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15 Jun 2012 | Text and Photos by Nicholas Low
Rolling Good Time
In a bid to expand its lineup, MINI has created the 'ultimate drop-top machine' - a combination of go-kart driving experience with access to the skies.
In MINI's case, it seems that family expansion plans got the better of it - the marque needs to churn out a variety of new variants to boost its production volume, yet at the same time retaining its identity. In that sense, the latest drop-top offering seems to fit snugly into the new philosophy - exterior wise there is no doubt that the Roadster is more of an evolution than revolution.
We bring you the first two-seater convertible in MINI's illustrious history.
The roadster is distinctively MINI - steeply raked A-pillars, roundel headlamps, wheel-at-each-corner layout, and purposefully squat stance. The A-pillar, in fact, is more steeply raked than the 2+2 Cooper variants, cutting the roadster's height by 20mm.
Elsewhere, there is not much to differentiate the Roadster from the earlier Coopers, and not surprisingly the more recent Coupe which the Roadster was heavily based on.
One may realise that the Roadster has its woven-top kept snugly behind the anti-roll bars, without taking up precious boot space. This also means that the simple structure frees up more room for rigidity strengthening - a crucial aspect to any drop-top offering.
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4-cylinders in-line Turbocharged
184 bhp / 5500 rpm
240 Nm / 5000 rpm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h)