Caraganza First Drive Review 2019 MINI Cooper S Convertible: Happy Treason Day

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Here in the States we are getting ready to celebrate the most American of holidays. The day when we do the most American of things; eat unhealthy foods, drink copious amounts of alcoholic beverages and blow stuff up.  The 4th of July marks the day our forefathers thumbed their nose at the Mother Country all those years ago and a day we now sit aside to celebrate that historic moment when we went from colonists to outright traitors. We here call it Independence Day, in England they call it Treason Day, jokingly of course… sort of.

We are of course good friends with the Brits now and we share some common things; although not things like ‘crisps’, biscuits and ‘aeroplanes’. We do have pretty much the same ‘colours’ though we don’t ride the ‘underground’ from our ‘flat’.

Well, you get the idea.

As we get ready to celebrate our Independence from England, are most American holiday, BMW sent me a new Mini for a recent week. Now I have driven a Mini on several occasions, nothing wrong with them other than my opinion that they are a bit too small.  Not that this is a bad thing, there are after all plenty of small cars on the market, and many fans.

There were only two things that I had issue with when the latest Mini. First it was a convertible, and it was adorned with not so subtle reminders that it is indeed a British car.

A convertible just about anywhere else in America and just about any time of the year is great. But a convertible in Florida during the summer is not really a smart idea. Putting down any convertible top here in the summer is pretty much a death sentence.

The 2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible had a refresh for 2019.  It’s the only convertible in the lineup and its Mini’s smallest model. Other Mini models include the 2- and 4-door Hardtop, the Countryman crossover, and the Clubman wagon.

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Updates for 2019 include new Mini logo, and new LED taillights; there’s more options as well including Apple CarPlay integration with the 8.8-inch infotainment system, a wireless charging pad, a second USB port, and 4G LTE connectivity. The round headlights remain, but now have a new black accent look for the standard halogen lights and a lighted ring around the optional LED lights. There also are three new paint colors and new optional alloy wheel designs. A new piano-black trim package replaces chrome trim with shiny black accents.

In a bit of British humor perhaps the Union Jack can now be seen in several places; the taillights which light up with the Union Jack and the convertible top which is covered with an impression of it. The dash too has a stylized version of the British flag, in fact it lights up in different colors at night.  There is also a new a 6.5-inch screen. My tester for the week had the new optional 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation and a new user interface and features is optional. It also had the newly optional wireless phone charging integrated into the center console and a second USB port added to the front of the console.

Under the hood he Mini still has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and an eight-speed automatic with a six-speed manual available )the base convertible is powered by the 1.5-liter turbo-three engine and comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels). My tester has the John Cooper Works appearance package with 17-inch JCW alloy wheels.

In addition to the changing ambient light inside the cabin, there are other things not seen in most cars. Things like toggle switches, wild graphics in the infotainment system and lots of vibrant colors.

All of which helps make this Mini a fun car. And that’s the entire point. It may not be the fastest, certainly not the biggest, but the Mini is a fun car. On the road it will whip around like a controlled pinball, and while you may not haul a bunch of groceries, you’ll have fun getting there.

So I spent the week leading up to the most American of holidays, driving a car made by the British flying the British Union Jack on the roof and having the same flag wink at those behind me every time I stopped.

And I loved every minute of it.  Because the Mini really is a fun car to drive. I probably would not own one, the Countryman would be the Mini for me, but the Mini stands above others in its class for the fun it puts into driving.  I spent a week with mine looking for the Pub, eating bangers and mash, and uttering such phrases as “Carry on” and “God save the queen”.

The 2019 MINI Cooper S convertible
MSRP: $30,900
MSRP (as tested): $41,450
Engine: 2.0 turbocharged 4-cylinder 189 hp @ 4400rpm, 207 ft-lb torque @ 1350rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 25 city, 33 highway, 28 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 29 mpg
Curb Weight (lbs): 2905

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase (in.): 98.2
Length, Overall (in.): 151.9
Width, Max w/o mirrors (in.): 68
Height, Overall (in.): 55.7

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity: 4
Passenger Volume (cu. ft.): 76.3
Front Head Room (in.): 39.8
Front Leg Room (in.): 41.4
Front Shoulder Room (in.): 51
Second Head Room (in.): 39
Second Leg Room (in.): 30.9
Second Shoulder Room (in.): 39.7

Warranty
Basic: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion: 12 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 4 Years/Unlimited Miles
Maintenance: 3 Years/36,000 Miles

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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