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We get behind the wheels of the MINI Cooper Convertible and the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet to find out which manages to deliver a bigger smile.

17 May 2017

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There are two main types of car buyers. On one end of the spectrum we have those who buy using their heads for practical reasons including space, fuel economy or comfort; simply to get them sensibly from one place to another.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are car buyers who pick cars for very special characteristics based on a certain lifestyle or simply for the drive. This is the group that wants to be rewarded by smiles per hour.

The Beetle Cabriolet is a visual treat that provides driving pleasure in a simple and uncomplicated manner

If you, like us, belong to the latter group, cars like the MINI Cooper Convertible and the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet will be right up your alley. They are cars that go against the grain, against all practical arguments and are made as happy pills for good days and bad.

The most difficult decision to make is which one makes us happier. We spent a couple of days finding out.

No bad vibes

While the soft-top Cooper and Beetle are made for pretty similar experiences, they are in fact, quite different. The MINI is a lot more compact and squarish than the Beetle, but in its case, it's perfectly hip to be square.

While both cars retain a large part of the iconic looks that made them famous, the rounded Beetle is more eye-catching

The Beetle is slightly longer, wider and higher, and has a very classic rotund sheet metal design.

When you take their tops down, the Cooper loses some of its shape and style, but the Beetle retains its curvacious body, distinctive fenders, and unique hood that draw the eye of the standard coupe model. 

It's certainly one of the most stylish and distinctive cars around town.

That's not to imply that the Cooper is in anyway less pretty, though. In fact, some may beg to differ that it's the cuter car. With its instantly recognisable frontal fascia, trendy dimensions and iconic moniker that will make the girl next door go wow, you can be sure of good visual vibes.

Quality of the Cooper's quirky cabin impresses and the car retains the same 'retro' styling theme as before

Both cars have automated fabric soft-tops but while the Cooper's will take 18 seconds to open or close, the Beetle's is quicker, doing the deed in 9.5 seconds and 11 seconds respectively.

Their cabins are distinctively different. MINI fans and owners will easily take to the Cooper's stylishly appointed interior layout, with the usual jet fighter-like switches and a circular 6.5-inch infotainment display taking centre stage. Plus, materials used do feel more expensive than the Beetle's

The Beetle's slim steering wheel is reminiscent of the one in the world-famous classic

Still, the Beetle's cabin build is of quality, with a trio of performance gauges and body-coloured dash panels adding a touch of sportiness and nostalgia. A slim, flat-bottomed steering wheel is in place for similar reasons.
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Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder in-line 12-valve TwinPower Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1499cc

Horsepower

:

100kW (134 bhp) / 4400 rpm

Torque

:

220 Nm / 1250 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

8.7sec

Top Speed

:

206km/h

Fuel consumption

:

18.9 km/L

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Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder 8-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1197cc

Horsepower

:

78kW (104 bhp) / 5000 rpm

Torque

:

175 Nm / 4100 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

11.7sec

Top Speed

:

178km/h

Fuel consumption

:

16.9 km/L

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