2012 Mini Roadster
2012 Mini Roadster. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe
DBDR: 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe
First Drive: 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe

Manufacturer’s web site
Mini Canada

Review and photos by James Bergeron

Photo Gallery:
2012 Mini Roadster

Toronto, Ontario — Mini is now celebrating their largest vehicle lineup in history and in 2012 they have a lot to be excited about, including their 10th anniversary. Mini is coming off a growth of 15 percent last year and the momentum has not stopped with the growth of the brand continuing into early 2012 at a rate of over 30 percent through April.

Last year marked the introduction of Countryman and the Mini Coupe, with the Countryman driving sales and much of Mini’s growth over the past year. The Coupe — the only car available with a standard hat — came late in 2011, to be greeted with much criticism for not being a convertible, but here we are a few months later and we welcome its brother, the Mini Roadster, to the lineup.

2012 Mini Roadster
2012 Mini Roadster
2012 Mini Roadster; top photo courtesy Mini. Click image to enlarge

Minis have traditionally been a two-box design — a box for the engine and a box for the people and their cargo. The Coupe and the new Roadster diverge from the traditional design by using a three-box design (engine, passenger, cargo).

The 2012 Mini Roadster is available in the three traditional Mini trims: Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works (JCW) and has a starting MSRP of $28,900 (Cooper), $32,900 (S) and $39,900 (JCW). Like the Coupe, the Roadster is a two-seat vehicle with a surprisingly good amount of cargo space — 280 L for the Coupe and 240 L for the Roadster. This compares favourably to Mini’s only direct competitor: the Mazda MX-5 with just 150L of cargo space.

The Roadsters are powered by a 1.6L engine. The Cooper version puts out 121 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque, the Cooper S uses turbocharging to up the power to 181 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque while the JCW version increases the boost and power even further, offering 208 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. All Roadster variants are available with both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. The JCW automatic transmission will be a late arrival.

The Roadster comes in soft-top variety only, which saves both space and cost and comes standard as a manual top, with a power-operated top available for an additional $750. The top is simple to use; to lower just twist the handle and drop it down, and reverse the process to raise it. Mini predicts the take-rate on power tops will be close to 75 percent, but if it was my $750, I would spend it on other accessories as it really is easy to operate manually.

Connect with Autos.ca