Wednesday, 18 April 2012 3:00 PM
Mini may be owned by BMW these days but it's good to see they're still rolling off the production line in Oxford - and the latest of the Oxford-made cars is a new four-car Roadster range, the brand's first open-top two-seater.
First things first - it has been a sunny then cold then wet then dry and cool day here at TotallyMotor Towers which leads us to ask how easy is it to get the roof up and down. Well, the good news is that there'll be no having to spend ages in the rain wrestling with the soft-top roof while using language that'd make Granny's hair stand on end. Instead, there's a semi-automatic opening that makes opening and closing swift.
And we TotallyMotor types fancy being able to carry more than our handbag/manbag so it's also good news that there are stowage areas behind both seats, a 240-litre luggage area and through-loading system.
But enough about all that. How much are Mini's newest babies and what sort of power can we expect from them?
The base model is the Mini Cooper Roadster, priced at £18,020 OTR. It offers 122bhp and has a top speed of 124mph. CO2 emissions are 133g/km and combined fuel economy is 49.6mph. The next cab up the rank is the Mini Cooper S Roadster priced at £20,905 OTR with a top speed of 141mph and a 184bhp engine. Emissions are 139g/km and combined fuel economy is 47.1mpg.
The greenest model is the £21,630 John Cooper SD Roadster with emissions at 118g/km and combined fuel economy at a very impressive 62.8mpg. This is matched by some pretty handy performance with 143bhp and a top speed of 132mph.
At the top of the range is the £24,860 John Cooper Works Roadster. Emissions may be 169g/km and combined fuel economy is 38.7mpg but who cares when the 211bhp engine manages a top speed of 147mph.
The chassis has been designed with a go-kart feel in mind - that's taut, fun and stiff and Sports Suspension is available as an option. There are some optimised aerodynamics too with heavily raked A-pillars and an active rear spoiler that automatically extends when the car hits 50mph and retracts at 37mph.
Also standard on all models is electric power steering, dynamic stability control, antilock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution. A Sport button on the centre console allows the driver to adjust the car’s steering characteristics and accelerator responses. If you go for the optional six-speed automatic gearbox, pressing this button also shortens shift times. Frankly, we'd leave it on all the time.
And naturally, you can personalise the Roadster with some funky stripes on the bonnet, boot lid and rear apron - but the soft top remains black.
By Georgia Lewis
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