More convertible tom-foolery

Following the earlier story about the European launch of the MINI Convertible comes this viral video of the roofless MINI being taken through a car wash. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to do this. I need wonder no more.

More on this can be seen at the MINI United website.

Source: MotoringFile


MINI keeps motoring journalists in the cold

MINI r57 Convertible launched in snowy conditions

In true MINI fashion, the European media launch of their new convertible recently took place in the Austrian alps. Of course! After all, it is a perfect location for a roof down soirée! I admit -6°C temperatures would present a challenge to MINI’s “Always open” idiom, but I’d like to think I’d give it a go.

Newly launched website did just that, and was there to file a report. Of particular interest is how the new generation compared to the previous MINI convertible…

“Having previously driven, reviewed, and even lived with both the second generation MINI Cooper S and the previous generation of MINI Convertible, the questions we really wanted answered were how well had MINI spliced these two cars together to produce a better, more complete MINI Convertible. How was the handling? How much did the new pop-up rear roll-over bar improve visibility? How much improved was the new hood? And for how long could we keep the roof down in the challenging, chilly environment.

On just about every account, the MINI acquitted itself admirably. The only yardstick of any true value had to be the first generation MINI Convertible, which although a real pleasure to drive, did have several shortcomings that were all too obvious for owners, as well as casual observers and reviewers, if entirely forgivable for any fan.”

Follow the link below for the full story.

Source: theSwitchback


The new MINI Cabrio

R57 MINI Cooper S Cabrio

This is the new MINI Cabrio. Shown here in 128kW turbo Cooper S guise, the roofless MINI will strike a fashionable pose at your favourite café—if you’re into that sort of thing.

The R57 Cabrio will reach Australian shores in the second quarter of 2009. It features a completely redesigned rollover hoop system, and the slightly awkward rear hinges from the old model have been deleted, resulting in a cleaner design for the hatch compartment. In the unlikely event that you do decide to roll your new MINI Cabrio, the rollbars will activate in a mere 150 milliseconds. Providing you protection when you need it, and staying out of your vision when you don’t. Neat, huh.

The automatic soft top roof opens in 15 seconds and can be activated at speeds up to 30km/h. Other features include standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) across the range, hands-free Bluetooth  phone capability (including iPhone), MP3 player compatibility and, oddly enough, an automatic air conditioning system that adjusts accordingly even when your roof is down.

In an ever so MINI way, there is also an optional Always-Open Timer that sits next to the tachometer on the steering column. This little dial keep tally of the number of hours your MINI Cabrio’s roof has been down. Fair enough, I suppose.

More images and words after the jump.


MotoringFile lifts the lid on 2009 MINI convertible

R57 MINI Convertible

Leading MINI website MotoringFile has revealed the first images of the new R57 MINI Convertible. Most styling cues are as to be expected with the removal of the rear bootlid hinges and rollover bars—replaced with a pop-up system—being the most obvious exterior changes. MotoringFile also reports that a John Cooper Works version of the convertible will be available from launch.

Check out MotoringFile for more.


First generation MINI Cabrio ceases production

R52 MINI Cabriolet Cooper S Sidewalk

Even though the R56 MINI has been on sale for some time, the R52 Cabriolet models currently on sale were still based on the first gen MINI platform. In readiness for the all new R57 model, Cabrio production has come to a temporary close after 164,000 R52s rolled off the line at MINI’s Plant Oxford. The MINI Cooper Cabrio accounted for 79,500 of the total sales with the MINI Cooper S Cabrio (and John Cooper Works versions) selling around 56,500 units. The remaining 28,000 were MINI One Cabrio models, not sold in Australia. The very last R52 Cabrio rolled off the line last week. It was a MINI Cooper S Cabrio Sidewalk finished in metallic White Silver, sold to a keen MINI fan from the USA.

News of the last R52 Cabrio came just days before MINI announced its one millionth MINI for export. Oliver Zipse, Managing Director MINI Plant Oxford said, “Export is a key factor for the success and stability of our MINI Plant in Oxford. Since MINI was launched we have seen a significant increase in export from less than 60 per cent in 2001 to over 80 per cent this year. The high customer demand in almost 80 countries around the world, from Chile to China, has driven MINI’s success over the last seven years.”