2022 Mini Hardtop and Convertible Revealed With Fresh Looks
New digital dash, multi-tone roof, and other updates for the most mini of Minis.
Better? Worse? Different? We're still forming our opinions of the refreshed 2022 Mini Hardtop, Mini Convertible, and battery-electric Mini Hardtop Cooper SE. But we're bullish on the updated interior and modest (or non-existent) price increases, and we think Mini buyers will be as well.
First things first, there are no significant mechanical changes to the updated Mini. Powertrains and chassis calibrations carry over. We're pleased to report the manual transmission is alive and well in the Cooper and Cooper S, though JCW models come standard with an eight-speed automatic.
In terms of the exterior, none of the sheet metal changes; rather it's the molded and stamped pieces that are redone. Most noticeable is the new body-color insert on the front fascia, which makes the Mini look like it has a giant bumper rather than a giant grille. The fog lights have been axed, replaced by a "bad weather light" integrated into the now-standard LED headlights.
All but the electric Cooper SE get a new rear bumper with a sort of bull-bar motif because apparently everything needs to look like an SUV nowadays. This also means the end of the model's big red rear fog light(s) (singular or plural depending on the exhaust arrangement). The Cooper SE retains last year's bumper but loses most of its yellow trim and adopts the same grille pattern as gas-powered Minis—only its bright yellow S distinguishes the EV Mini from its atmosphere-choking siblings.
A couple of changes we rather like. First, is the new multi-tone roof. Several automakers are now using Mini's trademark contrasting-color roof motif, so the brand came up with a new twist to differentiate itself from the herd: a tri-color roof that goes from dark blue to light blue to black. The wet-on-wet paint technique gives a nifty fade effect, and we hope Mini extends the option to colors other than blue. Speaking of colors, some of those you see in the associated photos are former special-edition hues that are now part of the regular color palette. The Piano Black package is expanded to include a blacked-out grille surround, head- and tail-light surrounds, badges, door handles, fuel filler cap, and exhaust tips.
The news gets better on the inside. The Hardtop, Convertible, and Hardtop Cooper SE all get a reshaped dash with modified air vents. The digital instrument cluster is now standard, too, as is an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which now includes standard Apple CarPlay compatibility on navigation-equipped models. There's still no Android Auto functionality, though. The steering wheel is revised and now offers optional heating, and there are a couple of new upholstery choices. Incidentally, Mini plans to port many of these interior updates to the 2022 Clubman and Countryman, as well.
There are some notable developments to pricing for the smallest Mini models. Most, including all three trims (Classic, Signature, and Iconic) of the basic Cooper, are up by $500, giving the least-expensive Cooper variant (two-door Hardtop Cooper Classic) a base price of $23,400. The JCW Signature is up by $1,000 in Hardtop form and $750 as a Convertible. The electric Cooper SE's price, however, is unchanged for the third year in a row ($30,400), as are those of the Cooper S Signature and Iconic, as well as that of the top-line JCW Iconic.
Production of the 2022 Mini Hardtop, Convertible, and Hardtop Cooper SE is scheduled to begin in March, and the cars will go on sale as soon as they land on dealer lots—most likely by the middle of April. We think the interior upgrades are worth the wait, but if you don't like the look of the new Mini, then you better grab a 2021 model while you still can.