The 2012 Mini Roadster is the second convertible to join the diminutive brand, which now includes the quintessential hatchback, the Clubman “wagon”, the larger Countryman “crossover”, and the original Mini Cooper convertible. Both the Mini Coupe and roadster models are based off the standard Mini two-door hatchback. The Mini Roadster is the drop-top version of the Coupe, replacing the former's hardtop with a soft one, retracts manually. Both Mini Coupe and roadster models are strictly two-seaters with trunk space in the Mini Roadster shy of nine cubic feet in size.
Who It's For
The 2012 Mini Roadster offers all the fun-to-drive character of its coupe sibling but with the open air experience. The Mini Roadster, like competitors such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata or the BMW Z4 roadsters, offers plenty of creature comforts as standard but provides limited trunk space.
Except for the "now you see it, now you don't" soft-top, the 2012 Mini Roadster offers many of the same features available to the rest of the Mini Cooper lineup, including three engine choices and numerous option packages. The 2012 Mini Roadster, which debuts at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show and goes on sale sometime in the second quarter, will be offered with:
- Engines choices include a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, a turbocharged 181-horsepower model, and a 208-horsepower monster.
- Six speed manual transmission is standard; a six speed automatic is available.
- The Mini Roadster offers more trunk space at 8.5 cubic feet than the Mini Coupe convertible which only offer six cubic feet.
- "Mini Yours" allows potential owners to customize their Mini Roadsters to their hearts content.
What We Think
We can see the 2012 Mini Roadster as popular, if not more, than the Mini Cooper convertible whose miniscule second row is more useful for hauling cargo like duffel bags and smallish boxes than passengers unless they're very small children. For the best fun-to-drive experience, we recommend the middle tier Mini Cooper S Roadster and Mini John Cooper S Works; the base Mini Roadster and its 121 horsepower engine and nine second 0-60 mph climb is more of a cruiser than a screamer.
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