From Reykjavik to Iceland’s wild hinterland in the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible.

Reykjavik. Summer in Iceland sounds paradoxical at first. But even though the time between June and August on the island cannot compete with the Mediterranean coast in terms of maximum temperatures, the rugged beauty high up in the north changes its face noticeably during this period. On the streets of Reykjavik you see the people enjoying the mild weather after the long winter, sitting outside, soaking up the light and sun. The MINI John Cooper Works Convertible (fuel consumption combined: 7.4 – 7.1 l/100 km (WLTP), 7.4 – 7.1 l/100 km (NEDC); CO2 emissions combined: 167 – 161 g/km (WLTP), 169 – 163 g/km (NEDC) captures every second of this special atmosphere with its open top, making it the ideal car for going on an exciting trip from Reykjavik harbour to the wild hinterland east of the capital.

The lively old town centre is dominated by the Hallgrímskirkja landmark. Iceland’s largest church building is located on a hill in the centre of the city, which makes the 74.5-metre-high tower seem a little taller and makes the expressionist building a prominent landmark on a city tour. The white colour of the church’s concrete pillars is an impressive reminder of Iceland’s numerous glaciers and snow-covered mountain peaks.

The streets of Reykjavik, on the other hand, are strikingly colourful. In order to get through the dark winter months in good spirits until the brighter summer months, the capital’s friendly inhabitants hold their own against the seasonal gloom with a colourful mix of brightly painted houses and Scandinavian design. This is a setting ideally suited to the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible with its Island Blue metallic finish. Its reduced design language draws attention to MINI typical visual features, such as the hexagonal radiator grille and the round headlights. The rear lights in Union Jack design are a subtle reminder of the brand’s British origins.

A trip to the harbour is highly recommended for refreshments after an extensive tour through the busy streets. Fish is the defining theme of the menu on the island and can be enjoyed here in every shape and form. If you want to see the incredible abundance of fish around Iceland for yourself, you can go on a whale watching tour off the coast and see blue whales and sperm whales, some of the largest predators and mammals in the world, of which there are many here due to large schools of fish.

On land to the east of Reykjavik, things get pretty wild, too. After a short drive on the Icelandic Ring Road “1”, route 36 turns right towards Mosfellsbær. On the sweeping and winding road you can already experience some of the fiery temperament of the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible. However, the 90 km/h speed limit in Iceland only allows for small glimpses of what the 170 kw/231 hp 4-cylinder turbo engine of the extremely sporty four-seater is capable of.

After a good 45-minute drive, unique scenery opens up before our eyes in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Thingvellir National Park, which might nevertheless look familiar to fans of the Game of Thrones series. Some key scenes were shot in this breathtaking landscape which was shaped by enormous forces. The American and Eurasian plates meet in the gigantic valley, which is best overlooked from the Hakið viewpoint. The higher side of the gorge belongs to the North American continent, while the flatter side towards Lake Thingvellir is of European origin. The gap between the plates is still growing by two centimetres a year.

It’s a great feature that the top of the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible can be raised considerably faster now, in 18 seconds, as the drizzle begins to set in. The “36” continues around Lake Thingvellir and meets the all-connecting ring road “1” again in the south, taking us back to Reykjavik. It’s also well worth taking a detour into the Reykjadalur valley, which is criss-crossed by rivers. The water originating here doesn’t only come from the mountains, but also from hot springs in the ground. The rising columns of steam along the valley reliably point the way to one of the numerous bathing spots, where the 35 °C to 40 °C warm water will warm you up nicely. And all of a sudden Iceland is even a few degrees warmer than the Mediterranean coast.