The new MINI Convertible is set to make a welcome return to UK roads in 2009, with a completely new version of the British-built favourite due to go on sale on 28 March 2009.
MINI Cooper and Cooper S derivatives featuring innovative engine technologies will be offered at launch, meaning fans of the compact, premium new MINI Convertible are guaranteed performance, frugality, minimal running costs and a unique image as standard. The MINI Cooper Convertible will be priced at £15,995 OTR and the MINI Cooper S Convertible will be offered from £18,995 OTR.
The first-generation MINI Convertible experienced remarkable sales success in Britain and was a best seller in the UK in the small convertible segment between 2004 and 2008. Approximately 164,000 MINI Convertibles were delivered to owners around the world during its lifecycle. Demand for its successor, complete with an array of technological and design advances, is sure to be strong.
Exterior design highlights
The unique aesthetics of MINI are clearly present in the new MINI Convertible. With a raised shoulder line, highlighted by a chrome strip which extends around the body of the car, the new MINI Convertible has a more purposeful and dynamic stance than its predecessor. The low roofline, wheels in each corner and short overhangs at both the front and rear of the car denote the MINI Convertible’s sporting intent.
Specific design cues differentiate the Cooper and Cooper S models. Both derivatives feature MINI’s trademark hexagon radiator grille and large round headlamps with integrated indicators. The high-performance MINI Cooper S Convertible sets itself apart visually through the presence of an enhanced ‘powerdome’, which sits 20 millimetres higher than the MINI Cooper’s bonnet and houses a large air scoop. At the rear end, large twin tailpipes, a large diffuser in the rear bumper and a two-piece rear fog lamp mark it out.
An hexagonal grid pattern on the radiator grille of the Cooper S is its finishing touch. In contrast, the new MINI Cooper Convertible’s grille boasts a chrome frame and three horizontal, chrome-plated bars.
Exclusive to the new drop-top will be two all-new colours to feature on a MINI. Interchange Yellow and Horizon Blue will make their debuts on the second-generation new MINI Convertible. Contrasting roof options add visual appeal to the newcomer, and British customers will be able to pick from Black, Denim Blue and Hot Chocolate when specifying their perfect MINI.
For the first-time in a MINI Convertible, Air Conditioning will be fitted as standard. An added benefit to owners will be that the lockable glovebox will receive cooled air and ensure its contents remain icey, while passengers enjoy the sun.
Top up to top down in just 15 seconds
The automatic canvas roof of the second-generation new MINI Convertible can be fully retracted or closed using a roof-frame mounted toggle switch in just 15 seconds. In the event of a driver being caught unexpectedly by a sudden downpour, this function will fully operate with the car at speeds of up to 20 mph.
As an alternative to the complete top-down driving experience, the full-width of the electric roof can be retracted by approximately 40 centimetres to create the effect of a sunroof. This function can be operated at speeds of up to 75 mph.
A unique feature typical of MINI will be the Openometer. Offered as an option, the Openometer records the time spent by the owner driving with the top down, meaning passengers can measure their visual coolness inside, even if it’s cold outside.
Unlike its predecessor’s fixed anti-roll bars the new model features a single-piece roll bar situated behind the rear seats, ensuring passenger safety in the event of a crash. The roll bar will extend in milliseconds at the point of impact to protect the car’s occupants should the car overturn. Remarkably, this new arrangement in no way obstructs the driver’s line of visibility when looking out of the rear window.
In contrast to the first iteration of the new MINI Convertible, rear passengers will be able to adjust the height of their head rests at will, unlike the preceding car’s fixed-position arrangement.
The body structure, floorplan, A-pillars and side sills have all been strengthened to offer greater crash protection. This also significantly reduces ‘scuttle shake’, whilst body stiffness is further improved over the first generation MINI Convertible. The car’s weight is also reduced by 10 kilogrammes.
Clever use of space means the luggage capacity of the new car is greater than that of the first generation model. The easy-load boot compartment now has a capacity of 125 litres (up from 120) with the roof open and 170 litres with the roof closed (previously 165). With the rear seat folded down and roof closed, luggage space totals 660 litres, 55 litres more than the previous MINI Convertible.
Bike rack preparation will be supplied with the car as standard. The mounting points are obscured from view and positioned behind the rear bumper, meaning owners are able to easily affix multi-function carriers as and when required.
Proven power plants provide typical MINI performance
The case for the new MINI Convertible is strengthened further by the presence of award-winning engines, allied to short-shifting and precise six-speed manual gearboxes. Both models are available as an option with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The MINI Cooper Convertible is fitted with a four-cylinder petrol engine with fully variable valve management, using technology based on BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology.
The MINI Cooper S Convertible is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine with Twin-Scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection. This engine currently holds the title of International Engine of the Year, in the 1.4-1.8-litre category.
Both engines feature elsewhere in the current MINI range. In Hatch and Clubman guise, outstanding fuel economy, low CO2 emissions and high performance equate to low running costs, minimised environmental impact and a grin-inducing driving experience. Combined with the thrill of top-down motoring, the new MINI Convertible will be a tempting ownership prospect to British car buyers.
The 120hp Cooper has a 123 mph top speed, and hits 62 mph in 9.8 seconds. The 175 hp Cooper S, however, achieves the same sprint in 7.4 seconds before topping out at 138 mph. CO2 emissions are 137 and 153 g/km respectively.
Technologies based on BMW’s EfficientDynamics systems are central to dramatic improvements in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. Auto Start Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and Shift Point Display complete the line-up of MINIMALISM technologies supplied with the new MINI Convertible Cooper and Cooper S models.
Dynamic driving with uncompromised safety
The engines in both new models supply power which is transmitted to the front wheels. The chassis technology employed to manage the safe delivery of power is tailored specifically to the new MINI Convertible. The following technologies are standard features of this model:
- Electromechanical Power Steering (EPS)
- Brake system with anti-lock brakes (ABS)
- Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)
- Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Brake Assist
- Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Start-Off Assistant
A boost for car manufacturing in Britain
The second-generation new MINI Convertible will be built in Britain. The body shells will be pressed at MINI Plant Swindon, the engines will be built at BMW Group Hams Hall and assembly of the entire cars will take place at MINI’s Plant Oxford production facility, alongside the MINI Hatch and MINI Clubman.