Different versions of the press kits name it differently, in some markets its called the MINI Convertible and in some markets the MINI Cabrio, but it is essentially the same thing – a drop top MINI for the MINI enthusiast to enjoy open air motoring.
The first gen Convertible is finally replaced with this new model powered by the new BMW-PSA Prince engine. The Cooper Convertible gets the 1.6 litre normally aspirated Valvetronic engine with 120hp at 6,000rpm (118hp in the US) and 160Nm of torque at 4,250rpm (155Nm in the US) while the Cooper S Convertible gets a turbocharged direct injected version (no Valvetronic) producing 175hp (172hp in the US) at 5,500rpm and 240Nm of torque from 1,600rpm to 5,000rpm, with an optional overboost to 260Nm.
Compared to the previous generation, boot space is now 125 litres which is larger by 5 litres with the roof open, 170 litres (an increase of 5 litres) with the roof closed and 660 litres (up by 55 litres) with the rear backrest folded down. You access the boot via opening a deck lid that is hinged at the bottom and swings down to also create a loading platform which you can also sit on.
The soft top can open and close in just 15 seconds at driving speeds of up to 30km/h, and can also be activated from the remote control. The driver can also open the top only half way by about 16 inches if he wants, allowing semi-open top motoring. This works at speed of up to 120km/h. If you opt for the automatic climate control option, the car’s climate control will feature a new mode that activates automatically when the roof is down, which takes into account the influence of wind when the roof is opened.
A new rollover bar automatically activates in the event of a rollover. This safety bar is designed to allow for optimum visibility to the rear and sides of the vehicle.
MINI actually encourages you to drive with the top down, otherwise it would be quite pointless of you to buy a convertible wouldn’t it? They do this via the “Openometer” (or Always-Open Timer in other markets), an extra gauge located next to the rev counter which shows how much time you drive with the top down.
This gauge is activated once the driver starts the engine of the MINI Convertible and the soft top is fully open. An analog indicator moves on a scale from 0 to 60 and counts the time spent driving in the open air in minutes. After one hour, the indicator moves back to 0 and the first LED light on a six-light scale will come on. This means a maximum of 6 hours and 59 minutes when it comes to counting. It’s just a gimmick really but a way to make the open top experience a little more interesting.
The car’s standard wheels are 16 inchers wrapped with 195/55R16 run-flat tyres but optional are larger 17 inch versions with a design called Black Star Bullet, which is exclusive to the MINI Convertible.
Look after the jump for a high-res gallery and a video of the new MINI Convertible/MINI Cabrio.
VIDEO: 2009 MINI Cabriolet
PHOTO GALLERY: New MINI Cabriolet
Click thumbnails to view high resolution photo
[zenphotopress number=99 album=1]