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Mini Convertible latest (2009)

Published: 25 January 2008

The new Mini cabriolet isn’t due until 2009, but CAR has spotted it out on test again – and this time the disguise is much thinner.

It’s not exactly a surprise new model, but Mini has still remained keen to shroud the drop-top's development in secrecy. With the cladding at a minimum, apart from some disguise at the rear, the Mini Convertible looks better resolved than the current car.

The new model is slightly longer, neatly hiding the higher, more pedestrian-friendly front end. That length means the cabin will be a bit less cramped, too. The defining test, though, will be when the roof is dropped. The folded pram-style hood on the Mk1 model is something other cars just wouldn’t get away with – although this hasn’t exactly dented the sales figures (this was the second-best selling soft-top in the UK in 2007). Although simplified, the new hood doesn't look much different from today's car.

The current cabriolet has only been with us since 2004, but is based on BMW’s first Mini – making the mechanicals seven-year-old.  The new model will bring the open version in line with the updated hatchback range that’s been with us over a year.

Click 'Next' to read the mechanical lowdown on the new Mini cab

The big news here is new engines, more specifically the BMW-PSA developed units that replaced the Chrysler-sourced motors of old. The options are:

  • One – 1.4 95bhp/103 lb ft
  • Cooper – 1.6 120bhp/118 lb ft
  • Cooper S – 1.6 175bhp/177 lb ft 
  • Cooper D – 1.6 110bhp/177 lb ft

 

The diesel boasts Prius-rivalling emissions (just 104g/km of CO2), helped along by the BMW Efficient Dynamics package. The engines are slightly tweaked and there’s some stop/start technology to make journeys as efficient as possible. It’s a much less compromising attempt at saving the world, and if you don’t need the practicality, the Mini makes more sense than the Toyota hybrid.

That sneaky little logo by the side indicator, however, shows us this is the less ice cap-friendly turbocharged Cooper S version out testing. Both Cooper models will have the option of stiffened sports suspension to tighten up the already great handling.

Price-wise, expect a rise comparable to the Mk2 hatchback's.  That means around 10 percent more; relatively steep on a car that most passers-by won’t register as new. It means the new range should just scrape under the £15k mark at the late 2009 launch.

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