The front-wheel drive convertible that will take on Mazda’s mighty MX-5 is powered by the same engine lineup as the Cooper Coupe.
The European range offers four engine choices: the base 1.6-liter with 122 hp, a Cooper SD with a 143 hp 2.0-liter diesel, the Cooper S with a turbocharged 1.6-liter delivering 184 hp and the top-of-the-range JCW with a racy 211 hp from the same turbo four-banger.
All models except the JCW can be fitted with an optional 6-speed automatic instead of the standard 6-speed manual.
You can be sure that much like the Coupe, the diesel version won’t be available in the US.
Here’s our take on the all-new MINI Roadster so far:Forget about comparing it to the RWD MX-5, and compared it to the MINI Cooper Convertible. That wasn’t really a runaway success story. The only people who seem to drive those are the really posh hairdressers, women who liked MINIs and wanted a convertible and the fine folks that like in places like Monaco.
The Roadster seems to change that market perspective. For starters, the name is a bit more inspiring - a bit like the difference between Aston Martin Volantes and the V8 Vantage Roadster. To justify this sort of badging, MINI has made the Roadster stiffer and more responsive. The photo gallery reveals that the soft-top roof is indeed manually opened, just as the pre-launch rumors said. While some people might not like reaching back and pulling the roof up with their hands, it shows that MINI was thinking about lightness.
Basically, it’s a bit more unisex than the Cooper Convertible. As for the practicality side of things, you’ve lost two seats, but we have to say that we’ve never seen people in the back of the Convertible. The boot size is much better, though you can’t exactly call it a family sedan, and there’s a hatch through which you can put your skis, fishing gear or snowboard.
The only really bad thing about the Roadster is that MINI will probably charge you an arm and a leg for the car you really want, and let’s admit it - 211 horsepower isn’t that much.