Here we are back again; to give you the latest glimpse on what MINI has done in its latest 11 years since its contemporary re-birth. I personally flew to Lisbon in Portugal to test drive the new MINI Cooper S Roadster. And to tell you something, believe it or not, I was just about to freeze inside the car when cruising around the coast of the Atlantic Ocean! But having all the features, which nowadays are standard: seat heating and A/C turned on to maximum; I enjoyed driving it even at 5 degrees Celsius.
The first thing that happened, which I still keep a memory of it, is that when crossing through the Portuguese villages people were looking at us, smiling and waving. Probably having the top down surprised them, and because the car is so cool and fashionable.
How was the drive? Quite near distinction.
First, when you get in the cockpit, you immediately realize that this new Roadster doesn't seat four, but then again, even the Convertible doesn't precisely do an extraordinary job of that either. And my impression after driving that sixth Cooper variant was that I felt it much better with the droptop than the current Cooper Convertible. A manual folding top is standard, although when I did it for the first time I found that it required quite an effort to fold it down. But you need to have the exact technique, and then it’s like having a glass of water! You just have to twist the knob in the middle of the A-pillar to unlock the roof, hold a button and the soft top is stowed behind the roll bars in a matter of seconds.
With the addition of a steel dividing wall behind the seats, it has increased the rigidity of the Roadster by 10% compared to the Convertible. On the road, I felt an enormous difference. Whereas the sportier versions of the convertible have an out of your depth affinity to flex and torque steer, the Roadster feels remarkably solid, even at high speeds! The steering feeling is suitably smart and the electric system is not imposed with feel; it delivers a level of nimbleness harmonized by not many other cars.
The MINI Roadster will be available with a choice of four powerful – yet also highly efficient – petrol and diesel engines from launch. The model line-up ranges from the MINI Cooper Roadster (122 hp), via the MINI Cooper SD Roadster (143 hp) and MINI Cooper S Roadster (184 hp), to the sharpest performer of all, the 211 hp MINI John Cooper Works Roadster. All models come with either 6-gear manual transmission or 6-speed automatic transmission.
The interior of the MINI Roadster features a large Centre Speedo and a rev counter positioned directly behind the steering wheel. The sports seats fitted as standard in the MINI Cooper S Roadster, MINI Cooper SD Roadster and MINI John Cooper Works Roadster offer outstanding lateral support through quickly-taken corners. The colors of the interior, meanwhile, also help enhance concentration on the road ahead. Regardless of the combination of upholstery variant, trim elements and Color Lines chosen by the MINI Roadster owner, the interior color remains Carbon Black.
The customary MINI variety of seat and upholstery variants includes ultra-exclusive piped sports seats in the color shade Toffy. The Chrome Line Interior package can be specified as an option, and includes chrome rings and trim elements for the Centre Speedo, rev counter, air vents and gearshift lever gaiter, cup holders on the center console, door openers, and the stereo speakers in the doors, the seat belt outlet and the handbrake lever.
The MINI Yours range, meanwhile, offers an additional selection of extremely exclusive exterior and interior design options, including Soda bonnet stripes in White, MINI Yours Tattoo Funky adornments and a leather-covered instrument panel.
The faithful reproduction of the hallmark MINI design language within the proportions of a roadster gives the first open-top two-seater in the history of MINI. Even with the roof closed the MINI Roadster displays an elegant, fashionable silhouette, with the transition from soft-top to rear end highlighting its characteristic three-box design particularly clearly.
The principles of the MINI design language are faithfully reflected in the body design of the new concept. The Roadster’s waistline rises up slightly along the length of the body to its tail end, producing an elegant silhouette which gives the MINI Roadster an unmistakable allure – with the roof open or closed. In customary MINI fashion, the powerful over-the-wheel stance of the new Roadster also plays a defining role in its appearance. The car’s brand identity is further emphasized by distinctive design features such as the hexagonal contours of the radiator grille, the black border around the lower part of the body, an array of chrome strips and edging, large circular headlights with integrated direction indicators, vertically stacked rear lights positioned on the outer extremes of the rear end, and the eye-catching side indicator surrounds on the front side panels.
What is behind all these launches from MINI? Well they are trying to extend their model line-up to grow the brand even more all the way through the next years. One wish, I really hope that all these models do not collide in each other’s sale. Other than that I have no main concern. What about this new Roadster? It is certainly striking me as a more worthwhile procurement choice than the Coupe (which we recently drove) though in my opinion not everyone wants a convertible. For those who want to cruise around fashionably, they can overlook the Cooper Convertible. Believe ArabWheels: The Roadster is all you really ever wanted!
- Regional Drive: Alfa Romeo Giulietta
- Regional Drive: Mercedes-Benz A-Class
- Regional Drive: Hyundai Centennial
- Regional Drive: Nissan Pathfinder
- Regional Drive: Nissan GT-R
- Editors' Choice: Chevrolet Traverse
- Editors' Choice: Honda Accord Coupe
- Editors' Choice: Renault Fluence
- Event: MEMTS 2013
- Motorbike: Ducati Panigale 1199 S
Auto Shows Calendar
- Dubai Motor Show (Nov 5-9, 2013)
- Riyadh Motor Show (Nov 27-Dec 2, 2013)
- Qatar Motor Show (TBA, 2014)
- Oman Motor Show (Dec 2-5, 2014)
- Geneva Motor Show (Mar 5-6, 2013)
- New York Motor Show (Mar 27-28, 2013)
- Shanghai Motor Show (Apr 20, 2013)
- Frankfurt Motor Show (Sep 10-11, 2013)
- SEMA (Nov 5-8, 2013)
- Tokyo Motor Show (Nov 20-21, 2013)
- Los Angeles Motor Show (Nov 20-21, 2013)
- Paris Motor Show (TBA, 2014)
- Beijing Motor Show (TBA, 2014
- Detroit Motor Show (TBA, 2014)
- Chicago Motor Show (TBA, 2014)