The new MINI Convertible : out in the open

Clive Goldthorp

R57 MINI Convertible breaks little ground stylistically

R57 MINI Convertible breaks little ground stylistically

MINI has just released details of the new, R57-series, MINI Convertible which will be officially launched at the Detroit Motor Show next January prior to hitting UK MINI Dealers’ showrooms on the 28th March, 2009. Cooper and Cooper S models will be available from the outset while a hot John Cooper Works version should appear soon after the launch. An entry-level One model will probably also be introduced later next year while rumours suggest that a highly efficient diesel version might be on the cards as well.

The new Convertible features a raised shoulderline with a chrome strip which extends around the body and which gives the car a rather more rakish stance than the original model. The Cooper and Cooper S both retain MINI’s now traditional hexagonal radiator grille and large round headlights but distinguishing features of the Cooper S include a bonnet with a 20mm-high ‘powerdome,’ a larger lower front air intake, a hexagonal patterned grille centre and a rear bumper incorporating a large diffuser and twin, centrally-mounted, exhaust tailpipes.

The most novel option, though, might just turn out be the Openometer which records the time spent by the owner driving topless…

However, the most significant changes are to the new Convertible’s engines which are inherited from the R57-series Hatch and Clubman. The engines benefit from a MINI version of BMW’s EfficientDynamics systems known as MINIMALISM which includes features such as Auto Start Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and Shift Point Display and results in improvements of up to 23% in fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The two new models are two VED Bands lower than their predecessors while performance figures are as follows:

MODEL

POWER (HP)

MAX TORQUE (Nm)

TOP SPEED (mph)

0-62 mph

MPG (Combined)

CO2 (g/km)

Cooper

120

160

123

9.8

49.6

137

Cooper S

175

240*

138

7.4

44.1

153

The new Convertible’s body structure, floorpan, A-pillars and side sills have all been strengthened with the twin aims of improving crash protection and reducing scuttle shake while a weight reduction of 10kgs has also been achieved. The new model now has a single-piece roll bar which extends from behind the rear seats in 150 milliseconds upon an impact and protects the occupants should the car overturn.

The automatic canvass roof can be lowered and raised in just 15 seconds at speeds of up to 20 mph and can also be partially retracted at speeds of up to 75 mph to create an effect akin to that of a sunroof. The boot capacity has been increased by 5 litres to 125 litres with the roof open and to 170 litres with the roof closed while, with the rear seat folded down and the roof closed, luggage space has been increased by 55 litres to 660 litres.

Two new colours will be exclusive to the Convertible: Interchange Yellow and Horizon Blue. Three roof colours will be available in the UK: Black, Denim Blue and Hot Chocolate. Prices will start at £15,995 OTR for the Cooper and £18,995 OTR for the Cooper S and, while Air Conditioning will now be standard, the Options List will, no doubt, be pretty extensive.

The most novel option, though, might just turn out be the Openometer which records the time spent by the owner driving topless…

Clive Goldthorp

Clive Goldthorp

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.
Clive Goldthorp
Posted in: AROnline News, MINI
Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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  1. Benny Ben Adams says:

    The Cooper S has the same bhp and top speed as my 1989 Vitesse! Proof again that the MINI is too big and too heavy to be taken seriously as a small car, yes it sold well when people had money to BURN, but in a credit crunch I will be surprised to see this selling well.

  2. Adam Sloman says:

    Openometer? Pfft. Shoe-box boot space, little more than a two seater, OTT price tag, why do people buy these things?

  3. alex scott says:

    still only 4 seats in a mini, surely they can make a mini that would fit 2 adults +3 kids (or + two adults)?????? alex

  4. Hong Yhi says:

    When will many of the contributors to this site open their narrow minds and accept that the “New” Mini is a success, that it employs more British people than MGR ever did and as it generates real profits has a future.

    I suspect that many of the attacks on the Mini being overpriced and noting that some of the same contributors are all excited over a bit of Chinese white goods with an MG badge stuck on it has more to do with them not being successful enough to afford a car as good as a Mini rather than the Mini being over priced.

  5. Adam Sloman says:

    Hong Yhi :When will many of the contributors to this site open their narrow minds and accept that the “New” Mini is a success, that it employs more British people than MGR ever did and as it generates real profits has a future.
    I suspect that many of the attacks on the Mini being overpriced and noting that some of the same contributors are all excited over a bit of Chinese white goods with an MG badge stuck on it has more to do with them not being successful enough to afford a car as good as a Mini rather than the Mini being over priced.

    I accept the new MINI is a success, and congratulations to BMW Oxford and it’s workforce. Doesn’t mean I don’t think the car is overpriced and is becoming little more than a fashion accessory. I think the early cars are much better than the current ones, it’s becoming increasingly gimmicky, while cars like the new Fiat 500 show that retro styling car work, with room for four people, half decent boot space and a sensible price tag!

  6. Karl Russell says:

    Just because the new Mini Cooper S has the same bhp and top speed as an ’89 Vittesse (800, I presume) it doesn’t, for one minute, give any proof that it’s too big and/or too heavy. This argument doesn’t account for the fact that cars are geared for a particular top speed/acceleration as a function of their power and CdA. Crash worthiness has progressed somewhat since the tin-boxes of 1989 and this, inevitably, adds mass… as do the mod cons but if that’s what people want, that’s what BMW Mini will produce.

  7. Merlin Milner says:

    Pleased that they have got rid of those oversized external hinges on the boot lid.

  8. e668ecp says:

    Does Cowley emply more than 6500people? I very much doubt it!

    Bet its future is in some far eastern country long term though

  9. Hong Yhi says:

    Does Cowley emply more than 6500people? I very much doubt it!

    Bet its future is in some far eastern country long term though

    e668ecp

    Yes it does once you bring in Hams Hall and Swindon and even more when you add the UK component suppliers.

    As long as BMW UK plants are competitive on quality and price they will stay, just like Honda, Nissan and Toyota. One thing that cannot be doubted is the commitment BMW has made in the plants with investment, training and new product.

    Of course if you want you can wait for the Chinese to invest in something more than a screwwdriver at Longbridge, but you will have a long and pointless wait.

  10. Rob says:

    The problem is – what will happen when people tire of the MINI? The new one looks almost exactly like the original new MINI so whats the next generation going to look like? There is only so far BMW can go with this and whats going to happen to Cowley when that happens?

    Rather than just new convertible versions, 4×4 versions, Estate versions where is the radical 5 seater with ultra low emmisions thats as happy on the motorway as it is in central London? The kind of thing Rover proposed when BMW came along.

    By all means keep the 2+2 sports car (which is all the MINI is really) and call it the miniCooper. What could you call the radical 5 seater? The miniMetro?!

  11. Karl Russell says:

    Rob :The problem is – what will happen when people tire of the MINI? The new one looks almost exactly like the original new MINI so whats the next generation going to look like? There is only so far BMW can go with this and whats going to happen to Cowley when that happens?
    Rather than just new convertible versions, 4×4 versions, Estate versions where is the radical 5 seater with ultra low emmisions thats as happy on the motorway as it is in central London? The kind of thing Rover proposed when BMW came along.
    By all means keep the 2+2 sports car (which is all the MINI is really) and call it the miniCooper. What could you call the radical 5 seater? The miniMetro?!

    With ever-increasing pressure to produce low CO2 cars, the Mini, or its replacement will be assured. People won’t tire of it if the product moves with the time & demands.

    Why is everyone so negative about this car’s success? Rover, had they not gone under, would never have had the investment to properly execute Mini as BMW have done. There’s no point getting stary-eyed about Rover. They’re dead because not enough people bought their cars.

  12. Rob says:

    @Karl Russell

    I’m not getting stary eyed, just wondering where this new product is? All we see from BMW is variations on a theme. Realisticly a new model could take 4 years to design – will people still be buying a car that looks fundamentally like one designed in the late 90s in 2013?

    How many new VW Beetles do you see?

  13. Andrew says:

    Great to see another new MINI; not great to see the usual comments.

    I take exception about the MINI being compared to the Fiat 500, which is a re-bodied Panda and not a bespoke car.

    The MINI is an outstanding small car and not a fashion accessory, if it was it wouldn’t have the following it does and wouldn’t be the success it is.

    Unlike most people on this site, I actually have owned three MINIs and have the emotional scars from this site to prove it.

    This is a valuable site, the usual MINI-hating comments detract from it and have more to do with anti-German feeling than anything to do with car enthusiasm.

  14. e668ecp says:

    Hong Yhi :Does Cowley emply more than 6500people? I very much doubt it!
    Bet its future is in some far eastern country long term though
    e668ecp
    Yes it does once you bring in Hams Hall and Swindon and even more when you add the UK component suppliers.
    As long as BMW UK plants are competitive on quality and price they will stay, just like Honda, Nissan and Toyota. One thing that cannot be doubted is the commitment BMW has made in the plants with investment, training and new product.
    Of course if you want you can wait for the Chinese to invest in something more than a screwwdriver at Longbridge, but you will have a long and pointless wait.

    So Cowley doesn’t employ 6500 people. You can’t count Hams Hall as it doesn’t just make engines for MINI. I suppose its employment for the UK. SAIC-MG (thank god NACcers have gone) are growing albeit slowly

  15. Andrew-P Andrew Porter says:

    Good to see another UK made MINI being produced. Long may its success continue.

  16. Gary H says:

    Well if you want a real Mini, then may I recommend the Smart car. I’ve had both the old version and the new. They’re just so much fun in the real world of driving, and roomy inside too.

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