NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2013 Mini Cooper Hardtop and Convertible Preview

7/26/2013
Fast Facts:
  • Bluetooth connectivity now standard
  • Front-wheel drive (FWD)
  • EPA-estimated to achieve up to 37 mpg on the highway
  • Hardtop or power-retractable soft top
  • Free scheduled maintenance for 3 years/36,000 miles

Introduction
The 2-door Cooper Hardtop is the veteran of the modern Mini lineup, and arrives for 2013 with only a few changes. These include standard Bluetooth connectivity in lieu of the now optional satellite radio service, new limited-edition GP variant, revised packages, and an optional automatic transmission for John Cooper Works (JCW) models. Similar updates accompany the 2013 Cooper Convertible.

Exterior Features
Serving as the lineup's entry-level model, the base Mini Cooper Hardtop features 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome and body-color trim, power-adjustable outside mirrors, keyless entry, and a rear window wiper. The base Convertible differs with 16-inch alloy wheels and a power-retractable soft top that can be completely lowered or opened only over the interior to create a large sunroof.

For the more sporting Cooper S, Mini has equipped the Hardtop and Convertible with front brake ducts, hood scoop, performance-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in run-flat tires, black mesh grille, rear spoiler (Hardtop), fog lights, and dual exhaust tips integrated into the bottom edge of the bumper. The Cooper JCW dials things up another notch with a specially tuned chassis, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a lower body kit.

The new top-of-the-line Mini Cooper Hardtop is the JCW GP, which boasts unique 17-inch alloy wheels and rocker panels, front bumper splitter, large rear spoiler, and an adjustable coil-over suspension.

Interior Features
Inside, the base 2013 Mini Cooper Hardtop and Convertible offer height-adjustable front seats, LED accent lighting, leatherette upholstery, leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with integrated audio controls, push-button start, and a glovebox cooler. The list of standard features also includes Bluetooth connectivity, 6-speaker sound system with HD Radio and a USB port, 50/50 split-folding rear seat, and Mini's distinctive instrument panel-mounted toggle switches.

The Mini Cooper S builds on the base's foundation by adding a sport button that improves steering and throttle response, bolstered front bucket seats, checkered dash design, and alloy foot pedals, while the JCW is distinguished by its gloss black dash panel, stainless steel foot pedals, red-accented gear shift knob, and upgraded headliner (Hardtop).

Mini followed the same formula for the JCW GP, though its interior is home to Recaro seats and rear suspension bracing, which necessitated the removal of the 50/50 split-folding bench.

Optional Features
In terms of options, Mini appears to have something for most any taste. The Bayswater package is one of several special-edition upgrades, and includes Kite Blue or Midnight Black paint, automatic HID headlights, hood stripes, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and more. Mini also offers JCW interior and exterior packages comprised of items such as a lower body kit and a premium headliner, Premium package with a power tilt/slide moonroof (Hardtop), Cold Weather package offering heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles, and a Technology package featuring premium audio, satellite radio service, and an in-car infotainment system.

The bevy of options also includes a navigation system, adaptive HID headlights, wind deflector (Convertible), and a Mini Yours package that allows buyers to personalize their Cooper Hardtop or Convertible with exclusive colors and graphics, upholstery, and interior finishes.

Under the Hood
All 2013 Mini Cooper Hardtop and Convertible models are equipped with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that routes output through a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission (includes paddle shifters on S and JCW models). In base trim, the engine delivers 121 horsepower and 114 lb.-ft. of torque, while S models add direct injection and a turbocharger to generate 181 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. JCW variants produce 208 horsepower and 192 lb.-ft. of torque.

The 2013 Cooper JCW GP uses that same engine, but the only available gearbox is the 6-speed manual. With 211 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque complemented by a lower curb weight, Mini claims the GP can reach 60 mph in only 5.9 seconds.

Fuel Economy
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Mini Cooper Hardtop and Convertible are:
  • Cooper Hardtop with 6-speed manual transmission: 29/37/31 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Cooper Hardtop with 6-speed automatic transmission: 28/36/31 mpg
  • Cooper Convertible with either transmission: 27/35/30 mpg
  • Hardtop and Convertible S and JCW with 6-speed manual transmission: 26/35/29 mpg
  • Hardtop and Convertible S and JCW with 6-speed automatic transmission: 26/34/29 mpg

Safety
The 2013 Mini Cooper Hardtop standard safety features include 6 air bags, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, and cornering brake control. The 2013 Mini Cooper Convertible includes the same features, with the exception of 4 air bags--including more expansive front side air bags--and rear roll bars.

In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2013 Mini Cooper Hardtop received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for moderate frontal-offset crash protection. The IIHS has not rated the crashworthiness of the 2013 Mini Cooper Convertible.

As this preview is written, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not crash tested the 2013 Mini Cooper Hardtop or Convertible.

Additional Research:

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