mini cooper vs. beetle / cabrio
April 22, 2005 4:24 PM   Subscribe

What do you all think of the 2004 Mini Cooper convertible? Specifically, in comparison to a 2004 mini beetle convertible, or a well-cared-for 2001/2002 Cabrio convertible (I don't think they made a convertible Cabrio after 2002)?
posted by luriete to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total)
I can't answer specifically about the MINI Cooper convertible, but my husband owns a Cabrio and I own a hard-top MINI Cooper and he likes the MINI much better.
posted by stefnet at 4:29 PM on April 22, 2005

I was looking at one the other day and my first thought was that the tailgate hinges on the rear of the Mini Cooper convertible are horrendous.
posted by probablysteve at 4:45 PM on April 22, 2005

I think that it, like the New Beetle, are both beautiful cars that should never have become convertibles. It ruins all their lines.

The Cabrio, on the other hand, is a classic. Love that hoop!

Aesthetics aside, I gotta go with the Mini, by a long shot.

Why do you want a convertible? Let us talk you out of it. ;)
posted by trevyn at 4:55 PM on April 22, 2005

Response by poster: My wife wants one. She got a huge raise and can afford it, and we live in Sacramento, where it's HOT in the summer and she loves the sun and the wind. We go for long drives to the coast pretty regularly, and she's bored of our jetta wagon which we use for camping trips, etc. We don't really NEED a second car, but we could use one.
posted by luriete at 4:58 PM on April 22, 2005

Is there any pressing need for you to spend the dough? Is saving money so uncool these days?

Regardless, the Mini Cooper and Mini Beetle both reak of trendiness that will go stale in a few years. If you have to spend the cash, buy a car that's already a classic. You can get a completely restored '65 Mustang convertible for about $15k these days. Probably be cheaper for repairs, and it's made of metal.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:05 PM on April 22, 2005

Hmm, how do you like the Jetta? I feel like the Cabrio might have similar "quirks", either good or bad.
posted by trevyn at 5:09 PM on April 22, 2005

I think it's even more cramped-looking and probably even more overpriced than the non-convertibles.

Some reviews here.

It's probably no worse a value than the Beetle, though, which sacrifices even more headroom/performance for the sake of style.
posted by scarabic at 6:14 PM on April 22, 2005

I can't answer about the convertible either, since I don't really like convertibles, but I have a 2004 Mini Cooper S and I freakin' love it. I test drove a Jetta, a GTI and an Audi TT (different price range), and liked the handling, features, and overall feel of the Mini best. It's so much fun to drive I make excuses to go places now.

The non-convertible Minis have a panoramic sunroof, which is huge, and lets you enjoy the sun and wind quite a bit. I live in southern California and take advantage of it often.
posted by bedhead at 7:45 PM on April 22, 2005

Why do you want a convertible? Let us talk you out of it. ;)

Can I try? I worked for a company that made OEM convertible tops. There were precious few convertibles in the parking lot. We also made sunroofs; lots of people had those. And everyone I knew that had a convertible- it was their first one (i.e., no repeat buyers- once was enough, thanks).

Given all that, if you're gonna by a convertible top, the Germans, specifically BMW & Mercedes, made the best ones (we did competitive analyses). Seeing as how Mini is part of BMW, I would go with the Mini.
posted by Doohickie at 7:48 PM on April 22, 2005

keep in mind that the Mini only runs on premium fuel. $3+ per gallon? ouch!

that said, the Mini is a blast to drive. not roomy by any stretch of the imagination - kind of like driving a revved-up go-cart.
posted by killy willy at 8:23 PM on April 22, 2005

Much of a cars stiffness, and therefore handling, is lost when you remove the roof.

I owned a convertible once. Never again.
posted by vronsky at 11:41 PM on April 22, 2005

We don't really NEED a second car, but we could use one.

has she looked at how much time the same amount of money might buy her in retirement? by cutting back on things like this, i hope to retire fifteen years earlier than normal. that's 180 months not having to get up for a job a 9am. 780 weeks of doing whatever you want, rather than what someone else wants. obviously a car alone would buy you less time, but i bet if you work it out with youe pension adviser, with the expected growth etc, it's a good few years of freedom.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:33 AM on April 23, 2005

Never had a desire for a convertible. Too much pollution.

But given your situation, have you looked at the convertible PT Cruiser? You could get rid of your Jetta, have the convertible and a bit of room for camping equipment --ok, not that much room ;-)

Of the three, the Beetle looks best as a softtop. I'd go for one of those powder blue cuties.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:04 AM on April 23, 2005

I have driven both. If you have no real need to haul anything more than a toddler or small piece of luggage, buy the Cooper.

I did a test drive on a Cooper-S convertible and couldn't stop grinning for two hours after. They are incredibly fun to drive, and there's nothin' like a ragtop. I was inches away from buying it and decided not to, because I can't get a full set of golf clubs into it. Laugh if you want, but that was important to me.

Cabrios are fun but underpowered, IMHO - however, they are relatively inexpensive. The Beetle? Well, it just didn't blow up my skirt, so to speak. Top down was nice, but even with the turbo, felt ungainly.

The Cooper fundamentally feels like a 180hp Go-kart. It's awesome. Put the optional John Cooper Works package on it (6K add-on) and you've got a pocket rocket.

If you have the means, consider a lease. The resale on Minis right now is outstanding, and you'll have a fairly low payment, and the value of the car will still be high at the end if you decide to refinance the balloon payment.

Oh, and the safety tests on the Mini were quite good, too. And if you're going to spend nearly 30K on a car, I'm certain you can afford the gas.
posted by TeamBilly at 6:23 AM on April 23, 2005

You mention that you like going for long drives on the coast. MINI=fun beetle=slow.
Sounds like a simple decision to me. Furthermore, the Mini and its motor have FAR more potential than the beetle or cabrio. You can regain much of that stiffness that went with the roof if you put in a rollbar, and you increase safety immensely too. You can get one for under $300 usually. The Mini is a great sports car, not just a people mover- get it!
On preview, TeamBilly seems to have it handled.
posted by wzcx at 11:16 AM on April 23, 2005

I love Polly (that's my MINI's name) They didn't start making the convertible until 2005. and I can't speak for the convertible but the coupes are plenty roomy. I'm 6'1" 180 and fit just fine. My dad is 6'5" and he still has headroom when he adjusts the seat. Granted no one can sit behind him. But if you get one I promise you will not regret it. Besides most MINI people still wave!!!
posted by CCK at 2:52 PM on April 23, 2005

I'm bound to say MINI, since I live next to the factory where they are made, and my lodger works there. I may not be totally objective though..
posted by salmacis at 3:26 AM on April 24, 2005

Oh yeah - headroom and legroom for front passengers is great. Rear passengers? Eh - screw them. I've seen brochures with 4 passengers in the Mini Convertible, and I'm convinced that they have to be all about 5' 1" tall. At 6' 1", I had to scoot the seat back. I had plenty of room. The only thing that would have fit behind me was a torso.

And, uh, I mean no disrespect to anyone here...but....small convertibles are impractical, irrational things. Certain cars and motorcycles are about lust and emotional appeal. And if you can afford to do it and feed the passion, then go for it, man. Buy the thing and accept issues of pollution and noise as part of the package. Sporty cars are often a misery, but a fine and pleasant one, too. Ask me about Ducatis sometime....
posted by TeamBilly at 7:02 AM on April 24, 2005

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