Set to go on sale in 2011 is this two-seat Roadster, the second of Mini's new models. Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mini Roadster is the sister car to the Mini Coupe. It will attempt to encroach on the market share of the Mazda MX-5 and Audi TT Roadster. The car will be manufactured in the UK at Mini's Oxford plant.
It is based around the same re-engineered Mini Convertible bodyshell as the Coupe and as such, the Roadster concept shares that car's rakish A-pillars and lowered roofline.
The silhouette in itself is admirable. The front pillars slope back an extra 16 degrees on the concept, giving it a sportier look but is actually an expensive feature to re-engineer.
Compared to the regular production models, the glasshouse is considerably lower, slimmer, and more dynamic. Let's not get too excited though since it is unclear if the production versions will feature this modification.
When the windscreen is sloped back like this, the performance in US crash tests is affected. The company has to make considerations for unbelted occupants especially since there are states that has not made wearing a seatbelt compulsory.
A source who has seen the production versions of both Coupe and Roadster disclosed that the production models will not have the same degree of pillar rake. The Roadster will also share its boot lid pressing with the Coupe, although that doesn't mean that they open the same way.