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While the snide ‘it’s not really mini anymore’ comments bear some weight, the Mini Cooper remains a quirky antidote to pervasive automotive same-ness. And its larger dimensions mean even tall drivers can enjoy the Mini’s smile-inducing handling. If you really want to maximize your headroom, though, there are few better ways than getting a convertible Mini. However, are the joys of driving a 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible enough to make up for the drawbacks?

The 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible isn’t the hottest hatch, but it is a speedy roadster with a stick-shift and plenty of style

A blue-with-black-stripes 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible on a beach parking lot at sunset
2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible | Mini
2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible
Engine2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower192 hp
Torque206 lb-ft
TransmissionsSix-speed manual
Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Curb weight3018 lbs (manual)
3034 lbs (DCT)
0-60 mph time6.6 seconds

If the base Mini Cooper isn’t spritely enough for you but the JCW is too hardcore, the 2022 Mini Cooper S should be just right. Thanks to a bigger, more powerful engine, it’s faster than the standard Mini. However, it doesn’t have the harsh sports suspension and sports seats the JCW offers. And while it doesn’t the JCW’s Brembo brakes and limited-slip differential, either, the Cooper S doesn’t need them to handle like a sports car. Plus, it’s one of the few new cars with a standard manual.

Although its powertrain isn’t new, the Mini Cooper S Convertible did get a refresh for 2022. It has new front and rear fasciae, a larger grille, a rear diffuser, standard LED headlights, and new color options, including a multi-colored roof. Mini ditched the fog lights, though, and replaced them with more air inlets.

In addition to the styling updates, the 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible also has more standard tech. Android Auto still isn’t available, but satellite radio and Apple CarPlay are standard. The hatchback’s dashboard, steering wheel, and air vents are redesigned, too. There’s also a new digital gauge cluster and 8.8” center touchscreen. And besides forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, the 2022 Cooper S now has standard lane-departure warning.

It brings sunshine and shakes in equal proportions

All the extra tech hasn’t changed the 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible’s core nature. Whether it has a fixed roof or an electric soft top, driving a Cooper S puts a smile on your face. That’s especially true in Sport Mode, which weights up the steering, sharpens the throttle response, and on manual models, activates rev-matching, says. But even outside of Sport Mode, the hatchback’s communicative steering and excellent chassis lend credence to the go-kart cliché.

Furthermore, the styling changes haven’t made the 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible’s interior any less delightfully quirky. The touchscreen has a color-changing ring around it, there are Union Jack accents everywhere, and this brand-new car has toggle switches. Also, though they’re not as extreme as the JCW’s seats, the Cooper S’ bolstered seats come in handy during corner carving, notes.

However, the quirkiness and sporty handling come with some downsides. Firstly, even with the optional adaptive shocks, the Mini Cooper S Convertible has a harsh ride. Secondly, although Mini made the chassis stiffer a few years ago, the Convertible’s lack of B- and C-pillars means mirror and A-pillar shake, reports. It means a few interior rattles, too.

On the plus side, the 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible’s electric top goes down in 18 seconds at speeds up to 18 mph. And if you only want a bit of sunshine and fresh air, it has a built-in sunroof. But because of how the roof folds down, rear visibility is arguably better with the top up, says. Plus, lowering the roof cuts into the already limited rear cargo space.

Should you drop the top on a 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible?

The rear 3/4 view of a blue 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible with its top down driving down a canyon road
2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible rear 3/4 | Mini

In short, the 2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible is stylish and fun to drive, but it’s rather stiff, small, and shaky. So, does that mean you should consider buying one?

On one hand, for roughly the same price, you could get a 2022 Volkswagen GTI S. For one, it has more interior and cargo space. It also rides better and has a more powerful engine, as well as a standard LSD. Or, if you just want a sporty convertible experience, you could get a Mazda Miata.

However, people rarely buy Mini Coopers for practical reasons. They buy them because of the way they feel, drive, and especially because of how they look. If the Cooper S Convertible speaks to you, go right ahead. Just be prepared to shake a bit.

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