Have you had enough variations on the same basic Mini Cooper yet? Well too bad, because the two-seat Roadster has just gone public. On the plus side, these new models continue to grow easier to explain, considering the many commonalities. Like all the other Coopers, this one offers a variety of 1.6-liter engines, a base one without a turbo that makes 121 hp, a turbocharged S model making 181 hp, and a John Cooper Works version that turns it up to 208 hp, enough to deliver a 6.3-second 0-60 mph time.
From there, you could either describe the Roadster as a Mini Convertible with a smaller top and a trunk where the back seat should be, or you could call it a Mini Coupe with a retractable soft top. The latter is probably the more appropriate description because, like the new Coupe, the Roadster actually has a front end that’s slightly more raked and some internal stiffening that’s more extreme than that of the Convertible.
Also like the Coupe, this new model has a pass-through between the seats for fitting long, narrow things like snowboards in the tiny trunk. It also has the same power-activated spoiler at the rear, which is tasked with keeping the car stable at speeds above 50 mph.
Then there are the things that make the Roadster unique, which mostly just involve things from the waist up. There’s a set of roll-over hoops behind the two seats, while the top itself mirrors the Coupe’s helmet head but looks, in our opinion, much better. Plus, it goes up and down. It does so manually, so making a claim about how fast it can be done really just depends on the operator’s arm strength. Price and on-sale date haven’t been mentioned, but we’d predict “within the next six months” and “a little more than the coupe” as the answers to those questions.