All photos by BMW
Thanks goodness there isn’t a limit on how much fun you can have in a car so we can enjoy new cars like the 2012 MINI Cooper S Roadster. There is no doubt when you see a MINI Cooper as to what brand the car is, and with the Roadster there is so much interest that you find yourself answering to “what a cool car” many times over. That’s a good thing for MINI Cooper Universe! There is no doubt that the typically MINI interpretation of a compact roadster embodies unadulterated sportiness and spontaneous urban driving fun under the open sky.
First things first, as the roadster offers you the opportunity to admire the MINI Roadster's classical soft-top roof, which can be easily opened and closed manually with two movements in a matter of seconds. Even with the roof closed, the MINI Roadster displays an elegant, sweeping silhouette, with the transition from soft-top to rear end highlighting its characteristic three-box design particularly clearly. Our test model was very cool in lightning blue metallic with silver sport stripes, 17-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlights, white turn signal lights, convertible wind deflector, and active rear spoiler that was a big hit with new admires of the 2012 MINI Cooper S Roadster. When the top drops, the already sleek MINI Roadster takes on a fell of unmistakable and irresistible charisma. The new two-seater cuts a distinctive, low-slung and elegantly stretched figure from the side. A windscreen frame that is more heavily raked and tapered upwards more sharply than that of the MINI Convertible also gives it a clearly distinguishable appearance that, when viewed head-on, looks very athletic.
You know you’ve entered a MINI Cooper right when you go into the cabin, but since you can really customize the interior to your preferences, not many will look completely alike. The interior of the MINI Roadster features a large Center Speedo and a tachometer positioned directly behind the steering wheel. The sports seats fitted as standard in the MINI Cooper S Roadster offers outstanding lateral support through quickly taken corners. The colors of the interior, meanwhile, also help enhance concentration on the road ahead. Regardless of the combination of upholstery variant, trim elements and color lines chosen by the MINI Roadster owner, the interior color remains Carbon Black. Our test model sported carbon black checkered cloth, rear park distance control, harman/kardon premium sound, voice command navigation, combo Bluetooth and USB/iPod, multi-function steering wheel, keyless entry, convertible wind deflector, satellite radio, smart phone integration, real-time traffic information, air conditioning with micro filter and air recirculation, one-touch power windows (down) and cargo area pass through.
When it comes to the soft top, we agree with MINI that, “The manual opening and closing mechanism of the soft-top roof allows the driver to usher in his next dose of open-top driving pleasure without a second's thought. And the roof can be closed again equally quickly to protect the driver and passenger from less welcome weather. The roof is opened by turning the release lever on the windscreen frame 130 degrees and swivelling the soft-top back behind the seats, where it locks into place. The process for closing the roof again is triggered by pressing a button positioned between the roll-over bars, which allow the roof to extend out of its anchorage points. It can then be pulled forward – using a recessed grip and assisted by gas-pressure springs – and fixed in place again against the windscreen frame. The side windows are automatically lowered during the closing process to reduce the effort required to move the soft-top into place.”
Trunk space is respectable, and when you consider the easy opening and closing of the soft top, the interior of the 2012 MINI Cooper S Roadster is as fun and lively as anything on the road.
There is no doubt that the MINI brand is known for superior performance in their segments, and the 2012 MINI Cooper S Roadster keeps that tradition safe. Teaming up with the powerful engines and customary MINI front-wheel drive, chassis technology of a quality unparalleled in the small car segment imbues the MINI Roadster with the brand's hallmark driving fun. MacPherson struts at the front axle, a multi-link rear axle, Electric Power Steering with speed sensitive assistance, powerful brakes offering excellent feel, and bespoke tuning for all chassis components come together to produce a new interpretation of the time-honored MINI go-kart feeling.
Sports suspension, which brings stiffer damper characteristics, sturdier anti-roll bars and upgraded springs, is available as an option. The turbo-charged direct injected 1.6 liter 16 valve inline 4 cylinder engines that came in at 181 horsepower was right on target in city and highway driving. The 6-speed manual transmission keeps getting better in the MINI and is one of the smoothest we have experienced. A Sport Button on the center console allows the driver to adjust the car's steering characteristics and accelerator responses. If the optional 6-speed automatic gearbox is specified, pressing this button also shortens shift times. The standard DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system selectively brakes individual wheels and reduces engine power to prevent a front or rear-end slide. You can expect a responsive and over achieving driving experience when you fully test this neatly packaged roadster.
Other than maybe the clothes we choose to wear, our choice of automobile is our most notable expression of our tastes in style and lack of style. There is no question for us that the 2012 MINI Cooper S Roadster would score very high in both the style and substance departments with just about any crowd. The quality of the interior is top notch for a roadster that stickered out at $33,550, and fuel efficiency is big coming in at 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. In the days of “ultra technology,” it’s amazing how simple and easy it is to drop and raise the soft top roof on the MINI S Roadster that it really leaves a smile on your face.
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