Zoomer Consumer: MINI John Cooper Works Convertible



She’s the cutest Zoomer we’ve laid our eyes on.
At 50-years-old, the Mini Cooper doesn’t look like it has aged a year.
I had the privilege of taking down the top of the 2009 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible for a lazy Saturday afternoon drive around Caledon, Ont.

Well, perhaps, lazy isn’t the most apt description.

The turbocharged engine, capable of 208 HP, reintroduced me to the power of wind – and the fun of driving for driving’s sake – as it blasted through my hair.

A massive, retro-styled speedometer sits in the centre console and reminded me of how fast I was actually going. Just below are all of the audio controls, in a nice compact area. My only complaint with the layout is that the volume knob is placed below the audio console, in the same vicinity as the climate controls – quite a gaffe in design. And on the far left there was a small timer keeping track of how long the top of the convertible has been down – I’m still not sure about the point of that.

But the stick shifter, with its large round knob, felt like butter as I transferred up and down through the gears. The ease of shifts made this little beast a blast to drive. Hearing the turbocharged engine whirl with excitement as I revved up to the redline before switching couldn’t have been more fun.

And did we mention it looks great?

The tiny convertible is as slick as they come – “bonnet stripes” down the centre gives it a fierce grimace; 17″ cross spoke alloy wheels make it pop; and the chrome line interior adds to the impressive retro look.

However, $44,400 (my tester reached $48,350, which included extras such as leather interior, Hi-Fi sound system and media connect) is a hefty price tag for a vehicle that will most likely only see the road during warmer months. If you’re jonesing for a convertible, then the Cooper S is an option at $36,350 (but you’re bumped down to 172 HP). Also consider the VW Beetle and BMW 128i – both have lower MSRPs. But if you want the combined style and power, than the JCW Convertible has to be on the top of your list, no matter the price.

Check out 50 years of the Mini – http://www.mini.com/ca/en/mini_turns_50/index.jsp

— Travis Persaud