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TEST Mazda MX-5 vs. Mini Cooper Convertible: which convertible is the best? -

There are fewer and fewer convertibles for sale, but the Mazda MX-5 and Mini Cooper S Convertible are fortunately still available. They grow old with dignity and are therefore still wildly attractive. The engine size is identical, does that also apply to their character?

You have had to search for small, relatively affordable convertibles with a magnifying glass for a while now. It's all the better that the Mazda MX-5 has been the rock in the branding of the price list since 1989. Despite its advanced age of over 8 years, the current fourth generation still looks great.

The Mini Cooper S Convertible is also not a youngster, it has been for sale since 2016. Under the hood in both cars is a block with exactly 1984 cc. The power of the atmospheric Mazda engine increased over the years from 160 to 184 hp. The Mini has 178 hp and at the beginning of his career there were just 14 more. A manual gearbox is no longer available, with the Mazda, switching yourself is the only option.


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You fold out the Mazda roof with a simple hand movement

If you make a nice open ride, you want to be a bit comfortable. The Mazda seats don't disappoint, at most they are a little cramped. The lateral support is in order and the upholstery is also beautiful. In the Mini you not only have more legroom, you can also adjust the headrests.

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If you are in the Mazda goes for a tour with fresh coffee and an ANWB route map, you soon find out that you can hardly get rid of both. For example, there is no glove compartment and there are no compartments in the doors. He does have cup holders, but the co-driver has to pay for that with less room for his legs. What Mazda has thought of is a place where you can leave your smartphone. In the Mini you have to put it under the armrest or even in the cup holder.

Mini Cooper Convertible: Seating position too high

The seating position in the Mini is clearly higher. Furthermore, the steep windscreen is placed far forward and therefore the Mini feels much more spacious when you have just stepped out of the Mazda. The electric fabric roof dampens the sound better than the Mazda's light, manually operated hood. Although with the official measurements this appears to have been mainly our feeling, because the differences in decibels are not that great. In town, the MX-5 is even quieter. The roles are only reversed around 100 km/h.

Our test Mini has optional adaptive dampers, although the extremes are not that far apart. The chassis knows how to deal with most bumps, both empty and loaded. At highway speed, the chassis responds clearly less modest. The Mazda has a Bilstein sports suspension in the Homura version. Still, you don't have to worry about your vertebrae and bones, because the alignment is not as ruthless as you expect. More annoying are the more pronounced rolling movements and the moderate body rigidity.

Mazda's engine is finer than the Mini's

The difference in power between the two convertibles is only 6 hp, but their characters are miles apart. The high-revving two-liter engine without turbo in the MX-5 has now become a true exotic. At idle speed there is already a nice growl, which encourages not to switch up too early. If you keep the revs high - a real pleasure with the smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox - then the engine is in its element. With his temperament he distances himself from the faster Mini, although this is also mainly subjective.

With the Mini, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission shifts for you, and the two-liter four-cylinder gets help from a turbo. You can also switch yourself, via paddles behind the steering wheel. And yet the Mini engine gives the impression that it is being squeezed. We miss the sacred fire of the Mazda engine. What also doesn't help is that the Mini is 300 kilos heavier. Still, the performance of the Cooper S is impressive, with a 0-100 in 6.6 seconds (Mazda: 7.0 seconds). The consumption of the Mazda is more favorable. He consumes exactly what can be read in the folder: 6.9 l / 100 km (1 in 14.5). The turbo engine of the Mini wants a full liter more.

Curious which car wins the test? This is an adaptation of a comparison test from Auto Review. You can read the full story (with the final result) in the paper version of Auto Reviewwhich is now in stores.

This post was last modified on September 1, 2023 5:12 am


Dreamer is what I am, but unlike many, I struggle to make my dreams come true. I own, seo, admin and site editor. I am a father, married, Christian, Northeastern/Brazil and Libran. I love cars <3

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