How many journalists can you get in a Mini? At a recent press day at the Cowley car factory, the answer was three. Six of the Mini ‘family’ (see below) were on show to motoring writers.

It was a sunny day and my colleagues — Chris Walker of the Oxford Mail and photographer Jon Lewis — were keen to try the Mini One Convertible, which came out in March. Five test cars were on offer and by the time we emerged from the press conference, all of them had been taken by more rapidly-moving motoring correspondents.

So we decided to share, which gave me a chance to ride in the back. Chris enjoyed the chicanes and road humps on the Horspath Road, but they weren’t quite so comfortable in the rear seats.

I felt quite vulnerable — it was only afterwards that I realised a rollover bar behind the rear seats would pop up automatically in an accident. And it was pretty windy in the back, which disrupted his hairdo somewhat when I finally took the wheel myself. There is an optional wind deflector, but it wasn’t an option for us, since it sits on top of the rear seats.

All Minis now have new engines and the One Convertible shares the new 1.6-litre Valvetronic engine of its Hatch and Clubman cousins, producing the same 98hp and 153 Nm of torque. The new model is said to accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds and go on to a top speed of 112mph.

Fortunately, we were unable to experience its full power, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to — perhaps that’s why I’m not a full-time motoring writer.

BMW has used clever new technology to increase the power while at the same time improving fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions (marketing slogan: More Poke, Less Smoke).

According to the press release, it has recorded 49.6 mpg (combined cycle), but the fuel consumption dial in our car showed less than 40 mpg at a steady 50mph with the hood down. Bizarrely, the dial had a better reading around town in a 30mph zone, and the reading reached its best as we circled the Garsington Road roundabout outside the factory.

However, an emissions level of 133 g/km takes you into a lowish insurance bracket, and the Mini’s high secondhand resale prices make this a reasonably good value convertible at an on-the-road price of just under £15,000.

The Mini publicity makes much of the exciting ‘go-kart’ feeling, which is great when you are driving, but not quite so good for passengers, since the suspension feels quite hard — particularly when driving over road humps at low speeds.

The open-top four-seater features a fabric roof that opens and closes electro-hydraulically at the touch of a button at speeds up to 20 mph. There is also a halfway sun-roof position.

Despite the open roof, air-conditioning is standard, as are all the safety features of the Cooper and Cooper S, including EPS electromechanical steering, DSC stability control and four airbags. The model we drove was fitted with an ‘Openometer’, recording the amount of time spent with the roof down.

I found it annoyingly distracting, particularly since, with short legs, I had pushed the seat forward enough to make it difficult to see the speedometer. Although this is satisfyingly large — part of the ‘retro’ look of the Mini — it is set bang in the middle of the dashboard, rather than in front of the driver. Instead of seeing my speed, I found myself looking at the rpm dial — interesting enough, but hardly vital information for the average driver.

Because of its price, BMW expects this to become the best-selling convertible Mini, although it has been released after the Cooper and Cooper S models. We were told by Jochen Goller, of Mini UK, that rumours about the British weather are greatly exaggerated, since the country has the largest market for convertibles of all the G10 nations.

Model: Mini One ConvertiblePeformance: 0-62mph: 11.3 seconds, top speed 112mph Economy: 49.6mpg CO2 emissions: 133g/km

Price: £14,985 Web: