MINI Convertible (2009–2015)

What's good

Highly desirable and very pretty.

Handles well even with the roof down.

Lower emissions than previous MINI Convertible.

Low depreciation.

Air conditioning now standard. 

What to watch out for

Trouble to be expected with stop/start system if you don't do enough miles. Basically the Efficient Dynamics alternator does not charge the battery sufficiently.

11-3-2012: Now thought that low pressure in the fuel pump of the 1.6 petrol leads to low pressure in the oil pump, starving the timing chain of oil on start-up and leading to stretching of the chain. That could also be why they rattle on start-up.

20-6-2013: 2009/59 MINI Cooper Convertible back to the dealer to have the cam sensor changed under warranty in 2011 & 2012. Same fault then occurred out of warranty. Dealer says it is because only doing short journeys and it has caused rust in the engine. To rectify the problem by fitting a modified rocker cover and repair the damage caused they want to charge 20% of the labour amounting to £387.20.

22-6-2014: If the roof of an R57 MINI convertible fails to open it may be that the parcel shelf has been knocked out of line and/or the sensors aren't properly connected (usually happens after forcing too much stuff into the boot). Make sure the shelf is positioned properly and the sensors are locked in place. That 'tells' the roof ECU that space is availale for the folded roof to fit into.

19-2-2015: Rainwater getting inside the skin of boot lid of MINI R57 convertible. It then fills up with water and shorts out the electrics.

9-5-2016: Starting problem on December 2010 MINI Cooper S Cabriolet traced to failed oil seal on a solenoid that allowed oil to track along the wiring harness and into the engine management system, both of which had to be replaced, along with re-programming. BMW dealer response was no chance of a contribution to repair costs on a car of that age. Owner opted to have it repaired at local independent MINI specialist. This cost £2,525.

24-7-2016: 65,000 mile 2009 R57 MINI convertible automatic reported to be using a litre of oil every 1,500 miles.

16-2-2017: Report of stiff manual gearbox on 2013 MINI One convertible.

24-10-2017: Report of 2012 MINI Cooper convertible needing a new timing chain and considerable other work after a rattle was heard on starting the engine. Common problem, but suspect it has not been subject to 10k mile oil changes.

2-6-2018: Leak reported from roof of 2013 MINI R57 convertible between the folding roof and the door seal on the passenger side. MINI quoted £500 plus to fix it.

13-7-2018: Another leak reported from roof of 2014 MINI Cooper convertible. Drips of water on the inside of the roof during the winter. Owner treated it with Auto Glym. This has now nearly stopped but owner finds that the boot regularly is soaked in condensation with mats, tool box and any contents soaking wet. Not the standard problem of the bootlid fram filling upo with water that cannot drain out. Owner finally identified the ingress from the roof to the rear of the passenger door. He showed this to the dealer and agreed he would investigate for £99. A week later, no progress and he asked and got a loan car. Nearly 3 weeks on and dealer said he had found a leak where owner had previously identified it. Said it appeared the roof was faulty on installation and not owner's fault. It would have to be replaced - circa £2,000. Goodwill was sought and given by BMW and they agreed to replace the whole roof FOC. Dealer now waiting to obtain one from Germany.

22-8-2019: Report of problem with Peugeot engine of R57 MINI Cooper convertible now at 38,000 miles.
"Aluminium bracket that holds the top part of the timing chain guide broke off whilst the car was on the motorway. It was pulled into the pulleys and snapped and jammed the timing chain. In fact there are two chains, both are now broken and wedged in the engine somehow. It appears to have wrecked most of the exhaust valves, and possibly rather more. The garage have not got beyond removing the head and sump, but there's swarf everywhere, and they wonder if the cylinders have been damaged. It seems that there is no revised bracket available. F itting a re-con engine, and replacing the oil pump and clutch plate etc. is estimated at £4,200, but the same completely inadequate part could fail in the new engine."

Recalls

17-1-2012: More on the MINI Fires Issue In perhaps the largest recall ever announced, MINI USA is recalling every Cooper S and JCW model sold from 2007 to 2011. The recall effects almost all 2007 – 2011 R55, R56, R57 and R60 models with the turbocharged Cooper S engine. For a full list of the cars affected and the specifics behind the problem, read on…The issue involves the electric auxiliary water pump on models that are equipped with the N14 turbo engine.The auxiliary pump is controlled electronically by an engine control unit. After switching off the engine, the electric auxiliary water pump conducts heat away from the turbocharger. Under certain conditions, the pump’s electronic circuit board can malfunction. The malfunction can occur as a result of certain design features in combination with high operating temperatures. If the water pump can fails, there’s a slight chance that the circuit board can overheat. And in an extreme case, overheating of the circuit board can lead to smoldering of the water pump. If smoldering occurs, this may also lead to an engine compartment or vehicle fire. Models Affected:

  • 2007-11 / Cooper S (Dec 2006 – Oct 2010)
  • 2008-11 / Cooper S Clubman (Dec 2007 – Oct 2010)
  • 2009-11 / Cooper S Convertible (Dec 2008 – Oct 2010)
  • 2009-11 / John Cooper Works (JCW) (Jun 2008 – Oct 2010)
  • 2009-11 / John Cooper Works (JCW) Clubman (Jun 2008 – Oct 2010)
  • 2009-11 / John Cooper Works (JCW) Convertible (Apr 2009 – Oct 2010)
  • 2011 / Cooper S Countryman (Nov 2010 – Jan 2011)

How can you tell if this is happening to your MINI? The first tip-off will be a plastic burning smell, or burning and/or smoke from the front of the vehicle may be noticed.You can continue to drive your car. However MINI recommends parking your vehicle outdoors until repairs have been performed. Those who own affected cars will receive a letter asking them to have this service performed by their authorized MINI dealer, do so as soon as possible. At this point MINI in the USA is fixing all cars in its inventory and will be announcing a formal recall shortly. Any new or pre-owned MINI in dealers inventory will be held until the recall can be completed, but customer cars are not yet being held and the recall repair will not be happening until the service bulletin is released. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the cars after 12 engine fires had been reported including five that destroyed the cars entirely. In eight of the 12 cases, the fires occurred when the cars were parked and turned off.

1-9-2012: Some 2010-11 models may have oil leaking from the timing chain tensioner. In T.S.B. M110512 issued on Sept. 1, BMW said the problem in the Hardtop, Convertible, Clubman and Countryman models resulted from a timing chain tensioner seal ring that is too soft. Replacing the seal ring should do the trick.

1-10-2012: In T.S.B. M110612 issued on Oct. 1, Mini's parent company, BMW, said that technicians might find an O-ring in the oil filter housing when changing the oil. The O-ring is from the oil filter nonreturn valve inside the engine, and it dislodges because it is too small. BMW said that no further engine damage was caused by the O-ring, and that replacing the oil filter housing should clear up the issue. The problem can occur in 2007-12 Hardtops, 2009-12 Convertibles and all years through 2012 of the Coupe, Roadster and Countryman.

What is your car like to live with?

We need your help with our latest Satisfaction Index, so that we can help others make a smarter car buying decision. What's it like to live with your car? Love it? Loath it? We want to know. Let us know about your car - it will only take a few minutes and you could be helping thousands of others.

Help us with the Honest John Satisfaction Index now