2009 MINI Cooper S Convertible
New York is no place to drive.
Congestion and congestion taxes, crippling potholes the size of small black holes, $50 a day parking spots--it's a wonder they don't simply wall off the entire island and use it as a prison for the most cranky, least apologetic Americans. (We know: it's been done.)
Still, if you need to use Times Square as a jumping-off point for unfamiliar destinations like New Jersey, some cars suit the mission better than others. You're looking for cars that can be parked in teensy spaces, cars that can fit in on the Bryant Park cross streets and are cute enough to avoid the pointing and laughing of twee fashionistas with severe cases of dogma. You can use them like automotive lawn darts, to get out of Manhattan mindspace quickly and slip back in before one of the bridges or tunnels goes code red.
The perfect car for Manhattan is, of course, the 2009 MINI Cooper S Convertible.
It was new this year, and we reviewed the MINI Cooper over at TheCarConnection--but for four days a few weeks ago, we used a 2009 MINI convertible as our personal go-kart, dodging around Times Square ticket hounds, those enormous potholes, and a few traffic nightmares to visit some colleagues up in Tony Soprano's neighborhood.
Why the latest Coopers work so well, is no mystery. It's an instantly recognizable silhouette, even as a Convertible. Even before BMW bought the brand, Americans knew what MINIs were--and the new convertible, which bowed for 2009 a year after the new hardtop, doesn't trade that heritage for any avant-garde updates. The styling's accurate above all, even inside, where the functionality takes a back seat to dozens of plastic buttons arranged in flanks around a center-mounted speedometer.