Break out the SPF 50 and the Ray-Ban sunglasses because the Mini Cooper Roadster just arrived.
The two-seat convertible ‘ a first for the Mini brand and a companion to the recently launched Coupe ‘ adds some visual spice to the Mini’s broadening model lineup that already includes a four-passenger drop-top. Admittedly, it seems a bit odd that BMW-owned Mini would now have two not-so-distinct convertibles that are constructed off the same platform and share the same mechanical bits. Furthermore, the two-seat Roadster lists for only $300 less than the standard four-place convertible.
Ah, but there’s a point that’s being overlooked. The Roadster swaps out the rear bench that isn’t particularly roomy in the first place for an actual trunk (another Mini first). We’re not talking cavernous space here by any means (it has a bit less volume than the Coupe’s trunk) but it’s enough to store a few decent-sized travel bags or a set or two of golf clubs regardless of whether the top is up or down.
The Roadster’s styling is far less controversial than that of the helmet-headed Coupe and it looks better with the roof up than the existing Mini convertible. Combined with a windshield that has been tilted back an additional 13 degrees, the Roadster is one of the best looking of the bunch.
The hair-drying Roadster deserves its sports-car appellation. And, with pricing that ranges from $30,500 to $41,500, consider it an alternative to the league-leading Mazda Miata and an extra-fun way to celebrate the summer season.
To reduce the Roadster body’s tendency to twist ‘ which is pretty normal behaviour when the roof is removed ‘ Mini installed additional structural bracing in the trunk area and other key spots. And to help keep the rear end planted, a trunk-mounted spoiler automatically deploys once the vehicle reaches 80 km/h.
Lowering the lid
The black-only cloth top that includes a heated glass rear window is secured in place with a twist of a single windshield-mounted lever. The spring-loaded lid lowers flat into its stowage spot by pressing a button located between the roll bars. The outer portion of the top remains exposed after the folding process.
The Roadster gets the same basic trio of engines as every other Mini model, beginning with a 121-horsepower 1.6-litre four-cylinder for base models. A turbocharged 1.6 comes in the S version, while a tweaked-up 208-horsepower 1.6 is part of the John Cooper Works (JCW) package.