With the launch of the Mini Cooper Roadster, BMW has added the sixth, and maybe final variation, on the re-imagined 2002 theme. The very fun Moke/Beach Buggy apparently concept failed most of Grandpa's federal safety rules. Jeez, can't a kid have any fun?
Anyway the new Mini Cooper Roadster is the sibling to the baseball-cap-on-backwards coupe that bowed earlier, and I have to say that both are a complete mystery to me.
As one-time owner of a 1959 Mini, I have to say the whole point of the original Mini — and again, this generation — was to get a lot into a small space. A quart in a pint pot, if you will. So why on earth cut the carrying capacity to a pint in a pint pot? Especially where the compact nature of the design means it's - shall we say - a little short on STYLE.
Personally I like the previous convertible. Like the New Beetle ragtop, the roof was cut down a little for better proportions, it was handsome, sealed well when raised, and was quiet. Wouldn't you prefer an occasional back seat to none? Yes it's 20 millimeters lower than the Mini Convertible - but that's a measly half an inch. You can match that by wearing down your tires, for heaven's sake. And it's almost exactly the same length as the four-seater. There's a rear spoiler that pops up over 50 mph, though what good it can do on an FWD brick is a complete mystery to me.
The car comes in several different trims from the 206-hp John Cooper Works Roadster, the 184 hp Cooper S and 121 hp basic Cooper. There's also a 143hp rest-of-world diesel which may make it to the U.S. — right behind Pink Floyd's flying pig.
The roadster lauches at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December. Yawn.—Paul Duchene