Mini unveiled its definitive production variant of its 2012 Roadster, the sister vehicle of the coupe which was introduced recently. The compact two-seater roadster will be built at Mini's Oxford plant in England alongside the coupe. It has been more than two years since it was first introduced at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show in lightly veiled concept car guise.
The roadster is intended to make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January before being launched on sale in North America in the middle of 2012, rivaling the Mazda Miata.
The price range has yet to be revealed, although officials suggest that the base Cooper model will begin at around $24,000, some $2,000 higher than its fixed-roofed sibling.
With a length of 146.8 inches, width of 64.5 inches and height of 54.7 inches, the roadster is a scant 1.9 inches narrower, 1.0 inch lower and 0.1 inch shorter compared to the Mini's existing open-top model, which is the second-generation cabriolet on sale in the U.S. since 2009.
However, the Mini's latest model is a strict two-seater unlike its open-top four-seat sibling. It has a space behind the seats meant for extended luggage capacity, as in the coupe.
In accordance with the Mini's original design brief for the roadster, the multilayered structure can be placed down from the driver's seat, folding back behind the seats in a space ahead of a rear liftback.
Nominal trunk space is at 8.8 cubic feet, which is around 4.1 cubic feet greater than that quoted for its open-top sibling, owing to the lack of rear seats.
A 7.9-inch high and 14.2-inch wide aperture within the back bulkhead is accessible from the passenger and driver seat, allowing added load through versatility for lengthy items such as skis.
The fundamental MINI style is followed to the letter in the new concept’s body shell. This is seen in its sinewy surfaces, symphonic curves and linear congruency. These unmistakable MINI traits are matched by a windshield raked 13 degrees more than the MINI convertible, a short two-seat cabin and a flat boot hatch. Also prominent are the distinctive glossy stainless steel roll-over bars, which have a sculpted 3D form, front padding and a provision for mounting a wind protection insert.
The waistline of the MINI Roadster is subtly slanted upward lengthwise to the rear, giving it an alluringly exclusive shape whether the roof is closed or retracted. This design detail is brought to further attention by the chrome trim strip running circumferentially through the window bases.
MINI Roadster’s windshield has a more obvious rake angle and sharper upward taper than on the MINI Convertible, providing a unique and sportive image from up front.
The new MINI Roadster also employs an authoritative over-the-wheel stance - another signature MINI trait. Additionally, its hexagonal front grille, black border on its lower body area, chrome trims, large round headlamps with integrated directional signallers, vertically laid out tail lights at the lateral edges and the striking front side panel side signaller surrounds are all vivid expressions of the car’s identity as a MINI.
Manual soft-top roof: Clean, classic and black
Perhaps the most noteworthy MINI style adaptation on this compact roadster is the sturdy, all-weather soft-top roof. When this is closed, it resembles a classic British roadster in its simplicity and shape, as it flows down widening as it reaches the body, thereby emphasising the strong over-the-wheel stance.
When the roof is opened, it folds neatly flat at the back of seats, maintaining the car’s stylish lines. When folded, it is its outer skin that remains exposed, consequently forgoing any need for another cover.