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Mini Roadster rolls out

2011-11-01 14:38

NEW TAKE: It's definitely a Mini, but the Roadster adds aggression to sedate drop-top driving. Image gallery

Mini’s rampant model expansion continues with the addition of the two-seater Roadster to the range.

The sixth model in the line-up, the Roadster is the first drop-top two-seater in the marque’s history. (Yes, the Mini hatchback convertible is classed as a four-seater...)

Mini considers itself a trailblazer, and regards this as the first premium car of its size in this segment.


Mini Roadster

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The compact Mini Roadster promises more focused drop-top driving.

The new Roadster is clearly a Mini, and shares much of its design DNA with its siblings, although this time around the focus has shifted towards a dedicated two-seater design allowing occupants the option of open-top driving.  

However, its design incorporates a three-box structure with a dramatically stepped rear end and, rather unusual among the recent crop of convertibles, a manually operated soft roof for hassle-free opening and closing.

Mini’s legendary “go-kart” driving feel is taken care of by the bespoke chassis arrangement, the Roadster’s lower centre of gravity (it’s about 2cm lower than the Mini Convertible), a rigid body structure and heightened aerodynamic properties, including an active rear spoiler that deploys at 80km/h.

Safety is taken care of by the standard DSC, DTC and EDLC (which is standard, along with the aero pack, on the John Cooper Works Roadster) and stainless steel roll bars.

Luggage space is clearly not expected to feature high on its drivers’ lists of priorities with 240 litres being made available, although an extra stowage area is offered behind the seats.


BMW’s latest-generation four-cylinder petrol and turbodiesel engines, bolstered by TwinPower Turbo technology, are available in the Mini Roadster starting at 90kW for the Cooper, 135kW for the Cooper S and 155kW for the feisty John Cooper Works version.
Mini Roadster

NUMBER 6: The Roadster model is the latest addition to the Mini range.

Mini apparently wants to set its Roadster apart from its regular siblings and it is offered with a range of distinctive materials for upholstery, exterior mirrors and additional trim.

Standard equipment includes speed sensitive power steering, park distance control and an MP3-compatible audio system with auxilliary functions.

Options include smoked headlight housings, xenon adaptive headlights, comfort access and the useful Always Open Timer that registers the amount of time spend driving with the top down. Mini Connected and the Mini navigation system are available for the Roadster, too.

The Mini Roadster is expected to arrive in South Africa in 2012. The fifth model, the Mini Coupe, will be launched here imminently.

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