Mini has announced its sixth model, the Roadster, essentially a convertible version of its recently released Coupé.
The Roadster is the ﬁrst time Mini has released an open-top two-seater. Like the Coupé, it’s a three-box shape, with stowage area behind the seats, and sizeable boot (240 l compared with the Coupé’s 280).
As with the Coupé, BMW is keen to emphasize that this is a different car with a different proposition. Publicity photographs feature a male model more regularly, as the company targets more male buyers (or, as its politically correct introduction states, more ‘demanding target groups’). It is 20 mm lower than the existing R55 Mini Cabriolet. Its manual soft-top is designed to be easily opened and closed, and with the saving in weight over an automatic system, the Roadster is expected to have healthier performance than the R55.
The double rollover hoops help distinguish the Roadster’s appearance, as well as a more heavily raked windscreen and A-pillars.
BMW calls the Roadster ‘spontaneous, open, irresistible’ in its PR materials. It has a wide range of customization options. The design language reﬂects the Mini brand, and, unlike the Coupé, the roof is not as controversial. In fact, it follows what BMW calls a design reminiscent of ‘classic British roadsters’.
The Roadster’s bodyshell is stiffened at the rear to help with torsional rigidity, while the front has also been stiffened, resulting in a slightly higher front-axle load, aiding front-wheel traction. The company claims a lower centre of gravity for the Roadster compared with the standard Mini.
The chassis, while shared with the other models, has a unique set-up. While stability control is standard, dynamic traction control and differential lock control are optional (standard on the John Cooper Works model). The active rear spoiler extends automatically when the Roadster hits 80 km/h (50 mph), but can also be activated manually.
Engines include the John Cooper Works petrol unit with 211 PS (155 kW). The Cooper S Roadster delivers 184 PS (135 kW), while the base model has 122 PS (90 kW). The SD roadster delivers 143 PS (105 kW) and a claimed 63 mpg Imperial (4·5 l/100 km) with carbon dioxide emissions of 118 g/km.