Ever wonder if Mini would eventually run out of ways to repackage the basic look and attributes of the Mini?
Apparently, the folks at Mini haven’t stopped thinking of new ideas to fill out the lineup.
Making its world premier at the Detroit Auto Show, the Mini Roadster essentially chops off the top of the recently introduced, helmet-headed Mini Coupe to create the second convertible Mini. Mini also makes a convertible version of the original Mini Cooper. The difference is the Cooper convertible seats four but the Roadster has just two seats.
The Roadster joins the original Cooper, Cooper Convertible, Clubman, Countryman and the Coupe and will be the brand’s sixth model.
Ian Robertson, BMW Group board member for sales and marketing, said Mini sales are growing with its expanding lineup. The brand racked up 285,000 worldwide sales in 2011, its best year ever, representing a 22 percent increase. Mini did even better in the U.S., tallying 57,000 sales, up 26 percent over 2010. Mini is owned by BMW.
Robertson said the Roadster’s goal is fun.
“The roadster was designed with adventure in mind,” he said as a video of a roller coaster played behind him and a pair of Roadsters appeared through the smoke on the Mini stand.
It will be available in three trims: Cooper (121 horsepower), Cooper S (181 horses) and Cooper S JCW (208 horses). Manual and automatic transmissions, both six-speeds, will be offered. All of the engines are 1.6-liter four cylinders, but the S and JCW models add turbochargers.
Even with two fewer seats, the Roadster still covers about the same footprint as the four-seat convertible.
Prices are expected to start at about $24,000, or about $2,000 more than the Mini Coupe.
The design features an active rear spoiler that deploys above 50 mph. There is 8.5 cubic feet of cargo space.