Image credits: © MINI.

MSRP: $18,050-25,400
Invoice: $16,245-22,850

The MINI Cooper Convertible and MINI Cooper S Convertible: Genuine MINI

The MINI Cooper Convertible and MINI Cooper S Convertible bring the fun of open to motoring to the MINI brand. The authentic four-passenger convertibles have been engineered from the ground up to be fun-to-drive cars while offering a high level of safety and practicality.

The design of the MINI Convertible does not compromise appearance, functionality and engineering, and remains honest to the MINI concept of go-kart-like performance wîth a recognizable 'MINI' appearance from every angle.

Popular option groups like the MINI Convertible Sidewalk package and John Cooper Works kit remain for 2008. The Sidewalk package offers an exclusive look, featuring special light-alloy wheels, an attractive interior surface trim and leather upholstery developed specifically for the package. In addition, the package offers English leather sport seats in malt brown and Sidewalk interior surfaces and graphics. And the §teering wheel comes wrapped in special Sidewalk sport leather.

The John Cooper Works kit remains a factory installed option for the MINI Cooper S Convertible. This performance-oriented option includes the engine-performance kit, limited-slip differential and the John Cooper Works brake kit.

Cool Convertible Concept

Following the concept Alec Issigonis used as his blueprint for the first generation Mini in 1959, the MINI Convertible utilizes its compact exterior dimensions while making optimum use of its surprisingly spacious four-passenger interior. And the stiff body/chassis package, combined wîth its sport tuned suspension, gives the MINI Convertible superior handling and agility.

The MINI Convertible is packed wîth sophisticated technology reinforcing MINI's premium positioning within its market §egmènt, most notably the fully automatic roof wîth a truly unique integrated sliding sunroof function and the expandable easy loading system to maximize accessibility to the rear cargo area. Other technology includes multi-arm rear suspension, runflat tires wîth a tire monitoring system and an available navigation system.

The MINI Convertible Roof – Two Ways to Enjoy Open Motoring

The MINI Convertible comes on the scene wîth a unique offering in the convertible market – an automatic convertible roof wîth an integrated power sunroof. The sliding sunroof on the MINI Convertible is designed wîth a rigid panel under the first section of the canvas. When the top button is first pressed, the section slides back along the top rails to create a16-inch opening overhead. The sliding sunroof can be operated while the vehicle is in motion up to speeds of 75 miles per hour, offering open-air motoring while on the go.

In its standard mode, the MINI Convertible's roof goes from closed to open in just over 15 seconds. The roof operates at the touch of a button and does not require the manual release of any latches. Powered by an electro-hydraulic system, the top's frame mechanism automatically unlatches and retracts. The four side windows lower automatically as the soft top folds neatly to the rear.

The ingenious and compact 'z'-shaped folding mechanism lets the roof fold compactly to store behind the rear seats. Also, there is no need for a tonneau cover when the top is folded because the front section of the roof provides protection when the soft top is down.

The top operation can also be controlled by ingenious features built into the remote locking system. The key-operated remote locking system not only operates the doors, trunk and fuel door, but can open the roof and side windows from a distance of up to 50 feet.

The first press of the unlock button on the key fob unlocks the driver door. When the button is pressed and released a second time, the passenger door, fuel filler flap and rear boot lid all unlock. If the button is pressed the second time and held, all four windows lower and the sunroof opens up. Lastly, if the key fob button is released, then pressed and held for the third time, the convertible top will fully retract – all this can be done without opening a door.

The top can also be fully closed from outside the car. By inserting the key into the driver's door lock, turning and then holding it in the locked position, the top will raise and fully latch, all four windows will close simultaneously and the doors and rear boot will automatically lock.

To top it off, the MINI Convertible top comes standard wîth a heated glass rear window helping to maintain a clear view even in inclement weather. The top comes in three colors, blue, black and green.

Room to Haul

Another unique feature of the MINI Convertible top is the easy load system. This feature allows the car to swallow up cargo through the rear boot in a very ingenious way: With the top up, the lower rear edge of the top can be unlatched from inside the cargo area. This allows the rear edge to swing up 35 degrees to increase the size of the rear opening (since the 'normal' trunk lid opens by dropping down thanks to bottom-mounted hinges), easily allowing large items to pass into the cargo area. Due to the MINI Convertible's very rigid body structure, there is no need for a cross member at the top of the rear boot opening, nor a need for a rear bulkhead behind the rear seats. This allows for 50/50 split rear folding seats that can easily accommodate large or awkward sized items.

With the top in the up position, trunk capacity is 5.8 cubic feet, and even wîth the top down, the trunk provides 4.2 cubic feet of luggage space. With the rear seats folded down, cargo capacity is increased to a remarkable 21.3 cubic feet. Maximum load capacity is 771 pounds. While the top is down, the rear seatbacks are lockable in their upright position, so luggage in the trunk is protected from theft.

A rear parcel shelf is provided for safety and security. With the top lowered, the rear parcel shelf acts as a shield for the rear glass window to protect it from possible damage by cargo in the trunk. The top has a safety feature whereby it will not lower unless the rear parcel shelf is properly installed.

With the top in the up position, the parcel shelf visually secures the rear cargo area so valuables can be stowed out of sight. The cargo shelf can be easily taken out when maximum cargo space is needed.

Taken from classic Mini design, the Convertible has externally mounted hinges on the rear trunk lid that is designed to swing down to open. These signature MINI hinges are further accentuated wîth the optional exterior chrome trim package. When open, the trunk lid is held in position by two supports, creating a practical loading platform capable of carrying up to 175 pounds – making the open bootlid a perfect place to hold a cooler or snacks when tailgating.

An added benefit of the boot lid opening downward is that it offers easier visibility and access to the rear cargo area without the need to bend down or duck under the open lid. The MINI Convertible also comes wîth a soft-touch electric latch release located in the trunk handle.

• EXTERIOR:

Always a MINI, Top Úp or Down

The MINI Convertible design combines sporty muscular styling wîth the functionality of a true four-seater, and yet looks like a MINI, top up or down. When closed, the roof of the MINI Convertible is slightly lower than the roof of the MINI hardtop; however the car still retains the signature MINI upright silhouette.

Due to the rigid structure of the car's body, the MINI Convertible does not require a protruding B-pillar or a 'basket handle' structure behind the doors. Additionally, the windshield is at an upright angle, providing more open space overhead. These design elements lend a feeling of spaciousness when the top is open and underscore that the MINI Convertible is a true open-top car.

British Bulldog

Vital Stats
Engine : 1.6 L., 4-cylinder
Power: 118 hp
Torque: 110 ft-lbs

Engine : 1.6 L., 4-cylinder
Power: 172 hp
Torque: 177 ft-lbs

Like all MINI Coopers, the MINI Convertible's most recognizable aspect is its face. The MINI Cooper Convertible sports distinctively designed front bumper, headlights and front grille. The smoothly sculpted front bumper comes wîth chrome accents, which, along wîth integrated fog lamps, add a look of elegance, all while retaining MINI's signature bulldog look.

The MINI Cooper S Convertible continues to be distinguished by the design cues which underscore the performance provided by both what's in the engine compartment and the engineering of the chassis. The air intake scoop on the hood provides a muscular appearance as well as feeding fresh air to the supercharged engine's intercooler. The intercooler sits below a slight bulge in the hood, which is 1.6-inches higher than the standard hood. The MINI Cooper S Convertible also features body-color bumpers and three-slat grille, front and black, honeycomb lattice integrated into the lower valences.

The design of the front headlights provide enhanced illumination while adding a striking design element to the Convertible. The light produced by the halogen lamps is deflected through a reflector system which helps increase light efficiency. The MINI Convertibles also feature 'Pathway Lighting,' a standard safety and convenience feature. When activated, this feature allows the headlights to remain lit for 30 seconds after the driver has left the vehicle. Optional Xenon headlights wîth automatic leveling make the transition from bright light to darkness more gradual.

Rear Quarters


The Convertible's short rear overhang is integrated wîth the curves of the quarter panels and black rear-wheel arches, thus providing a sporting character for the car when viewed from a rear angle. The back-up lights are incorporated into the taillight design which feature clear covers. A black honeycomb trim insert between the two chrome strips on the rear bumper is reserved for the optional rear accessory fog lamp.

With the top fully lowered and stowed snuggly behind the rear seats, the Convertible takes on the look of a muscular sports car. The standard high-strength aluminum roll bars are visible just above the rear seats, adding to the car's 'street racer' appearance. The roll bars feature integrated rear headrests.

The MINI Cooper S Convertible comes standard wîth the roll bars trimmed in chrome and a set of centrally located, twin chrome-plated tailpipes integrated into the rear bumper. Speaking of chrome, the optional exterior chrome trim package adds chrome to the mirror caps, rear boot lid hinges and handle along wîth chrome trim strips in the front and rear bumpers. On the MINI Cooper Convertible the roll bars are trimmed in chrome as part of the package.

All MINI Convertibles come standard wîth PDC – Park Distance Control for added safety and convenience. The PDC sensors located in the rear bumper measure the distance from the rear of the car to other objects such as a building or another parked car. As the driver backs closer to these objects, the system will sound an alert inside the car that beeps more rapidly as the car gets closer to the object. The tone becomes constant at a threshold prior to the rear bumper making contact wîth the object. This feature makes the already easy-to-maneuver MINI Convertible even easier to park in tight confines.

Windows to the World

Like all MINI models, the MINI Convertibles feature frameless power windows. The convertible models are also equipped wîth a one-button express operation of all four windows. With the touch of a button located at the top of the windshield, all four windows can be raised or lowered simultaneously, making quick work of opening up the car to the elements. To ensure a tight, moisture-free seal, each side-door window lowers slightly when the door is opened, and then rises again when the door is shut. And as expected, all windows are tinted to minimize glare.

MINI Colors

The MINI Convertibles are available in 10 exterior colors. The Convertible's side-view mirrors come in body color. With the three colors of the convertible top – black, blue and green – there are quite a number of choices for customers to personalize the color combination of their MINI Convertible.

Hot Wheels

The MINI Cooper Convertible comes standard wîth 15-inch light alloy wheels wîth a 'Five-Star Rocket' design, mounted wîth standard, 175/65 R15 all-season tires. The MINI Cooper Convertible can be equipped wîth optional 16' 'Bridge Spoke' or '5-Star Blast' light-alloy wheels mounted wîth 195/55 R16 run-flat performance tires either as a stand-alone option or as part of the Sport package.

The MINI Cooper S Convertible comes standard wîth 16-inch' V Spoke' Spoke design light-alloy wheels mounted wîth 195/55 R16 run-flat tires. Optional sport wheels and tires for the MINI Cooper S Convertible include a set of 17-inch 'Five-Spoke Bullet' or 17-inch 'Web-Spoke' light-alloy wheels wîth 205/45 R17 run-flat tires. A further option is a 17-inch 'Crown-Spoke' wheel mounted wîth either performance or all-season tires.

When the Sport package is ordered on the Cooper S Convertible, the 17-inch 'Five-Spoke Bullet' wheels wîth performance tires come standard. However, customers have additional choices within the Sport package: one can choose the 17-inch 'Crown Spoke' wheels wîth all-season tires or the 17-inch 'Web-Spoke' wheels wîth performance tires for only $500 more.

• INTERIOR:

A Sporty Cockpit

The interior of the MINI Convertible and the MINI Cooper S Convertible have received the same attention to detail as the exterior. The highest-grade fabrics and surfaces complement the Convertible's sporting characteristics.

The MINI Convertibles offer multiple interior colors including the exclusive water-resistant Sunrise Laser Blue upholstery – a perfect material for a car which will likely spend most of the time wîth its top down. There are eight different upholstery choices for the MINI Cooper Convertible and seven different for the MINI Cooper S Convertible. Other upholstery materials include cloth, leather and leatherette.

The dashboard and door-panel inserts are available in silver, anthracite and aluminum-style trim. Body colored interior trim – dashboard and door panels – is also available to match select exterior colors – five colors in the Cooper S and four colors in the Cooper. The door panels have a contoured handle, and at night the interior door handles are back lit for ease of locating them in the dark. There is also a courtesy light mounted on the bottom of the doors to illuminate the ground upon entering or exiting the car at night.

In addition to housing the overhead courtesy light, map lights and buttons for the fully automatic top, the overhead console also houses pinpoint lights. These amber diodes are illuminated when the headlights are switched on and cascade an unobtrusive ambient light over the center console to aid in easily locating switch gear or items in the console without the need to turn on the interior lights.

The large speedometer at the center of the dashboard is reminiscent of the Classic Mini and continues on the MINI Convertibles. In addition to a speed read-out, the center gauge cluster incorporates warning lights, coolant and fuel level indicators, and service-interval and tire monitoring system indicators.

In true sports car fashion, the tachometer is located directly in front of the driver on the §teering column. If the car is equipped wîth the optional navigational system, the screen is located in the center gauge cluster and the speedometer is relocated adjacent to the tachometer on the §teering column.

An optional Chrono Gauge Package is available and houses analog readouts for fuel level, coolant temperature, oil pressure and oil temperature. The gauge package is located in the center of the dash and is designed wîth contrasting sized and colored gauges, reminiscent of a fine chronograph watch. This option gauge package also requires the speedometer to be relocated next to the tach.

Adding an elegant touch reminiscent of classic British motorcars is the optional Chrome Line interior trim package which adds chrome around the gauges, air outlets, select dash switches, the parking brake handle and the cup holders.

The three-spoke leather-wrapped §teering wheel, mounted on a height-adjustable column, adds to the sporting feel inside the Convertible. An optional multi-function sports wheel allows the driver to operate cruise control and radio functions without removing his or her hands from the §teering wheel.

Front seat occupants get a supportive seat design wîth manual adjustments for height, fore/aft, rake and head-rest height. Contoured sport seats are available on the MINI Cooper Convertible and come standard on the MINI Cooper S Convertible.

Despite its small overall size, the MINI Convertible offers ample seating for four adults. Access to the rear seats is facilitated by wide-opening doors, as well as manual memory function front seats that move far forward. The rear seats are also ergonomically designed and utilize three-point safety belts.

Standard child-seat mounting latch points are also conveniently located in the rear seating area for the safe installation of one or two child seats.

• SAFETY:

F.I.R.S.T. – Fully Integrated Road Safety Technology

The extremely stiff body of the MINI Convertibles offers occupants a high level of protection when combined wîth the standard safety features. These safety features include intelligent front airbags, seatbelt latch tensioners, belt force limiters, head / thorax side airbags, reinforced A-pillars, door beams and strong roll bars. This technology, in combination wîth a design engineered to manage the absorption of impact energy, offers fully integrated crash protection and occupant safety.

Extra Stiff

The stiff body structure on the Convertible does more than just provide excellent driving and handling characteristics; it is designed to redirect and absorb much of the impact energy away from the passengers and through the body in the event of a collision.

To enhance the already stiff chassis design of the MINI Convertibles, the floor and side sills are specially reinforced. These components are larger and even sturdier in the MINI Convertible, primarily through the use of additional lower B-pillar crossbars and floor pan stiffeners. High strength door beams are also incorporated into the vehicle structure to help reduce intrusion into the passenger compartment during a side impact.

High strength aluminum roll-over hoops behind the rear seats along wîth a reinforced A-pillar- windshield surround helps to protect occupants in the event of a roll-over. Through these additional reinforcements, the Convertible offers a high level of passenger protection while retaining precise and nimble driving dynamics.

In high-force frontal crashes, the MINI Convertible powertrain is engineered to 'break away' and be pushed under the car as the impact forces are absorbed. This design helps channel energy away from the occupants and reduces the likelihood of intrusion into the passenger compartment.

Airbag Protection

The MINI Convertible comes standard wîth four airbags. In addition to the two front-mounted airbags, the MINI Convertibles' two side airbags protect occupants in the event of side impact. These head/thorax airbags are concealed within the Convertible's seat upholstery.

Additionally, the seat belt latch tensioners activate in the event of an impact and tighten the belts to reduce excessive movement of the belted occupants. The front belts fasten to the Convertible's reinforced lower B-pillar; the rear belts attach to the high-strength rear roll bars.

Give Me A Brake

The MINI Cooper Convertible and the MINI Cooper S Convertible feature 10.9-inch disc brakes in the front and 10.2-inch disc brakes in the rear, providing optimum stopping power, wîth standard Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS).

Also standard are two other electronic brake control and stability systems offering excellent directional and driving stability, even in extreme situations. These systems include: Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), which distributes brake forces between front and rear wheels, and, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), which prevents unstable conditions caused by lateral wheel load alterations in cornering situations.

Optional control systems include Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), which, when working in concert wîth the engine management system and braking system, helps keep the vehicle from losing lateral adhesion when pushed to its limits. Working wîth the ABS system, DSC is able to monitor and intervene in critical situations by applying varied brake forces on individual wheels and changing engine torque through the engine management system.

Run-flat Technology

Both the MINI Cooper Convertible and the MINI Cooper S Convertible offer run-flat tire technology. The reinforced sidewalls of the run-flat tires, along wîth heat-resistant rubber compounds help maintain the tire's integrity even wîth a loss of air pressure. This technology helps to keep the deflated tire from completely collapsing or jumping off the rim while keeping frictional heat at a minimum.

The MINI Cooper Convertible comes wîth run-flat tires when the vehicle is equipped wîth the optional 16-inch wheels. The MINI Cooper S Convertible comes standard wîth run-flat tires when the car is equipped wîth either the standard 16-inch wheels or the optional 17-inch wheels. The MINI Convertible can continue for up to 90 miles at speeds up to 50 mph without air pressure in the tires.

As an additional tire safety measure, the MINI Cooper Convertible and the MINI Cooper S Convertible both come standard wîth a tire monitoring system. This system alerts the driver to any potential issue wîth regard to integrity of one or more tires.

When a tire loses pressure, its roll radius and circumference changes, which causes the wheel to rotate at a higher speed. The tire monitoring system uses the ABS sensors to compare the average rotational speed of each wheel in relation to the other wheels. If the average rotational speed of one wheel differs enough to fall out of the rotation average of all wheels – such as in the event of a loss of pressure - the tire monitoring system will alert the driver. The alert comes in the form of an audible chime and an amber blinking indicator light in the gauge cluster.

• POWER TO THE PEOPLE:

Get Your Motor Running

The 1.6 liter four cylinder engines that power the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S hardtops are shared wîth their Convertible counterparts.

The engine block in both models is constructed of sturdy cast iron, which reduces engine noise and vibration. The cylinder head is aluminum, and features four hydraulically compensated valves per cylinder driven by an overhead camshaft wîth roller-type rocker arms.

The engine in the MINI Cooper Convertible provides responsive power and motoring fun. The normally aspirated 1.6-liter unit in the MINI Cooper Convertible generates a maximum output of 115 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and develops maximum torque of 111 pounds-feet at 4,500 rpm.

Convertible 'S' Power

The MINI Cooper S Convertible features a 1.6-liter supercharged power plant. Performance output wîth its low-restriction exhaust and modified gear ratios is 168 hp at 6,000 rpm. This allows the S Convertible to accelerate from zero to 60 in just 7.0 seconds and achieve a top speed of 138 mph.

The additional performance of the MINI Cooper S is the result of the 16-valve unit's mechanically driven supercharger and intercooler. The supercharger compresses the fresh air drawn in by the engine to a pressure of 0.8 bar. Since the air warms up in this compression process, it is then cooled by an intercooler before entering the combustion chambers, thus ensuring a significant increase in engine charge, output, and performance. Driven by a toothed belt, the compressor builds up torque until peaking at 162 lb-ft at a very useable 4,000 rpm.

The additional power produced by the MINI Cooper S results in increased thermal and mechanical loads on the power unit, requiring modification from the standard power plant to components such as the crankshaft, pistons, valves, radiator and engine management.

The MINI Cooper S Convertible has a Getrag six-speed manual transmission wîth performance-enhancing modifications to it gearing. By reducing the ratio of the first, second and third to fifth gears, a sprint from 50 mph to 75 mph in fourth gear takes just 6.1 seconds. The same exercise in fifth gear takes just 7.7 seconds.

Fuel consumption for the MINI Cooper Convertible is 23/32 miles-per-gallon city/highway for a combined fuel economy rating of 27 mpg. The MINI Cooper S Convertible has a ranking of 21/29 mpg city/highway for a combined rating of 25 mpg. The MINI Convertibles exceed government emissions standards and are clean enough to not require a complex exhaust gas recirculation system.

Drive-By-Wire

All MINIs utilize drive-by-wire technology, which converts gas pedal actuation into an electrical signal. This signal, in turn, is transferred to a drivetrain control unit, which ensures maximum performance and minimum emissions under all operating conditions. The system also optimizes torque, which makes the engine extremely responsive to driver inputs.

Automatic for the (Performance-Minded) People

The MINI Cooper S Convertible is offered wîth an optional six-speed automatic transmission including Steptronic mode and Steptronic paddles on the §teering wheel. Únlike the MINI Cooper Continuously Variable Transmission, this new automatic transmission is a conventional gear-type transmission wîth a performance-tuned torque converter and fixed gear ratios which result in quick gear changes and a dynamic driving experience tuned specifically to match the MINI Cooper S's sporty character. This new automatic transmission, is built by Aisin, and features the following gear ratios:

Transmission type AISIN Automatic

Gear ratio 1st / 2nd / 3rd 4,044 / 2,371 / 1,556
Gear ratio 4th / 5th / 6th 1,159 / 0,852 / 0,672
Reverse gear ratio 3,193
Final drive ratio 3.683

The unit also features Adaptive Transmission Control which allows the transmission to adapt to one's driving style. For example, the transmission will build the revs longer between gear changes if it ‘knows' the driver enjoys taking the car to its limits.

Automatic MINI: Continuously Variable Transmission wîth Steptronic

The MINI Cooper Convertible continues to be offered wîth an easy-to-operate continuously variable transmission (CVT), which also contains Steptronic control. Steptronic allows the driver to choose between normal automatic mode, which makes driving in city traffic easier, and a sporty driving mode wîth a six-stepped 'semi-automatic' transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com) While being responsive to drive, the continuously variable transmission is compact and lighter than a conventional automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)

A CVT is different than a conventional automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com) Where conventional systems need a torque converter, the CVT uses an electronically-controlled, oil bath multi-disc coupling. The transmission uses a fixed-length steel drive belt to connect two double cone-shaped belt pulleys which transmit the drive output from the engine, essentially offering infinitely variable transmission ratios.

Limited Slip = Performance Grip

The MINI Cooper S Convertible can be optioned wîth a limited slip differential, a performance feature coveted by motoring enthusiasts. The limited slip differential helps to divert more torque towards the drive wheel wîth better traction, ensuring power is transmitted to the road more effectively. This helps to increase traction under acceleration or during cornering, resulting in improved handling and increased stability.

The unit, manufactured by GKN Driveline, is a torque-sensitive differential that manages torque output under acceleration and offers a 30 percent slip rate. This means, there is no loss of torque if the difference in grip between the two wheels is 30 percent or less. The system also allows the threshold for Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to be increased without impeding the system's safe intervention in slippery situations. The limited slip differential is available wîth the manual 6-speed transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)

Service Interval Indicator

The time between service intervals depends on each individual's driving style. In some cases drivers can travel up to 15,000 miles before the next service is required. The system gathers data on the vehicle's operating conditions, including things such as fuel consumption and average speed. When the system reaches its threshold, a light on the dashboard informs the driver when a service is necessary.

Warranty Coverage

All MINIs come wîth a four-year/50,000 mile new-vehicle warranty, wîth a 12- year/unlimited- mileage corrosion rust-through warranty. Also part of the warranty package is MINI's free three-year/36,000-mile, full- maintenance program which includes MINI's Roadside Assistance Program.

• SÚSPENSION:

Low, Wide and Agile

The precise handling characteristics of MINI Convertibles are a result of having a low center of gravity, a wide track, a stiff body, a multi-arm rear axle wîth anti-roll bars and direct, quick-ratio §teering. The MINI is a direct descendant of the classic Mini's design philosophy, which was the first production vehicle to be engineered wîth a space-saving transverse-mounted power unit driving the front wheels. This design results in a low center of gravity and favorable 60-percent front/40-percent rear weight distribution.

Chassis and Suspension

As expected, the MINI Convertibles exhibit responsive handing due to the chassis design, which places the four wheels as far out to the corners as possible. Úp front, the MINI Convertible features MacPherson-style struts and a firm anti-roll bar. Through the use of an additional axle bearing which allows both axles to be identical in length, the MINI does not exhibit 'torque steer' when driven aggressively.

The MINI Convertible features a sophisticated multi-arm rear axle which keeps the wheels in full contact wîth the road at all times. And the rear anti-roll bar helps provide excellent road holding even under hard cornering and on uneven road surfaces, adding to the neutral driving characteristics of the car.

Go-Kart-Like Steering

Both the MINI Cooper and the MINI Cooper S Convertibles feature electro-hydraulic power-assist rack-and-pinion §teering (EHPAS), which features quick ratio – 2.5 turns lock-to-lock – §teering and thus an immediate response to §teering input. The EHPAS is operated by a small electric motor which differs from traditional hydraulic-pump systems in that it only produces power-assist when the §teering wheel is turned, This reduces the need for the engine to constantly drive the hydraulic pump via a belt, thereby adding to performance and reducing fuel consumption.

• HIGH-TECH DROP TOP:

Electronic Systems

The MINI Convertible packs a lot of sophisticated technology into its modest dimensions. A high-tech data bus system or k-bus system is incorporated to enhance reliability and reduce the amount of cables, wires and connectors,

The k-bus system employs mutual data transmission where the same cables are used by multiple systems, thus reducing the amount of wiring required. Besides enhanced reliability, the k-bus system makes assembly much easier, reduces weight and allows for the simpler integration of additional functions such as rain sensors.

Other high-tech systems not usually found in cars of this class include an optional navigation system wîth a color display, PDC and the multi-function §teering wheel.

Effective Anti-Theft

The MINI Convertibles come wîth Coded Driveaway Protection minimizes theft of the car without the key. Únless the computer chip in the key recognizes a random, rolling code in the car's memory system, the car will not start. This system, when combined wîth the optional alarm system, will help reduce the chance of theft of a MINI Convertible.

The alarm system, wîth its own power supply, is triggered upon forced entry through the doors or windows, or by attempting to lift or push the car. The system works even if the roof is in its lowered position. An unauthorized attempt to enter the car causes the hazard warning lights to come on and the horn to sound for 30 seconds.

Crank Úp the Tunes

The Convertible's sound system has been designed to deliver sound performance suited for the car's interior size and shape. The basic system features six speakers – four in the front doors and two in the rear side panels.

An optional Harman/Kardon system, featuring eight specially designed speakers and a digital amplifier, is available. When combined wîth the Digital Sound Processor, the system allows the driver to choose different quality audio patterns for each seat…

MINI also offers a multitude of audio upgrades, some as dealer installed accessories, including Sirius Satellite and HD radio. An available MINI iPod adaptor is also available as a dealer installed accessory to seamlessly integrate the functionality of Apple's iPod into MINI's audio system controls. A six-disc CD changer located in the boot is also available as a dealer installation. And Bluetooth technology is available through a hands-free mobile phone package allowing the driver to operate a compatible phone through the vehicle's sound system.

STANDARD AND OPTIONAL EQÚIPMENT


The MINI Convertible comes standard wîth these items:

• Fully automatic convertible top wîth sliding sunroof
• Four airbags
• Four disc brakes wîth ABS, CBC, EBD
• 5-Speed Getrag manual transmission
• Electro-hydraulic power §teering
• 15-inch light alloy wheels
• Tire monitoring system
• Heated glass rear window
• Rear seat backrests that fold forward in 50/50 split configuration and lockable in position
• Easy-load rear cargo access
• Lockable glove compartment
• Park Distance Control (PDC)
• Tachometer
• Central locking wîth remote control
• Front and rear electric windows
• Electrically operated exterior mirrors
• Body colored bumpers
• Locking fuel filler cap

The MINI Cooper S Convertible features the items above, wîth the following upgrades:

• Six-speed Getrag manual transmission
• 16-inch light alloy wheels
• Sports suspension
• Body colored front grille
• ASC+T (Automatic Stability Control + Traction Control)

Optional Equipment

• Interior mirror wîth automatic anti-dazzle function
• Aisin six-speed automatic transmission (Cooper S)
• ZF Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) (Cooper)
• Chrome Line Interior Package
• Chrome Line Exterior Package
• Chrono Gauge Package
• Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
• Audio systems - harmon/kardon, CD changer,
• Child seats (ISOFIX)
• Automatic climate control
• A variety of 16- and 17-inch light alloy wheels
• Multifunction §teering wheel
• Rain sensor
• Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC+T) (Standard on Cooper S)
• navigation system wîth color display
• Chrome-plated roll bars
• Wind deflector
• Xenon headlights

Source - MINI
Now the long period of waiting is finally coming to an end: A very special version of the MINI is making its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, injecting a fresh breeze into the world of motoring – the new MINI Convertible. Introducing this versatile four-seater, MINI is combining the distinctive pleasure of driving an open car wîth the unique enjoyment you can only feel at the wheel of a genuine MINI.
Combining supreme fun wîth practical value.

The MINI Convertible is a fully-fledged four-seater clearly standing out from the start as a genuine MINI regardless of whether the roof is up or down. For the design features and proportions so characteristic of the MINI have been consistently carried over to the MINI Convertible: The steeply raked windscreen and the optimum seating position enjoyed by the driver ensure an unforgettable open-air experience also when driving wîth the roof down. So the new model version leaves no doubt that motoring pleasure is an outstanding factor on all four seats of this uniquely popular cult car.

Clearly, the MINI Convertible boasts a clever all-round concept wîth supreme function and optimum use of space available.

Striking profile.With its roof down, this classy convertible really looks at its best. The waistline gradually rising to the rear gives the car a strong and distinctive profile further accentuated by the chrome strip continuing along the complete window line. The steeply raked windscreen, complete absence of a B-pillar, the rollbars made of extra-strong aluminum pipes behind the rear-seat backrest, as well as the compact, folding roof all bear testimony to the unique style of a classic convertible.

The new MINI Convertible is entering the market initially in the guise of the 66 kW/90 bhp MINI One and the 85 kW/115 bhp MINI Cooper. The top-of-the-range MINI Cooper S Convertible will be following later.

In standard trim the MINI Convertible comes on 15-inch steel or, respectively, light-alloy rims (MINI One/MINI Cooper) running on 175/65 R15 tyres. As an option, both models are available wîth attractive 16- and 17-inch light-alloy wheels, wîth the 17-inch five-star Bullet light-alloy wheels developed exclusively for the new open-air version.

A convertible wîth a sliding roof all in one.

The roof available in three colours opens up fully automatically within just 15 seconds: Pressing a button, you first open the integrated sliding roof, then the complete soft roof as such. With the soft roof folding to the rear, the roof columns are automatically retracted and the rear side windows move down at the same time. The intelligent Z-folding mechanism allows the complete roof to fold up in compact arrangement behind the rear seats, wîth no need for a tonneau cover.

The sliding roof integrated in the soft top can be opened infinitely up to 40 cm or 15¾´´ while driving, up to a speed of 120 km/h or 75 mph. Clearly, a feature quite unprecedented in the convertible market.

Optimum utilisation of space available.

Folding out to the back, the rear lid is held in position when open by two steel cables wîth a spring-mounted retractor system. This allows use of the rear lid wîth its hinges facing to the outside as a practical loading panel able to carry a weight of up to 80 kg or 176 lb.

The MINI Convertible is able to carry a maximum of 400 kg or 882 lb, and the luggage compartment accommodates 165 litres wîth the roof closed. And even wîth the roof down, driving in the open air, luggage compartment capacity remains a substantial 120 litres.

The Easy Load system offers generous through-loading capacity: With the roof closed, all you do is turn two levers in the luggage compartment to fold up the bottom section of the cover fastened on a tightening bracket and attach it in position. Then, wîth the rear lid open, you have very convenient access to the luggage compartment through a large opening able to accommodate even bulky objects. And in conjunction wîth the rear seat backrests folding forward and fastened securely in position, luggage compartment capacity can be increased to no less than 605 litres.

Boasting features such as its highly functional roof, the variable luggage compartment even wîth the roof open, an ultra-strong and stiff bodyshell, as well as the chassis wîth its multi-arm rear axle, the MINI Convertible sets the standard in its market §egmènt in many other other respects too.

That go-kart feeling so typical of the MINI.

Combining a very stiff bodyshell wîth superior chassis and suspension features, the open-air models, like their fixed-roof counterparts, once again offer a unique symbiosis of superior agility and handling. The drive concept as such, the long wheelbase, a low centre of gravity, wide track, the multi-arm rear axle and the direct, electrohydraulic power §teering all go together to provide the foundation for the excellent driving behaviour and go-kart feeling so typical of the MINI Convertible.

Sporting performance wherever you go.

Both versions of the MINI Convertible feature a 1.6-litre four-cylinder power unit developing maximum output of 66 kW/90 bhp in the MINI One and 85 kW/115 bhp in the MINI Cooper. Maximum torque of 140 Nm/103 lb-ft and, respectively, 150 Nm/111 lb-ft comes at just 3000 and, respectively, 4,500 rpm. A smooth-shifting five-speed manual gearbox is standard on both models. Top speed of the MINI One Convertible is 175 km/h or 109 mph, wîth acceleration to 100 km/h in 11.8 seconds. Fuel consumption in the composite EÚ cycle is 7.2 litres premium/100 km, equivalent to 39.2 mpg Imp.

Maximum output of 85 kW/115 bhp gives the MINI Cooper Convertible a top speed of 193 km/h or 120 mph. Acceleration to 100 km/h from a standstill comes in just 9.8 seconds, fuel consumption in the EÚ cycle is 7.3 litres/100 km, equal to 38.7 mpg Imp.

High standard of safety.


Benefitting from its stiff body structure and restraint system comprising, inter alia, two 'intelligent' frontal airbags and two seat-integrated head/thorax side airbags as standard, the MINI Convertible naturally complies wîth the world's strictest crash standards required by law. A wide range of constructional improvements and features ensures a particularly high standard of torsional stiffness preventing the door-sills from bending in in the event of a head-on collision and offering the occupants optimum protection in an impact from the side.

Should the MINI Convertible ever be involved in a rollover, the A-pillars encompassing a tube made of ultra-strong steel guarantee a strong load-bearing function. And at the rear double rollbars made of high-strength aluminium tubes, complete wîth integrated headrests, afford superior passenger safety.

A high standard of active safety is ensured, inter alia, by four disc brakes, four-sensor ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), as well as Cornering Brake Control (CBC). Available as an option, Automatic Stability and Traction Control (ASC+T) as well as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) help to provide superior driving and tracking stability in an extreme situation.

MINI in colour.

The MINI Convertible is available in 10 exterior colours, two of which are reserved exclusively to this open-air model: Hot Orange and, to provide a particular effect, Cool Blue. And while the MINI One Convertible comes only wîth a black roof, the roof of the open-air MINI Cooper is available in Black, Blue, and Green. The exterior mirror housings, in turn, are again finished in Black on the 'basic' model and come in body colour on the MINI Cooper Convertible.

High-quality textile materials and surfaces give the interior special harmony and balance. The dashboard and door linings are available in Silver and Anthracite and also come as a further choice in wood and aluminium trim.

The seat upholstery is available in 3 different types of cloth, 3 combinations of cloth and leather, and wîth three different choices of all-leather upholstery.

Everything goes.

The wide range of standard equipment featured from the start on the new Convertible comprises, inter alia, an electrically operated roof complete wîth sliding roof function, a heated glass rear window, two frontal and two head/thorax side airbags, four-sensor ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), BMW's Tyre Defect Indicator (TDI), electrically operated rear-view mirrors and window lifts, power §teering, Park Distance Control (PDC), a rev counter, height adjustment on the both driver's seat and §teering column, as well as central locking wîth remote control plus comfort opening.

To fulfill all kinds of individual and personal wishes, the MINI Convertible comes wîth an equally wide range of special equipment comprising features such as xenon headlights, a TV navigation system wîth a 16:9 colour display, high-quality HiFi audio systems, a heated rear window, automatic air conditioning, a wind deflector, a wide range of light-alloy wheels, a multifunction §teering wheel, a rain sensor, and the interior mirror complete wîth anti-dazzle function.

Successful and popular.

Apart from the MINI Convertible making its debut in Geneva, the four existing fixed-roof models already very successful in the market are naturally also to be admired at the Show: the MINI One, MINI One D, MINI Cooper, and MINI Cooper S. And 'popular' is indeed the right word to describe these successful models already delivered to more than 176,000 thrilled customers the world over.

Source - MINI
The British Motor Corporation came into existence in 1952 by the merging of two manufacturers, Nuffield Motors and Austin. Nuffield was known for its Morris line of vehicles, while Austin had its 'Seven' model line. The transition for the two manufacturers was difficult and had been forced out of necessity. After World War II, many vehicle manufacturers could not stay in business due to destroyed factories, recovering economies, strained resources, and lack of funds. Combining the two companies was a means to stay in business.

A fuel shortage was occurring. German engineers quickly adapted and began producing fuel-efficient vehicles. Examples include the Volkswagen Beetle. Leonard Lord, Chairman of BMC and former head of Austin, commissioned Sir Alec Issigonis to design a vehicle to compete with the German-made vehicles.

Alec Issigonis was a graduate of Battersea Technical College. After graduation he worked as a draftsman for a plethora of engineering projects. Later, he joined Morris Motors where he was tasked with creating and fitting suspensions to the Morris vehicles.

Issigonis was outfitted with requirements to create a fuel-efficient, affordable, safe vehicle capable of carrying four individuals including luggage. To save on development costs, it was requested that an existing BMC engine be used. What he created was a vehicle that sat atop of 10 inch wheels. By using smaller wheels there was little need for wheel wells.

The car was expected to carry four individuals; the combined weight of the passengers being greater than the entire vehicle. A suspension was needed that could accept this pay-load. With his prior experience creating and working with suspensions, Issigonis designed a rubber cone suspension.

A 950 cc, four cylinder, BMC engine was selected. It was mounted in the front and expected to power the front wheels, a system that was revolutionary at the time. Instead of mounting the engine longitudinally, it was place transversely. The transmission was place under the engine due to space constraints.

When Issigonis presented his designs and recommendations to Lord in 1958, changes were requested. Instead of the 950 cc engine, a 34 horsepower, 848 cc engine would be used, making the vehicle slower but more importantly, more safe. The other request was to make the vehicle two inches wider.

There were two versions of the car when it was first introduced on August 26, 1959. The only difference between the 1959 Austin and Morris versions was their badges.

John Cooper had designed vehicles that successfully won the Formula One championships in 1959 and 1960.

He proposed a marriage between his 1000 cc Formula Junior engine with the Mini. Lord approved the idea and in 1961 the Mini Cooper was born. It was fitted with a 997 cc engine producing 55 horsepower. Later, the Cooper S came into being with the advent of the 970 cc and the 1275 cc engine - the latter capable of 76 horsepower.

From 1964 through 1967 the little car dominated the Monte Carlo Rally. The car easily achieved these victories using a 91 horsepower engine.

Minis became more than just a practical car, they became a fashion statement. This, combined with their practicality, fuel efficiency, and success on the race track, created an overwhelming demand for the little car.

In the 1980's, the Mini was starting to loose momentum. Rover tried to revitalize the Mini brand by creating special editions. In all, there were more than 40 different editions created between 1980 and 2000.

A merger with British Motor Corporation and another company produced the Britsh Leyland Company. Later, it became Rover Group. Currently, it is owned by BMW.

In 2001, BMW introduced the MINI. The MINI currently has three Cooper models. Their main differences being the size of the engine and the horsepower rating. A convertible has also been included to the line-up.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007

Three generations of driving fun: The MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S through the years.

For three generations and over 50 years, the Cooper name has identified a MINI offering even more in the way of driving fun. The idea, hatched by brilliant Formula One designer John Cooper, to fuel the agile small car wîth an extra hit of performance and turn it into a sporting machine for the road and track has lost none of its appeal. But the Cooper has never been about horsepower, as a comparison between the classic Mini and its two successors resoundingly proves. The key here is the basic principle of the creative use of space, combined wîth the inimitable go-kart feeling that runs like a thread through the three generations of the legendary small car. These famous handling traits are enjoyed by drivers on bendy country roads and city streets around the world, wîth the classic Mini and 21st-century MINI still regularly crossing each other's path.

The small British car positively craves twists and turns demanding quick and precise changes in direction; this is where it feels most at home. The classic Mini was tailor-made for tackling hairpins and corner-strewn roads, and it still looks the part today – aided by the healthy 46 kW/63 hp available in a Mini Cooper towards the end of its production run. The classic Cooper was built up to autumn 2000, by which time its successor was already twitching in the starting blocks. In contrast to the original Mini, the new model was available in Cooper guise from the outset. And wîth 85 kW/115 hp under the bonnet, it would do its nameplate proud. From the word go, the car's powerplant and chassis formed a harmonious alliance to deliver unbeatable driving fun. As John Cooper realised, sometimes you actually can't have too much of a good thing. 50 years ago he unveiled the 70 hp Mini Cooper S. And today, its youngest descendant places 135 kW/184 hp at the disposal of its driver. As if that wasn't enough, the turbocharged engine powering the latest MINI Cooper S also sets the benchmark for efficiency in its output class.

When Alec Issigonis set out to develop a new small car for the British Motor Corporation in the mid-1950s, his priorities were space and price. Indeed, at a touch over three metres in length, the classic Mini offered astonishingly generous accommodation for passengers and their gear alike. Issigonis settled on a front transverse installation for the four-cylinder engine, under which lay the gearbox, plumb between the wheels. The positioning of those wheels at the far corners of the car and the Mini's short overhangs did the rest. The Mini was small on the outside but roomy on the inside, not to mention – at around 600 kilograms – extremely light. The principles underpinning its design remain the template for small and compact cars in the modern era.

However, it was left to another key figure in the brand's history to uncover the vast well of sporting talent under that diminutive shell. John Cooper, a friend and business partner of Mini creator Issigonis and winner of two Formula One constructors' world titles, was quick to spot the car's dynamic potential, and in 1961 the first Mini Cooper hit the roads. Production of the Cooper was temporarily suspended in the 1970s, but by that time the Mini Cooper badge had long since become the signature of a sporty and agile small car.

As well as the intervention of John Cooper, the launch of this famous sporting career also relied on the brilliance of the classic Mini's chassis. Issigonis had broken new ground wîth the §teering and suspension of his new creation, and in so doing laid the foundations for the go-kart feeling appreciated by drivers to this day. Homokinetic joints reduced torque steer, a subframe (to which the rear wheels were fixed) improved directional stability, and rubber springs and small telescopic dampers ensured accurate responses and progressive spring action. The wealth of ideas packed into this small car still impresses. And the result of those ideas – the classic Mini's much-celebrated handling – explains why the car continues to enjoy such a loyal community of fans. When the successor to the original car came along in 2001, it was clear that highly advanced chassis technology would be needed in order to set the pace in driving fun all over again. The MINI Cooper rose to the challenge in some style, thanks to MacPherson spring struts at the front axle, axle shafts equal in length, a multi-link rear axle unique in the small car §egmènt, disc brakes on all four wheels, and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control).

The latest-generation MINI Cooper S also features Electric Power Steering wîth Servotronic function and a DSC system including DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) and an electronic locking function for the front axle differential. Known as Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), this system gives the MINI a crucial edge through the tight bends of Alpine passes, for example, by braking a spinning wheel as required to enhance drive out of corners as well as the car's §teering properties. Added to which, pressing the standard Sport Button in the MINI Cooper S makes the §teering even more direct and stirs up a particularly sporty soundtrack from the engine. All of this was unimaginable 50 years ago, of course, but you get the impression John Cooper would have wholeheartedly approved.

Source - BMW

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