You get to flick between a trio of driving modes, starting with Green and ending with Sport. The latter is when the car really springs to life, sharpening the throttle and increasing driver involvement.
And if you want maximum thrills and spills, the Cooper S model hots things up with a sporty exhaust that crackles and fizzes.
In terms of the engines, a 1.5-litre 115bhp diesel opens the range. It does 0-62 in just less than 10.0 seconds, and while it feels noisy and coarse, it’s always eager. The 1.5-litre 134bhp petrol engine is over a second quicker, and offers more refinement and power.
But it’s the 2.0-litre petrol engine that powers the Cooper S where things get truly interesting. It bombs its way from rest to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds – and feels even quicker. Meanwhile, the John Cooper Works model rounds things off with its 0-62 time of 6.6 seconds.
That’s a lot of speed, but running costs are good. The sole diesel engine returns as much as a 74.3mpg economy and costs nothing in road tax. The smallest petrol engine is good for 55.4mpg, and costs just £30 a year to tax. The Cooper S averages 48.7mpg, while the Cooper Works returns 43.5mpg at best.
This is the third generation MINI Convertible, and it finally looks and feels like a genuinely classy sports car inside. There is a real feeling of luxury inside here, with top quality materials everywhere.
The layout is better too, with the rev counter and speedometer now positioned right in front of you. The big circular screen is still there, but it’s now reserved just for your infotainment system.
Wind noise isn’t too much of an issue either, though the car could have done with a wind deflector.
Interior space is good. Two people in the back get a decent amount of head and legroom, while the boot has increased 25% in size. It now measures 215-litres when the roof is up, and 160 when you take it down. That’s still far from class leading, but you can use the two rear seats for more luggage space when needed.
Mazda – £20,500 – £24,200
MINI – £19,250 – £28,900