Mini has announced the details of its new two-seat convertible, the Roadster.
The Mini Roadster is essentially an open-top version of the recently introduced Mini Coupé. It promises the same sharpened driving experience, but with extra wind in your hair.
Mini Roadster: first two-seat convertible
The Roadster becomes the first two-seat drop-top Mini. As with the similar Coupé, it is likely to divide opinion.
The styling combines elements familiar from the existing Mini hatchback with a soft convertible roof and a three-box design (meaning it has a prominent boot as well as a bonnet, like the Coupé but in contrast to other Minis).
For the UK market the roof is described as ‘semi-automatic’ – as opposed to the manual version offered as standard elsewhere. The Mini press office was unwilling to elaborate on exactly what it means by that, but we can only assume that some kind of power assistance is provided, in keeping with the brand’s luxury pretensions.
A reinforced windscreen and stainless steel roll-over bars protect occupants should the worst happen, while an active rear spoiler pops up at 50mph to provide additional stability.
Unconfirmed for the UK (again the press office was unwilling to comment) is an ‘Openometer’, which records the number of hours the Roadster is driven with the roof down. However, this is standard on the US-specification car, as well as being fitted to the current Mini Convertible, so is very likely to make an appearance over here.
The rest of the interior is as per the Mini hatchback or Convertible – except for only offering the two seats. A 240-litre boot retains a reasonable amount of practicality, while through-hatch access via the interior will be offered.
Engines and equipment
Engine choice for the Roadster matches the Coupé: 120bhp 1.6-litre petrol Cooper, 181bhp 1.6 petrol turbo Cooper S and 208bhp 1.6 petrol turbo John Cooper Works – plus a 141bhp 2.0 turbodiesel Cooper SD. The John Cooper Works will hit 62mph in just 6.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 147mph, while the Cooper SD offers a claimed 62.8mpg and 118g/km CO2.
Stop-start, brake energy recuperation, a gear-shift indicator and electric power steering should all keep the fuel consumption down, while other items of standard kit include dynamic stability control, DAB digital radio, rear parking sensors, aux-in socket and air conditioning.
Priced from £18,015
Pricing for the Mini Roadster starts at £18,015 for the Cooper, £20,900 for the Cooper S, £21,630 for the Cooper SD and £24,850 for the John Cooper Works.
This works out at a few hundred pounds more than the equivalent Coupé, but roughly on par with the equivalent Convertible. The usual range of customisation options and accessories will be available when it reaches UK dealerships in the spring.
Full specification details will come closer to the Roadster’s public debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which takes place in January 2012.
Mini Roadster – read our review
Mini reviews – read reviews of the hatchback, Clubman and Countryman
Rival convertibles – read reviews for the Roadster’s drop-top competition