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The new Mini Convertible has a Union Jack woven into its roof

Published on www.topgear.com

Drop-top Mini comes with optional Austin Powers-spec lid. Groovy

Are you the sort of young, fashionable hipster-about-town who’s always wanted to combine the joys of a patriotic roof with the drafty sensation of driving a cabriolet?

Good news! This is the new, third-generation Mini Convertible, and as you can see in the gallery above, a Union Jack woven into its very roof fabric is available. Reports that the Queen has ordered one for summer jaunts up The Mall remain unconfirmed.

Not that these will be an uncommon sight, Mini Convertibles. Despite having more wet days a year than the Amazon rainforest, Brits buy more drop-top Minis than any other nation, proving we’re an optimistic bunch if nothing else.

The new car’s roof will retract at speeds of up to 18mph, and takes 18 seconds to heap itself up on the edge of the bootlid. Alternatively, you can electrically retract the front half of the lid, like an XXL sunroof, at any speed.

So if you opt for the Cooper S, it’ll go part al-fresco at anything up to 143mph, or on your way from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds (the automatic is a tenth quicker, but gives away 1mph in top speed).

In the fullness of time, there’ll be a yet-faster JCW version that’ll top the Cooper S’s £22,430 price, with the range also featuring a £20,225 diesel good for a claimed 70.6mpg and 100g/km, and the entry-level 1.5 Cooper, which kicks off at £18,475. That’s a punchy £2630 jump from the hard-top.

So, where’s the money gone? Mini says it’s upped the refinement against the old Mini convertible, and improved the structural rigidity, too – though the trade-off is a 115kg weight penalty versus the hard-top.

 

It’s a bigger car than its predecessor too – thanks to a 98mm increase in length and an extra 28mm into the wheelbase – so expect more usable back seats and a 25 per cent bigger boot. It’s now 215 litres with the roof up, but just 160 litres once you’ve popped your top.

True Mini geeks will be rejoicing that the ungainly exposed hinges from Mini Convertibles of old have been binned. And Mini’s undeniable trump card over the likes of the cheaper Citroen DS3 Cabrio andFiat 500C is that its posh city car is a proper cabriolet, not simply a regular bodyshell with the roof-skin replaced by a fabric sardine can.

It’s not a cheap exercise to do away with the pillars altogether, and, as Mini-loving estate agents would say, gives the convertible a true ‘USP’.

What’s more, to save your options-speccing hand from RSI, the new model gets rear parking sensors and a parking camera as standard, which is just as well given there could be some pretty severe blind spots over your shoulder once that roof is in place.

Still, at least you can be patriotic about your lack of visibility with that natty new flag motif, right?