Powered by a highly tuned version of the Mini 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, the JCW unit produces 170 kW of power between 5200 and 6000 revs, and 320 Nm of torque that’s on tap all the way from 1250 to 4800rpm.
Sitting beside the engine is a six-speed sports automatic transmission that can be overridden by paddle shifters. A six-speed manual is available. As a sign of the times the manual is optional, at no extra charge.
With the automatic transmission the Mini Convertible’s zero to 100 km/h time is 6.5 seconds. On track or in the Northern Territory it can be pushed out to a top speed of 240 km/h.
Dynamic Damper Control and an electronic differential lock (EDL) help tame the Mini’s engine. Naturally, there’s sports-tuned JCW suspension. The driver can chose Comfort, or optimise the system in several ways for sporty driving.
Taking away the roof of any monocoque car means it has to have underbody bracing which adds weight, albeit in the right place, that is low down. So the JCW convertible will be a little slower in acceleration but gain a fraction in handling. Only track time by a professional driver will work out the finest details.
A fully-retractable soft-top technically makes this the first Mini Convertible – the previous generations have been Cabriolets, that is some portion of the roof remains in place with the top open. Fully integrated rollover protection is a major part of the safety system.
The convertible roof is operated by a toggle switch that takes it from closed to fully open in 18 seconds. Even better, the roof can be opened or closed at speeds of up to 30 km/h.
But wait … there’s more. If you don’t want a fully open car, the Mini’s roof also has a sliding function making it a sort of sunroof. It opens to 400 mm and can be operated at any speed.
Mini calls this a four-seat convertible and the new model has 36 mm more rear shoulder room than the outgoing Cabriolet. There’s 112 mm more rear elbow room and 36 mm added knee room. We’ve yet to drive a new Mini convertible so can’t comment on whether we feel it’s a four-seater or really a two-plus-two.
The latest open-top Mini has 45 litres more luggage capacity than the old.
Infotainment is by way of a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon Hi-Fi; DAB radio; Mini Navigation System Professional, including 8.8-inch screen, 3D maps, touchpad controller, voice recognition and a 20 GB hard drive
Mini JCW Convertible has sports seats trimmed in Carbon Black ‘cloth/dinamica‘ upholstery. There are JCW-specific door sills, gearlever, instrumentation and stainless steel sports pedals.
It comes as no surprise that the tradition of personalisation is very much alive and well in the new JCW. One of our favourites is a Mini Yours soft-top with embroidered Union Jack-look finish. This can be complemented with a huge range of interior and exterior customising items.
Priced from $54,900 plus on-road charges, the all-new Mini JCW Convertible will be available from dealers early in June.