The paint hasn’t dried yet on the new Mini Coupe, and the engineers are working to finalize the Roadster version, which is expected to go on sale sometime in late 2012. But in the meantime, Autoevolution spy photographers snapped some images of the car while testing on the Nurburgring, with very little camouflage.
This is a John Cooper Works (JCW) version of the 2012 Mini Roadster, the flagship model of the series. The JCW Roadster can be distinguished a retractable rear spoiler on this roadster prototype, a double-piped, centre-mounted exhaust, and an extra set of lights on the rear bumper grillt.
The JCW Mini Roadster sports the same 1.6-liter turbocharged four-banger with an output of 211 horsepower as the one found under the bonnet of the Coupe. This will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which is expected to boost the car from 0-60 mph in approximately 6.6 seconds.
The 2012 Roadster lineup is expected to comprise a Cooper model powered by a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter unit with 122 horsepower, as well as a Cooper S version with a 1.6-liter turbo unit delivering 184 horsepower. Needless to say, the Europeans will likely also get a 143 hp, 2-liter diesel, though chances of it getting to the U.S. seems slim.
Meanwhile, the rest of us can ponder the purpose of the 2-seater roadster in general, which seems to add little to the convertible already available. There's no edge in performance. It can't be the looks surely? The odd mid-position cockpit looks more like a Japanese domestic market sportscar, like the old Nissan Figaro - albeit with a decent sized motor, at least.—Paul Duchene