Mini has just issued the first photos of the new R57 Mini Convertible, which rolls into dealerships in March 2009 and follows the lead set by the latest hatchback. So it's cleaner, a little bit more polished inside and out, and there will probably be evidence of some middle-aged spread when we drive it in 2009.
So what's new on the R57 Mini Convertible?
All the changes are in line with the Mini hatch, so you get the latest PSA-shared 1.6 petrol engines, BMW group Efficient Dynamics – now redubbed Minimalism in Minispeak – stop-start and intelligent alternator control, helping to contribute to a 22% jump in fuel efficiency, Mini claims. The 1.6 Cooper pumps out 137g/km of CO2. Mini admits there could be a diesel rag-top this time, too.
There's also a new, hidden roll-bar – it pops up during a rollover, leaving a much cleaner profile when the roof is stowed (it takes just 15 seconds, by the way). And there's more space in the boot with the roof closed – 170 litres, up five on the previous iteration.
What about factory closures?
Like the other manufacturers, October was a bad month for Mini. Sales were down 40% – and Oxford has announced that its Christmas factory closure will be extended from two weeks to a full month.
Prices for the Cooper Convertible will start at £15,995, the Cooper S at £18,995. We'll see the car in the metal in January at the Detroit auto show.