This is the new Mini Roadster - a second convertible for those who find the Mini Convertible a bit too pedestrian.
The new Mini Roadster is based on the Coupe, meaning a different rear deck and - with the roof folded - no more pram-like hood antics stacked on top of the boot. The rear end is pleasingly flush.
Mini Roadster (2012): in detail
The new Roadster is the first production two-seat open-top Mini in history. It'll be built in the UK at Plant Oxford, with sales here kicking off in spring 2012 from £18,015 for a Cooper Roadster, climbing to £24,850 for a John Cooper Works Roadster.
In between those two extremes, you can pick a Cooper S or Cooper SD. Given time, we'd expect a One and Cooper D to join the ranks.
Tell me about the hood!
That roof is fabric - no bulky folding hard tops here - leaving a 240-litre boot. The Roadster is unashamedly based on the Mini Coupe, stretching out to 3734mm long. While other markets are taking a manual roof, the UK is only taking the 'semi-automatic' hood which requires a manual unlock and then flops back electrically.
Its footprint may copy that of the 'four-seat' Mini Convertible, but the Roadster sits 20mm lower to the tarmac. And that windscreen is angled 13deg faster than the existing soft-top. More sporty, ja?
So is the Mini Roadster a realistic MX-5 rival?
Conceivably, yes. We already know and, mostly, love the Mini's front-wheel drive chassis. You can spec your Roadster with a choice of engines familiar from elsewhere in Minidom. Power ranges from 120bhp in the Cooper to 208bhp in the JCW.
Similarly, pick between 118g/km emissions on the diesel or 169 on the more profligate petrol turbo.
All other regular Mini characteristics are intact. Stop-start is standard, the cabin is stock Mini and the Coupe's pop-up spoiler will block out Plod from 50mph.
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