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by Tim Beissmann

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The all-new 2016 Mini Convertible has been revealed ahead of its public debut at next week’s Tokyo motor show.

The third-generation Convertible becomes the BMW-owned British brand’s biggest and most mature fabric-top model ever, and the fourth in the new family that comprises the three-door, five-door and recently-launched Clubman body styles.

At 3821-3850mm long, 1727mm wide, 1415mm tall and riding on a 2495mm wheelbase, the 2016 Mini Convertible is 98mm longer and 44mm wider than its predecessor, and sits on a wheelbase that’s 28mm longer than before.

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Benefitting most from the expanded dimensions are the Convertible’s four occupants, with the new model boasting more cabin space, new front seats with extra adjustability, improved ingress and egress, and a longer seat base for rear passengers.

Boot space also grows approximately 25 per cent to 215 litres, while there’s 160L with the roof stowed.

Transforming the Mini Convertible from closed-top to open-air takes just 18 seconds, can be completed on the go at speeds up to 30km/h, and is said to be quieter than ever as for the first time the roof is operated by electric power only.

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The soft top also offers a sliding roof function that allows the front section of the roof to be retracted to variable levels by up to 40cm.

In addition to the standard black roof, a black and grey Union Jack alternative is available, providing the unique customisation potential the brand is famous for.

The Caribbean Aqua metallic paint colour pictured here makes its debut for the brand, emphasising the new Convertible’s light, playful persona.

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Based on the BMW Group’s front-drive UKL architecture – shared with the other new-generation Mini models and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and X1 – Mini claims the new Convertible is stronger and stiffer than before, enhancing the car’s agility and structural safety.

For the first time, the rollover protection elements are integrated invisibly into the car, with two high-strength aluminium protection bars springing into action within 150 milliseconds of the electronics detecting the risk of a rollover.

There are few surprises under the bonnet, where the new Mini Convertible inherits its turbocharged drivetrains from the three-door and five-door hatches. Three variants will be offered initially: the 100kW/220Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder Cooper, the 85kW/270Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder Cooper D diesel, and the 141kW/280Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder Cooper S.

All three are available with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

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Other technologies from the third-gen Mini family find their way into the Convertible, headlined by LED headlights with high beam assist, a reverse-view camera, head-up display, adaptive cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning with auto brake function, road sign detection.

The Convertible also benefits from the new Mini Connected infotainment system, which offers functions such as intelligent emergency call, in-car entertainment and social media app integration, and an internet-linked rain warning function that alerts drivers of incoming weather if the roof is open.

Mini Australia corporate communications general manager Lenore Fletcher says the new Convertible is on track to reach local showrooms around the middle of 2016.

As before, we’re likely to get only the petrol variants. Pricing and specifications are still to be finalised and will be confirmed closer to the car’s Australian introduction.

The old Mini Cooper Cabrio was priced from $40,350 plus on-road costs, while the Cooper S topped out at $51,150.




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