Overall: Mini is killing its convertible for 2016, but the two- and four-door models remain; high-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) makes its return, but only on two-doors.
Drivetrain: Base Coopers run with turbocharged three-cylinder engines; the S and JCW versions get a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder in 189 or 228-horsepower guise; six-speed manual and automatic transmissions for both.
Mini has been consolidating much of its lineup to hatchbacks while the drop-top versions have been dying off. Left in the lineup are the original two-door and new-for-2015 four-door models. Both continue for 2016 mostly unchanged. To create the 4 Door, more than half a foot was added to the 2 Door’s length and the wheelbase was enlarged by about three inches, with half going to increasing rear legroom. The extended roof also provides an extra half-inch of headroom. In back there’s a bit more stowage space with the seats in place, but the payoff comes when you drop the split-folding 60:40 rear seat to discover plenty of volume for bulky gear. Both two- and four-door Minis use engines that are built off of a modular block, where each cylinder is a half-liter in size. Thus the turbocharged three-cylinder base Cooper engine displaces 1.5 liters and produces 134 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the Cooper S makes 189 horsepower and 221 pound-feet. One big change for 2016 is the update of the John Copper Works (JCW) model, which now shares the same engine as the Cooper S, only with 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet. Each of the so-called “TwinPower Turbo” engines uses a six-speed manual transmission. Minis fitted with the optional six-speed automatic include fuel-saving stop-start technology and, for models equipped with the navigation system, will adapt to your specific route (e.g. will automatically downshift when negotiating a sharp turn or when approaching an intersection). The rest of the JCW package includes larger wheels, a stiffer suspension, different exterior bits, and a whole load of extra performance.