Mini Cooper has always been a fun choice for people who want both a car that is exceptional for gas mileage but also offers personality and top notch performance driving characteristics. As Mini has expanded their range in the past few years we have gotten more ways to go fun on the cheap.
The newest entry is the Mini Roadster, a two seat drop-top version of the Mini Coupe. The Roadster is essentially a mechanical twin to the regular Mini Cooper with the exception it has a large boot or trunk in place of the rear seat. Its definitely sexy and there is nothing much on the market like it.
The Mini Roadster has a simple manually operated soft top in classical form. A pair of roll-over bars are located behind the seats to give a modicum of safety. And the interior of the Mini Roadster is infinitely customizable with several colors of leather and trim options.
Under the hood you have three engines to choose from that offer up to 35 mpg. And you might be glad to hear even optioning the turbocharged Cooper S or John Cooper Works top model still let you get into the 30′s for highway mileage. It is truly have your cake and eating it too.
The standard Mini Roadster comes with a 121hp 1.6 liter four that can achieve 27 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 30 mph combined. The next step up on the option sheet is the Roadster S which as a turbocharged 1.6 liter engine with 181hp. Even there you get the same identical EPA rated mile-per gall ratings as the standard engine. Both a six-speed manual and automatic transmission are available.
The top dog is of course the Roadster John Cooper Works. Along with a myriad of other go-fast modifications you get a 208 horsepower version of the turbocharged engine that still achieves 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, 28 mpg combined.
All Roadsters bring a host of upmarket chassis dynamics to the table. Speed sensitive electric power steering helps efficiency while giving a light precise feel. Like all Minis it has a BMW engineered front-wheel drive chassis with go-kart like handling.
There are simple but efficient MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear axle. A Sport Button on the center console, standard on John Cooper Works Roadster variants, allows the driver to adjust the car’s steering characteristics and accelerator responses.
Even though it small the Mini Roadster features all the latest safety equipment including dynamic stability control, front and head-thorax airbags, an extremely rigid windscreen frame and the aforementioned roll-over bars.
This is a car you buy for fun, not necessarily for penny pinching despite the excellent gas mileage. The Mini Roadster pricing starts at $24,350 for the base model, $27,350 for the Roadster S, and $34,500 for the top John Cooper Works.