Mini‘s second-generation Convertible has finally joined the hatchback and Clubman to complete the three-model line-up.

The drop top, which accounts for around a quarter of Mini sales in the first generation model, will be launched in Cooper, Cooper S and range-topping JCW form, with a lower-powered Mini One coming in 2010.

The multiple BusinessCar Award-winning supermini has always enjoyed a degree of success in the corporate market because of its almost obscenely good residuals, and the new drop-top is no exception. According to Kwik Carcost, it’ll still be clinging onto well over half its value after three years and 60,000 miles.

Small improvements over its predecessor have been made in every direction, but the biggest leaps forward, as with the hatchback version, are for CO2 and mpg. Emissions are down 37g/km to 137g/km, and fuel economy is improved by 10.9mpg to an average 49.6.

The car is slightly longer, and a touch narrower, too, and offers an increase in boot size of five litres of storage. Drop the rear seats (to make it the two-seater it effectively is thanks to the cramped room in the back) and there is now an extra 55 litres of space, while the bottom-hinged boot now opens wider for better access, although it’s still narrow compared to a hatchback. The top drops in 15 seconds, and can be operated at up to 20mph.

The Mini’s plus points remain, in terms of brilliant fun handling and good looks that are a little too similar to the first Cabriolet. But rear visibility, though improved by changing the permanent roll-over protection hoops for ones that pop up in the event of an accident, is still poor thanks to the pram-fold style of the hood that, when folded, sits visible at the back of the car instead of folding away. It increases the boot space with the hood folded, there is a hefty pay-off with the lack of rear visibility.

The 120PS Cooper, expected to be the most popular variant with around 63& of volume, also feels underpowered compared to the more expensive 175PS Cooper S. It really has to be worked hard to achieve significant momentum, whereas the quicker version supplies plentiful power.

However, the costs equation is where the Mini has the segment all to itself, and the Convertible doesn’t make any less sense on the balance sheet. It costs £2230 more than the Cooper hatchback, but the costs come out at 33.3p per mile compared with the three-door’s 30.7p.

For a breeze-in-hair company car, the finance director is unlikely to find a better option, and drivers that don’t need practicality will be even more delighted.

Mini Cooper Convertible with Pepper pack
P11D price £16,155
Model price range £16,155-£23,470
Fuel consumption 49.6mpg
CO2 (tax) 137g/km/15%
BIK 20/40% per month £41/£83
Service interval variable mls
Insurance group 8
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited mls
Boot space (min/max) 125/660 litres
Engine size/power 1598cc/120PS
Top speed/0-62mph 123mph/9.8secs
On sale 28 March 2009
Score 7/10
Verdict Brilliant on costs but lack of
power, practicality plus
visibility issues are downsides