Who doesn’t love roadsters? Driving around with the top down and feeling the power of the machine beneath you is the ultimate high for many car lovers. The latest to hit the US market is the Mini Roadster which was unveiled at the recently held 2012 Detroit Auto Show. According to Ian Robertson, a BMW board member, the car was introduced as a concept about two years back. No one guessed that Mini would make such a big comeback in the automobile market and in a proud moment for BMW, Mini sales hit the two millionth mark in 2011.
The Mini Roadster may be similar to the Mini two-door hatchback but bigger bumpers give the impression of a much lower wheel base which sets it apart from other sister roadsters in its class. It also has a bigger trunk, though one wouldn’t notice unless upon closer inspection. BMW’s roadster is immediately recognizable as being a Mini owing to the large circular headlights, chrome trim strips and distinct radiator grille. It is also the first open-top roadster in the line-up’s history.
Depending on how powerful you want the Mini Roadster to be, you can choose from three different trims. While it comes equipped with a 1.6-liter 4 cylinder engine, you can choose from three models, each having a higher horsepower. The base model, called the Cooper Roadster, gives an output of 121hp which is pretty decent in itself. However, if you crave more power and speed, you can go for the Cooper S Roadster which has an output of 181hp. The most powerful is the John Cooper Works Roadster that has a very impressive 208hp, designed for those who love speed.
A rear spoiler adds to the aerodynamics of the Mini Roadster giving it more lift to ensure better speeds. All three trims will be equipped with an automatic and manual 6-speed transmission. Though fuel economy hasn’t been specified, we do have details on acceleration, torque and top speed. The base model (Cooper Roadster) can hit top speeds of 124mph on manual transmission, with an acceleration time of 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds and torque of 114lb/ft. The Cooper S, with its turbocharged engine of 181hp, will give a top speed of 141mph, has a torque of 177lb/ft and acceleration time of 7.1 seconds when going from 0-60mph. The more powerful John Cooper Works model, meanwhile, has a top speed of a little more than the Cooper S at 147mph owing to the turbocharged 208hp engine with 192lft/ft of torque, and a sprint time of 6.3 seconds going from 0-60mph.
The exterior and interior
The Mini Roadster is a sister to the Mini Coupe but comes with a soft-top in a traditional black color that needs to be manually opened. Design-wise, it is remains faithful to Mini’s style though it does have its own attributes. Though slightly shorter than the Mini hardtop, the roadster is a tad longer with a larger trunk space. Bigger bumpers give you the impression that it is lower while the reinforced chassis adds to its weight. Other than this, the roadster has all the signature styles of Mini with the hexagonal radiator grille, circular headlights and raked windshield.
On the inside, customers will find the standard two-seater layout, a luggage compartment in a stylish 3D design and oval recesses up on the roof lining. Apps include Google services, web radio, RSS news feeds as well as access to Facebook and Twitter.
An active rear spoiler deploys when hitting speeds of 50mph to give better lift. Buyers can also choose to get custom stripes on any one of the three models as well as light alloy wheels measuring 15, 16 and 17 inches.
While it has the same wheelbase as the Mini hardtop, the new roadster is 0.7 inches shorter. Thicker bumpers give it a distinct look and feel from the rest in its class.
Price and availability
The Mini Roadster begins at a base price of $25,050 all the way up to $35,200 for a John Cooper Works model. Additional works like stripes and alloys may add a bit more to the price.
BMW’s Mini Roadster incorporates the standard go-kart handling signature to Mini. While there are no details yet on fuel efficiency, it is believed to be pretty economical, making it a perfect buy for those who love Minis and roadsters. Road testers claim it to be fun to drive and easy to handle, and why not? It’s a BMW and Mini, after all. Perfect for roadster lovers all over the world.