Home' Open Road North Shore : OR0716 Contents MINI’S ALL-NEW convertible is
smarter, bigger, more powerful,
cheaper, and even has a new name.
Yes, it’s now called a Mini Convertible,
not a Mini Cabrio. The all-new model
is the fourth to join the new range,
which consists of the three-door
Hatch, Mini 5 Door and Clubman.
As with its siblings, there are two
versions: the Cooper and the sporty
Cooper S, which we had in our garage.
Yet, despite getting more gear, both
versions have had a price cut. The
Cooper starts from $37,900 (down
$4800), while the S starts from
$45,400 ($5750 less than previous).
Standard equipment includes dual
zone climate control, dynamic cruise
control, leather steering wheel,
multimedia system with 6.5-inch
screen (8.8 -inch if navigation is
optioned), rear camera and parking
sensors, auto stop/start, keyless
entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, and rain
sensing wipers and lights.
Interestingly, it doesn’t get any of the
latest active safety systems.
While Mini is renowned for its ‘go-
kart-like’ handling, the engine really
is a highlight. It’s lively and has
smooth power delivery from low
in the rev range, with crisp gear
changes and a terrific sound. Pop it in
MINI COOPER S CONVERTIBLE
DRIVEN The modern Mini has always been a heart-over-head
decision, but its new affordability could make all the difference
Sport mode and the throttle response
sharpens, while the paddle shifters
offer extra fun, especially if, like me,
you’re addicted to the burbling and
popping sounds on downshifts.
As you’d expect, the steering is
responsive and nicely weighted.
Even in a convertible, with a loss of
rigidity, the Mini is still fun on tight,
twisty roads and doesn’t seem to
lose much in handling.
The ride, however, is still firm and
sharp over bumps and not for the
faint-hearted. Although I’m a Mini
fan, I simply couldn’t own this one
due to the windscreen wobble and
rattling that goes with a soft top.
The fabric drop top is now fully
electric and takes just 18 seconds to
raise or lower, which you can do at up
to 30km/h. You can also raise and
lower it remotely using the key fob.
There are nice details in the cabin.
With each new model, parent BMW’s
luxury feel is coming to the Mini
range. The new model uses a rotary
control dial to navigate through the
multimedia interface, very similar to
that of BMW’s iDrive system.
Mini can be criticised for being too
expensive, but this new price cut may
make it ‘just right’ for those seeking a
fun convertible. – Jaedene Hudson
FEEL CABIN; FUN
AND LIVELY ENGINE
CREAKING; LACK OF
OUR LATEST ROAD TESTS M
First impressions are vital at the
luxury end of the car market and,
in that respect, the updates to the
Infiniti Q70 sedan fail to address the
aesthetic issues holding it back.
The dashboard, with its low-res
LCD screens, confused shape and
rather ordinary gauges and dials,
looks like it was lifted from a car
made in 2010. Then there’s the
steering wheel, which is nice to the
touch but too thin and not much to
look at. Such characteristics might
not matter to buyers on a budget,
but Infiniti is trying to capture the
wallets of very discerning customers.
It’s really a shame because, beyond
its stylistic shortcomings, the Q70 S is
an impressive vehicle. The 3.7-litre V6
offers a muscle-bound 235kW/360Nm
and sounds delicious when you put
your foot down, yet is gentle and
well mannered in the suburban crawl.
An eco mode and seven gears
help minimise its prodigious thirst
(10.8L/100km), even if they do rob
it of its sportier attributes.
Some have criticised Infiniti’s
power-assisted steering for feeling
‘artificial’, but I’ve never had a big
issue with it, and the ‘S’ (Sport
Premium) adds four-wheel steering,
making it arguably the best handling
car in its class. Yet its suspension
tune and added sound deadening
measures ensure it’s also one of the
most comfortable and quiet, as well.
The base model Q70 starts at a
comparatively affordable $68,900,
while the S is packed with luxuries
like leather upholstery, heated/
cooled seats, a 360-degree camera,
and every safety system acronym
known to man. But until Infiniti
sorts out the low-rent look of its
instruments, the Q70 will struggle
to win hearts. – Kris Ashton
INFINITI Q70 S
ENGINE: 3.7 -litre V6 TRANSMISSION: seven-speed
automatic POWER: 235kW TORQUE: 360Nm FUEL
CONSUMPTION: 10.8L/100km (claimed) ANCAP: Not yet
rated PRICE: From $78,900 (plus ORC)
MINI COOPER S
ANCAP: Not yet tested
PRICE: $45,400 (plus ORC)
OR0716_MOTOR_Q70 + Fiat + Mini + Renault.indd 43
14/06/2016 3:09 pm
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