Individual style, innovative technology and the high standards of quality set by the world’s first maker of premium small cars form the basis for the worldwide popularity of the MINI model range.
And now the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2012 in Detroit is set to host the beginning of another new chapter in the brand’s global success story. The NAIAS 2012 is the venue for the world premiere of the MINI Roadster. The first open-top two-seater in the MINI model range provides a spontaneous, unadulterated recipe for urban driving fun.
A contemporary take on the compact, open-top sports car concept, the MINI Roadster boasts advanced drive and chassis technology, and a classical, manually operated soft-top roof which can be opened and closed quickly and easily.
The design and technology of the MINI Roadster are geared squarely to laying on open-top driving fun for two. With its inspiring agility and cutting-edge efficiency, expressive design and remarkable practicality, the youngest MINI representative gives the brand’s traditional qualities a fresh new twist. All of which will see the MINI Roadster unveiled at the NAIAS on 14 – 22 January 2012 welcomed not only as an attractive addition to the current model range, but also as the world’s first premium model of its kind in the small car segment.
The market launch of the MINI Roadster adds a sixth model to the MINI family, and the increased variety in its ranks presents MINI with additional ways of winning over new target groups for the brand and its products. Ten years after the introduction of the MINI to the US market, the British brand has established itself as a byword for infectious driving fun within compact dimensions and earned itself a growing community of fans. The US has been the most important single market worldwide for MINI cars for several years now; the brand has not only added consistently to its model range over recent years, it has also steadily increased the number of MINI dealers in the USA. The result has been a succession of new sales records.
The MINI Roadster: two seats, unlimited driving fun.
The MINI Roadster embodies a sporty driving experience of enviable purity and spontaneous open-top fun for two. The latest model to join the MINI line-up treats the small car segment to another refreshing shot of innovation. Smile-inducing agility, compact dimensions and low fuel consumption endow the new model with an exceptional skill-set for the challenge of urban mobility. Added to which, its variable-use luggage area gives the driver extra freedom when it comes to carrying sports gear or setting out on trips for two.
The body design of the two-seater MINI sees the hallmark design language of the brand’s cars repackaged within the proportions of a compact roadster. Parallel lines, athletically taut surfaces and harmonious curves combine with a distinctive, low-slung silhouette to give the MINI Roadster an elegantly stretched figure. Time-honoured MINI characteristics, such as its large circular headlights, hexagonal radiator grille, side indicator surrounds and vertically stacked rear lights, flag up the brand identity of the new car. However, the Roadster also adds some distinguishing features of its own to the mix, including a strikingly stepped boot extending from behind the passenger compartment and a heavily raked windscreen.
Stylistically, the robust soft-top roof of the MINI Roadster follows in the classic British roadster tradition. When opened, it folds down flat behind the seats, keeping the car’s elegantly sweeping lines intact. This layout encompasses a clear visual separation of the car’s boot (capacity: 240 litres) from the passenger compartment, while a wide through-loading system behind the seats enhances practicality. Plus, the high-opening tailgate and low boot sill makes it that much easier to load up items of luggage.
Together with the reinforced windscreen frame, two stainless steel roll-over bars provide optimised occupant protection in the event of the car turning over. The safety equipment on board the new MINI Roadster also includes front airbags and head-thorax airbags integrated into the outer sides of the seat backrests, three-point inertia-reel seatbelts including belt force limiters and belt tensioners, and a Tyre Defect Indicator.
The MINI Roadster will be available with a choice of three powerful and efficient petrol engines when it is launched in the US market. The model line-up will range from the MINI Cooper Roadster (121 hp) via the MINI Cooper S Roadster (181 hp) to the sharpest performer of all, the MINI John Cooper Works Roadster, whose powerplant develops 208 hp. State-of-the-art technology ensures that all the model variants produce a combination of zesty power development and exceptional fuel economy. In customary MINI style, the Roadster channels the engine’s power through to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Alternatively, the MINI Cooper Roadster and MINI Cooper S Roadster can also be specified with a six-speed automatic as an option.
A quality of chassis technology unparalleled in the small car segment, including Electric Power Steering and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), combines with the torsionally rigid body (complete with special strengthening elements) and the car’s lower centre of gravity to deliver addictive agility and unbeatable active and passive safety. The aerodynamic balance of the MINI Roadster is optimised by an active rear spoiler, which extends automatically when the car reaches 80 km/h (50 mph).
The wealth of standard equipment can be complemented by a selection of high-quality extras, the typically MINI variety in the range of optional equipment and accessories, giving owners the best possible tools to adapt their cars precisely to their personal style.
Variety breeds success: the MINI model range for 2012.
The popularity of the MINI brand is based on an unmistakable product range which engenders a strong affinity between MINI fans and their cars. The model range captures the imagination of contemporary target groups who are not only looking for high standards of quality and technology in their choice of compact car, but also want to express their own individual style. The expansion of the MINI family to include six models allows the brand’s hallmark expressive design, agile handling and premium quality to be combined with the specific qualities of various vehicle characters. The traditional MINI concept has now been expanded beyond the MINI, MINI Convertible and MINI Clubman to include the MINI Countryman, which was conceived purposefully to meet the requirements of additional target groups. The first MINI to come with four doors, a large tailgate and, if desired, ALL4 all-wheel drive, has given the brand’s growth an extra boost in the USA, as elsewhere. And over recent months, another model devoted to the provision of sporty driving fun – the MINI Coupé – has built on this momentum. Now the Coupé is set to be joined by another two-seater, in the form of the MINI Roadster.
Whatever the type of MINI, a range of engine variants and a package of equipment compiled according to the customer’s requirements ensure that all MINI drivers can look forward to a car that fits the image in their mind’s eye as closely as possible. In addition to the extensive range of exterior paint finishes, interior colours, seat variants and comfort-enhancing equipment, a host of factory-fit exterior design options, model-specific interior trim elements and Colour Lines give customers all they need to configure their car precisely to their personal preferences. An additional opportunity for personalisation is provided by the exceptionally rich selection of accessories. This far-reaching potential for individualisation is another of those special features that shapes the character of the MINI brand. The scope for customers to tailor their car to their own specifications is also attracting increased interest in the US market, as word spreads that every MINI can be enjoyed not only as a byword for driving fun, but also the expression of personal freedom and individuality.
The annual North American International Auto Show is one of the world’s most important car shows. As the traditional curtain-raiser to the year, it will point the way for the entire automotive industry once again in 2012. Over 150 exhibitors from every corner of the earth will come together in Detroit’s Cobo Center to present new models and other product innovations. The organisers are expecting more than 5,000 media representatives from around the world to attend the event, along with some 750,000 members of the public.