Behold the fastest and most sought after MINI there is, the Speedster, an extremely stunning, two-seater top-down that merges spectacular appearance with outstanding performance. Hot on the heels of the Crossman, the carmaker's first 4x4, the striking roadster will bring the famous brand to a whole new territory.
For some years now, speculations about the Speedster have been going around that it will challenge the next-gen Mazda MX-5 as well as the forthcoming CRZ of Honda.
It seems, however, that the top brass of BMW, the parent company of MINI, have at last gathered the boldness to realize the company's first authentic sports car. Exclusive photos show that the flagship will be distinct from the Crossman, which derives its underpinnings from the upcoming BMW X1, since it will utilize the same MINI Convertible platform.
This move enables maximum adaptability for component sharing with the present range, thereby putting development cost to the minimum. However, to provide the Speedster it own unique characteristic and sports car appearance, the rear seats of the regular convertible have been scrapped. With only two seats, luggage space has been increased.
The car's classic roadster proportions are provided by its distinctive roll hoops, a lower and broader stance and enormous wheel arches. To ensure that the car is distinctly a MINI, it comes with a split front grill, familiar bonnet scoop and chrome-rimmed taillights together with the twin central exhausts.
The Speedster's electric soft-top, like the one found in the standard Convertible, stores in the boot when the top is down. The fabric that covers the top is simple and lightweight and offers designers more liberty to design a sportier profile to fit the steeply raked windshield.
Also coming soon will be a removable hardtop that perfectly fits over the canvas hood. Beside providing better protection and minimizing wind noise, the hardtop, which arches seamlessly over the top towards the rear of the car behind the roll hoop extensions, provides a coupe-like silhouette. Basically, customers buy two cars for the price of one.
The unique styling of the MINI will be developed in-house, but there is speculation that the finished body shell will be produced by a third entity. The shells will be cut down, revised, toughened then returned to MINI for the installation of their running gear.
A 2,000 Pound premium over the Convertible is expected, so basic price begins at 18,000 Pounds for the Cooper S variant when it hits markets in 2011. A John Cooper Works model will also be offered. The Speedster is expected to be a hit with the success of the brand and the broadening MINI range, considering British infatuation for convertibles.[source autoexpress]