The annual North American International Auto Show is an event of unparalleled importance. Set to be open to the public on the 14th of January 2012, it will act as the New Year's Day for the automotive industry. More than 150 companies will showcase their products, innovations and plans for the whole year ahead. 5000 media representatives will provide extensive coverage while around 750 000 members of the public will have the pleasure to moon about amidst lush automotive pieces of art.

And now MINI has announced that on that event, they will try to fascinate the American public with the new MINI Cooper Roadster – a car that relies on a complex chassis technology to stay on the road and yet implements a classic, manually operated soft-top all in the name of pure fun. Although it is the sixth addition to the company's line up it still bares the MINI hallmark universal features such as large circular headlights, hexagonal radiator grille, side indicator surrounds and vertically stacked rear lights. That of course does not make it a characterless clone of the previous ones. The low-slung silhouette, smooth curves and elegantly extended (separate from the cabin) boot give this urban 2-seater a fresh and playful image.

MINI Roadster (2012)

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In terms of dimensions, the basic Roadster model largely mimics its MINI Convertible counterpart with an exterior length of 3,728 mm (wheelbase of 2,467 mm) and a width which stands at 1,683 mm. It is however lower than the Convertible by more than 20 mm thus the fore mentioned low-slung sporty silhouette.

In the US three engine line-ups will be available that go in three different trim levels of the Roadster:

The standard MINI Roadster has a 121 hp, 1.6 litre engine with a fully variable valve control system – based on the VALVETRONIC technology which can be seen in BMW engines.

The MINI Cooper S Roadster houses again the VALVETRONIC 1.6 litre engine but thanks to BMW's TwinPower Turbo technology and direct fuel injection the power is now up to 181 hp. The Cooper S is claimed to be one of the most successful embodiment of power and economy with just 6.0 litres of petrol consumption on a 100km run.

The top of the range MINI John Cooper Works Roadster is powered by a hardcore version of the 1.6 TwinPower Turbo found in the MINI Cooper S. It is a 208 hp hornet that delivers 192 lb-ft (260 Newton metres) of torque at 1,850 rpm. You'll need no more than 6.3 seconds to reach 100km/h (62 mph) from a standsill while top speed stands at 237 km/h (147 mph). All models come as standard with a six speed manual gearbox that channels the revvy power of the engines to the front wheels. Optionally, the Cooper Roadster and Cooper S Roadster can be ordered with a six speed automatic.

Agile handling and a timely response, emblematic for the MINI brand, come from the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system and the active rear spoiler, which extends automatically when the car reaches 80 km/h (50 mph).

The company is counting on the Roadster range to be a fine compliment to the other five, already successful MINI, MINI Countryman, MINI Clubman, MINI convertible and the MINI Coupé.

Source: MINI