Our spies have filmed the new Mini Roadster on test at the Nurburgring in Germany. It's not long until we see the Mini Coupe and Roadster concepts make the leap from the motor show to the showroom - the tin-top Coupe comes first and is expected to be launched in autumn 2011, while the Mini Roadster should be seen this year but won't go on sale until 2013.
The soft-top Roadster's stubby rear end and fabric folding roof spell the end of the Mini's risible rear seats; this is a strict two-seater.While the Mini Cabriolet's hood folds up like a knackered pram sunshade on top of the rear panel, the Roadster's roof will disappear from view.
If you're wondering why the Mini Roadster and Coupe look so like the existing hatchback family, that's because they will both be built at Plant Oxford in the UK; sharing as many parts as possible is what will keep the price down and the efficiencies up.
As our spy photos and new scoop video show, the Mini Roadster has barely changed from the 2009 concept car. 'Mini is a very elastic brand,' Marcus Syring, who designed the show vehicles, told CAR. 'The Coupe and Roadster are authentic Minis true to our core values. Every Mini must steer like a go-kart and be one of the three best handling cars in class. It must be one of the smallest cars in its sector. And it must possess a unique Mini design you'll recognise at first glance. Both cars meet our criteria.'