Mini Roadster Concept to Join New Coupe in 2011 Lineup
As expected, Mini displayed a slick new "concept" Roadster in Frankfurt along side of its previously-revealed "concept" Coupe. However, both of these rakish additions to the existing Mini lineup have apparently been green-lighted for full production status in 2011. While the Roadster embodies a good many of the engineering and design tweaks previously seen in the prototype Coupe, it swaps that vehicle's low-rise hard top for a lightweight manually-operated canvas convertible counterpart that folds back into a stow bay just aft of the rear seat bulkhead. These two nascent Mini's share a common trunk panel stamping and the same 8.8-cubic foot cargo capacity. However, the lid itself is hinged in a conventional manner on the Roadster but employs a bottom pivot configuration on the Coupe.
Another considerably more significant variation between the two two-seaters can be seen in their running gear. Where the Coupe is based on the hard-core John Cooper Works powertrain and suspension bits, the Roadster -- at least this concept example -- is spun from the less-intense but still quite engaging Cooper S mechanicals that have it fitted with a 172-horsepower version of the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and more compliant chassis tuning. The two concepts also feature their own individual color schemes, with the Roadster being finished in white with gold racing stripes. Although it's I likely that some details will change as the cars transition to volume-build status, it's safe to assume that most of what you see here will also be part of the final formula. No word on pricing, although the $3,000 differential between a current Cooper S hatch and convertible models seems likely to carry over when these two new variations on the theme finally do arrive here.