Mini are perhaps not best known for sports cars, but with the Mini Roadster they demonstrate a surprising aptitude for them nonetheless with a nippy little number that's fun and unique. Let's be honest, there are plenty of sports cars out there and it's hard to really turn anyone's head these days; but when you rock up in what looks like a sports car from 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids', you're sure to get a reaction.
Specifications and Features
Manual or partially-electrically opening soft-top
6 speed transmission (manual or automatic)
Coupé also available
The Mini Roadster comes in a variety of models in keeping with other cars from Mini. There's a Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper SD and John Cooper Works (JCW). The JCW is the top of the range with acceleration capable of going from 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 240km/h. This is thanks to a turbocharged 208 njp, 1,598 cc four-cylinder. The Cooper SD meanwhile is a 2.0 liter diesel producing 141 bhp.
All Mini Roadsters and Coupés have a six-speed manual transmission. There is the option for automatic transmission for all models but the JCW.
The soft top can be either manually opened or partially electrically operated depending on the precise model (this varies from market to market).
Before the Roadster hit the tarmac, the Mini Coupé was already doing the rounds. The Coupé went on sale in 2011 and was based on the Mini Carbiolet but with only two seats and a larger boot. It also featured a roof 1.1 inches lower than the Mini Hatch and a spoiler that would rise at speeds over 50mph.
The Mini Roadster was first revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 in concept form. It was eventually launched in January 2012. The Roadster of course is a convertible version of the Coupé.
Experience and Performance
A lot of the appeal of the Mini Roadster will initially be its novelty. Who ever thought you'd be able to race a Mini?
And actually, while you might be tempted to look down your nose and scoff at such a concept, in reality it's a lot of fun. Partly, that's thanks to the small size of the vehicle, which makes going at high speeds feel all the more daunting and daring. Simply put: there's much less between you and the road which makes it easy to forget you're driving at all and not just sprinting down the motorway at breakneck speeds.
A good comparison can be drawn here with flying a microlight airplane. Again, it's easy to say that this is the 'vanilla' form of flying… but most airline pilots will admit they still actually prefer the exhilaration of flying something so minimalist. It's purer and it's much more exciting.
Then there's the aforementioned fact that the Mini Roadster turns heads and starts conversations. And actually, surprisingly perhaps, this is also relatively practical as sports cars go owing to its small size. That said though, there's no glove box and the boot is very small.
The interior is very specced out with leatherseats, lots of visible stitching on the steering wheel and a huge speedometer – all decked in executive black. That large speedometer isn't just for show though: it also has a few other tricks up its sleeves letting you access social media, news and more. You'd almost be forgiven for forgetting you were driving a mini… but only for a moment.
You should definitely give the Mini Roadster a chance to surprise you. It's a ton of fun, it's unique and its small size can work to its advantage when traffic is heavy. It's not for everyone of course; the small boot and lack of storage generally will be troublesome for some while others won't be able to get over the fact that it's a Mini.
But if you are in the market for something new and you don't need tons of space… then definitely give this one a shot.