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Mini reveals new Cooper Roadster model

The Mini family grows to six members now...

Mini has officially revealed the 2012 Cooper Roadster.

Essentially a production version of the 2010 MINI Roadster concept, according to Mini it "embodies unadulterated sportiness" and "irresistible charisma." The overall design echoes the MINI Coupe, but the Roadster has a manual soft top and a more striking silhouette. Notable highlights include a steeply raked windscreen, stainless steel roll bars and an active rear spoiler which deploys at 80 km/h (50 mph). The look is very sleek with the roof down, and with the roof up there are even hints of (dare we say it) the Lamborghini LP560. It certainly looks better than the Coupe, which has the awkward 'Backwards Baseball Cap' design to the roof.

We can't help but think that this is the car the Mini Convertible should have been all along. The Convertible has two near useless rear seats, a very small boot and due to rollover protection requirements, two very high roll bars at the back of the car. When the roof is down the roof stows on top of the boot, giving it a look not dissimilar to a pram handle. With the new Roadster, Mini have given us a car which has an easy to operate roof, which looks great hood up or down due to the hood stowing in a space between the seats and boot and still has a boot twice the size of the Convertible. We wouldn't be surprised if this Roadster demolishes sales of the Convertible with only those intent on installing very small people (or children) in the rear buying one.

Inside, the cabin is instantly recognizable thanks to a centre-mounted speedometer, a wide dashboard and circular air vents. Standard Mini fayre really, but when an interior looks this good and works this well, there's really no need to change it.

The entry-level model features a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that develops 112 bhp and 118 lb-ft of torque. As you'd expect, it's a tad slow as the dash to 62 mph takes 9.2 seconds and the top speed is 124 mph. On the upside, the car averages 49.6 mpg with CO2 emissions of 133 g/km.

Next up, the MINI Cooper S Roadster is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 181 bhp and 192 lb-ft of torque. This allows the convertible to run from 0-62 mph in 7.0 seconds, before topping out at 141 mph. It averages 47.1 mpg and emits 139 g/km.

The JCW also has a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, but it produces 208 bhp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to the extra power, the car accelerates from 0-62 mph in 6.5 seconds and hits a top speed of 147 mph. In terms of efficiency, owners can expect to average 38.7 mpg with CO2 emissions of 169 g/km.

Lastly, the Cooper SD has a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine with 141 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. It enables the car to run from 0-62 mph in 8.1 seconds, before maxing out at 132 mph. So it may not be as quick as the petrol Cooper S but thankfully to compensate it returns an average of 62.8 mpg with CO2 emissions of 118 g/km.

The Cooper SD is unique in the marketplace as the only small 2-seater Roadster with a diesel engine. Great looks, fun handling, good performance and fantastic economy go together to mean that this could just be the surprise hit of the Roadster range.

The Mini Roadster goes on sale in the spring of 2012 in the UK and will cost from £18,015 for the base Cooper variant. But as with all Minis, the price creeps up massively with the 'essential' options such as the Chilli Pack which adds all the toys expected upon resale, but costs around £1500.

Images and video courtesy of Mini

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more