keeping it up
here where it’s ugly they don't put it back here where it destroys what trunk space you've
Underway your first reaction is, “Oh, that's why they make an S.” Our car is just a plain
mini and that means a loopy, gutless, 1.6 liter 4 putting out 118 horsepower. Now if that
was being delivered via the standard 6-speed manual gearbox we might eke some fun out
of this thing. But our car was saddled with a 5-speed automatic slot box that does horrible
damage to the Steptronic brand that BMW applies to such mechanisms. It's slow to react,
rubbery when it does and just numb.
There is a sport mode button that just raises the shift points, as far as I can detect. But like
drinking coffee when you're just plain tired, it doesn't really help. It just makes things
more nervous. Simply put, the power train ruins this car. Buy an S or buy something else,
unless you're just oblivious to what makes cars enjoyable to drive, in which case you're
watching the wrong video. Handling is less offensive but unmemorable aside from the
point and shoot feel of any car with a wheelbase this short. What keeps this mess from
adding insult to injury is good numbers on the MPG side, 25/34.
Our little Cooper base is at 24K with a ragtop. Add $2000.00 for the leather package
we're not crazy about, $250.00 for sports seats that were really hard and flat, $1250.00 for
the premium package which really doesn't have any tech, it's all trim and $1250.00 for
that disaster of a transmission. The screwball openometer is free but I'd pay to have
something useful there.
2009 Mini Cooper Convertible Review
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