Nearly three years since its launch the MINI adventure shows no sign of slowing down. This summer sees the introduction of two new models - the MINI One Convertible and MINI Cooper Convertible. Both models will be built at Plant Oxford in the UK alongside the four models already in production; MINI One, MINI One D, MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S.
The MINI One Convertible and MINI Cooper Convertible will make their world debuts at the Geneva Motor Show on 2 March, 2004. Pricing will be confirmed closer to launch.
The MINI Convertible family will be completed later in the year with the introduction of the MINI Cooper S Convertible. Again, pricing and full details will be confirmed closer to launch.
Just like the rest of the MINI family, the MINI Convertible has four seats and is blessed with striking good looks, gutsy personality and go-kart style handling. With an optional equipment list longer than any other car in its class, four airbags and parking distance control fitted as standard, the MINI Convertible may appear small but it thinks big.
No fiddling on this roof
Both the MINI One Convertible and MINI Cooper Convertible have fully automatic roofs as standard. The roof operates in two stages. Press the button once and the roof slides back 40cm creating an 'open sunroof'. Press the button again and the roof retracts fully, neatly folding down into a compact arrangement behind the rear seats. No messy catches or tricky tonneau covers are involved - only 15 seconds and the press of a button stand between the driver and the joys of open-air motoring.
Reminiscent of the classic Mini, the MINI Convertible has a new drop down boot which doubles as a handy loading platform. Two steel cables on a spring mounted retractor system act as boot hinges holding a weight of up to 80kg. The boot capacity with the roof up is a 165 litres - with the roof down it is 120 litres.
However, MINI Convertible owners with bulky items to carry need not despair. By turning two levers in the boot, the rear fastening of the roof can be released allowing the rear section to be raised. This creates a wide aperture through which larger items can be loaded. In fact, by using this 'easy load' facility and putting the rear seats down, the MINI Convertible instantly offers 605 litres of storage space.
Two new paint colours have been reserved exclusively for the MINI One Convertible and MINI Cooper Convertible - Hot Orange and Cool Blue. There is a choice of three roof colours for the MINI Cooper Convertible, black, blue and green, whilst the MINI One Convertible roof is only offered in black.
The finishing exterior touch on the MINI Cooper Convertible is body coloured wing mirrors which come as standard.
The interior has also been given a splash of colour. Body coloured dashboards will be an option from launch in addition to the existing choice of silver, anthracite, aluminium and wood.
In addition to the existing wide range of upholstery choices, a new dark blue 'Gravity' leather will be offered on both the MINI One Convertible and MINI Cooper Convertible. The wheel selection also increases with the introduction of a new 17-inch five star bullet alloy wheel that will be reserved exclusively for MINI Convertible models.
The MINI One Convertible and MINI Cooper Convertible are powered by the same flexible engine as their hatchback counterparts. In MINI One Convertible guise, the 1.6 litre engine produces 90 bhp and a top speed of 109 mph.
0 - 62mph is reached in 11.8 seconds. The MINI Cooper Convertible has an output of 115bhp and a top speed of 120mph. 0 - 62mph is reached in 9.8 seconds.
The MINI One and MINI Cooper were launched in the UK on 7 July, 2001. Eleven months later, on 7 June, 2002, the MINI Cooper S was launched followed by the MINI One D in June 2003. Since its launch in 2001 over 90,000 MINIs have been sold in the UK making the home market the biggest MINI market in the world. 2003 was a record sales year for MINI - 40,510 MINIs were sold giving MINI a UK market share of 1.57 per cent.
Plant Oxford has built over 350,000 MINIs since production started. Last year alone, 176,000 MINIs were delivered to customers in 72 different countries worldwide.