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155-kW Mini go-kart drops its top

2009-02-11 09:13

For loads of go with that unmistakable wind-in-the-hair sensation, look no further than the Mini John Cooper Works Convertible.

Using the same potent powerplant as the John Cooper Works hatchback, the convertible's turbocharged 1.6-litre unit shoves out 155 kW at 6 000 r/min and 260 Nm (280 Nm with overboost) at 1 850 to 5 600 r/min.

Being a convertible, the JCW's top speed has been marginally affected with top end now achieved at 235 km/h (versus the hatchback's 238 km/h).

The convertible's canvas roof is electrohydraulically operated and includes a sliding roof function as standard. The roof can be opened and closed at speeds up to 30 km/h.

Other than its acquisition of a folding soft top, the JCW convertible's mechanicals remain virtually identical to that of the impressively fun hatchback although the body should be more rigid to deal with the added demands of an absent roof.

'Tamer' cabrios

News of the hot little number's Geneva reveal follows closely on that of the "regular" Mini Cooper and Cooper S convertibles. 

Since the latest Mini hatchback is marginally bigger than its predecessor, it stands to reason that these changes will follow through to the passenger compartment and luggage areas of the convertible.

What is worth mentioning, perhaps, is that this new convertible gains electromechanically operated rollover bars positioned behind the rear seats that, upon prompting by the car's "central safety electronics", pop up when a potential rollover is detected.

As with the John Cooper Works convertible, the Cooper's 88-kW 1.6-litre and the Cooper S's 128-kW turbocharged 1.6-litre are carried across to the convertible versions.

Expect the three drop-top Coopers to make their way to South Africa this year. Look out for the Cooper and Cooper S convertibles from the end of the second quarter and the JCW convertible should make landfall in the second half of 2009.


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