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by Tim Beissmann

The 2012 MINI Roadster has been revealed in production form before it goes on sale in Australia towards the end of the first quarter of next year.

 

The soft-top Roadster becomes the sixth model in the born-again British manufacturer’s line-up, and will launch locally alongside the MINI Coupe hardtop in March.

BMW Australia’s Piers Scott confirmed the brand’s marketing department had decided to push back the launch of the Coupe – which was initially scheduled to go on sale in Australia about now – to align with the Roadster.

The two-seat Roadster is around 100mm longer than the four-seat MINI Cabrio and sits 20mm closer to the ground, giving it a low-slung appearance that is accentuated by raked windscreen and gradually rising waistline.

Despite the compact dimensions, the boot has a cargo capacity of 240 litres, and MINI has also included larger door bins, three cup holders and a cross-rack behind the seats.

Globally, MINI will offer four variants of the Roadster: Cooper Roadster, SD Roadster, S Roadster and John Cooper Works (JCW) Roadster. Mr Scott confirmed Australia would get only the two high-performance petrol models – S and JCW – and said MINI Australia intended to “spec them quite highly” to position them “at the top of the heap”. The MINI Coupe will be sold in the same two trim levels in Australia.

Although pricing is still to be finalised, Mr Scott said the best indication was that the Coupe models would be around $5000 more than their comparative hatches, and the Roadster variants would add another $1000 to $2000 on top of that.

The MINI Cooper S hatch starts at $40,700, suggesting the S Coupe will be priced around $45,500 and the S Roadster around $47,000. The MINI Cooper JCW hatch is priced from $50,400, pointing to a price of around $55,000 for the JCW Coupe and $56,500 for the JCW Roadster.

Official Australian pricing and specification details will be confirmed closer to the vehicles’ launch early next year.

The engines and transmissions will be familiar with the rest of the MINI range.

The S Roadster gets a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine producing 135kW and 240Nm. It sports a 0-100km/h time of 7.0 seconds and tidy fuel consumption of 6.0 litres/100km combined.

The JCW Roadster gets the high-performance 155kW/280Nm tune of the 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine. It hits 100km/h from standstill in just 6.5 seconds and uses 7.3 litres/100km combined.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while the six-speed automatic gearbox is optional.

MINI says the Roadster will bring a ‘new interpretation’ of the traditional go-kart driving dynamics to the brand. A Sport button on the centre console allows drivers to adjust the car’s acceleration and steering responses, and also shortens shift times when the auto transmission is optioned. The Sport button is standard on the JCW and optional throughout the rest of the range.

The soft-top roof is opened and closed manually, and tucks away behind the seats to maintain the Roadster’s unique, clean profile.

The Roadster also incorporates an active rear spoiler, which deploys at 80km/h and retracts when the car’s speed drops below 60km/h. It can also be managed manually at the touch of a button.

There will be no shortage of interior personalisation options, with seven different trim strips, five Colour Lines and a number of other upholstery possibilities offered, depending on the market.

Stay tuned for more details of the 2012 MINI Roadster and Coupe in the lead-up to their Australian launch in March.




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