Calling it “the latest edition of an absolute icon,” Mini has released its 2010 convertible at the North American International Auto Show today.

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The Mini Cooper Convertible follows the launch last year of the second-generation Mini hardtop and Clubman models, and hopes to beat the 164,000 strong sales figure set by the original Mini Cooper Convertible.

Apart from the fun of having a folding top, Mini boasts of several unique improvements for the new Mini Cooper Convertible, including a timer that keeps track of how much time they’ve spent driving with the top down. The car’s one-piece rollover bar behind the rear seats now sits in retracted position, improving sightlines for the driver; the rollover bar automatically deploys into extended position only if needed.

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The new Mini Cooper Convertible’s boot opening now is larger and the backs for the rear seats can be folded down individually, all amounting to increased cargo volume. A new yellow color was developed solely for the Mini Cooper Convertible.

Engine choices for the Mini Cooper Convertible mirror those of the hardtop car. A normally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder that produces 88kW or a turbocharged version of the 1.6-litre for the Mini Cooper S Convertible that generates 128kW.

“The new Mini Convertible proves that the Mini brand is well and thriving, even as it turns 50 (years old),” said Robertson. Being one of the few brands to increase sales in 2008, he also said, “Mini’s proven that small cars can also be premium.”

Robertson said Mini sold 54,000 cars in the U.S. in 2008 – a 28 per cent gain – and retailed some 232,000 Minis worldwide last year.