2013 Mini Roadster debuts at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 11, 2012

The 2013 Mini Roadster has debuted at the Detroit Auto Show. This compact two-seater is the sister car to the newly launched coupe. Both vehicles will be produced at Mini's Oxford plant in England. Designed to compete with the Mazda Miata, this roadster is expected to start selling in North America sometime in the middle of 2012.

Two years ago, Mini unveiled a lightly veiled concept car guise at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show.The base Cooper model will have a starting price of $25,050 – about $3,000 higher than its sibling with a fixed-roofed sibling.

The roadster is 146.8 inches long, 64.5 inches wide, and 54.7 inches tall. This means that when compared to Mini's existing open-top model (the second-generation cabriolet), the roadster is shorter by 0.1 inch, narrower by 1.9 inches, and lower by 1.0 inch. This cabriolet has been available in the U.S. since 2009.

What makes the latest Roadster different from the four-seat open-top version is that it is exclusively available as a two-seater. Similar to the coupe, it has a space behind the seats that’s meant to extend luggage capacity. The new roadster’s multilayered structure follows Mini's original design brief and could be lowered from the driver's seat.

It folds back behind the seats in a space ahead of a rear liftback. Its nominal trunk space is at 8.8 cubic feet, around 4.1 cubic feet bigger than what its open-top sibling has. This is due to the lack of rear seats. From the driver and passenger seat, a 14.2-inch wide and 7.9-inch high aperture in the rear bulkhead could be accessed.

This offers additional load and more versatility so that skis and other long items could be fitted. The roadster has been given the treatment taken with the new coupe.

It will be offered with Mini's usual 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine in three varying levels of tune. When in naturally aspirated guise, it has an output of 121 hp in the Cooper. Meanwhile, twin-scroll turbocharged versions offer 181 hp in the Cooper S and 208 hp in the top-of-the-line John Cooper Works models.

Exterior Design

The body design of the MINI Roadster authentically conveys the principles of the MINI design language. The body of this new concept is laden with parallel lines, sporty yet taut surfaces and pleasing curves. These exterior elements are complemented with other design elements like a two-seater short passenger compartment, a flat boot lid and a sloping windscreen frame that features a 13-degree extra rake over the MINI Convertible.

In addition, the MINI Roadster features 3D-sculpted polished stainless steel roll-over bars that are padded on the front. These bars also include a mount for the optional wind protection insert. Meanwhile, the waistline of the new MINI Roadster rises up a bit along the body length to the rear end, thereby resulting in an elegant silhouette whether the roof is deployed or not.

This elegant silhouette is further underscored by a wraparound chrome trim strip located at the base of the windows and roof. Further giving the Roadster a distinct and sporting impression is a windscreen frame raked and tapering upwards sharper that on the Convertible. Interestingly, the new Roadster has a dynamic over-the-wheel stance and an array of distinctive design elements.

These elements include the radiator grille with hexagonal contours as flanked by large circular headlights with integrated direction indicators, chrome strips and edging and black border around the lower part of the concept’s body. Further distinguishing elements include vertically stacked rear lights and stunning catching side indicator surrounds on the front side panels.

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