The best of a coupe and a convertible.
In creating the Roadster, Mini might have created its best model yet. The all-new Roadster is a droptop version of the oh-so-cute Cooper Coupe, which brings the lithe performance of the hardtop with the unlimited sun of a retractable cloth top. Those who are familiar with the Mini brand will recognize the formula used to build the Roadster lineup: base Roadster models come with a 121-hp, 1.6-liter in-line four-cylinder, sportier S Roadsters receive a turbocharged version of the base engine good for 181 hp, and the hottest John Cooper Works Roadster ups the power output to 208 hp from the turbocharged mill and has an overboost function for extra power. Transmission options mimic other Minis’, with the front wheels driven by a standard six-speed manual or an optional six-speed auto. We would normally recommend the manual, but the slick automatic has crisp, well-timed shifts. As it was developed alongside the Coupe, the Roadster drives similarly. It’s a nimble handler with plenty of oomph (especially from the S and JCW models) and is one of the best-performing front-wheel-drive cars on the market. However, the drive wheels can be overwhelmed by torque steer, the high-powered JCW model in particular.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
new for 2013
The roadster is the only Mini model to receive new equipment beyond standard Bluetooth. The previously optional semiautomatic roof and the rear wind deflector are now standard. Satellite radio is now a $250 option.
ABS; corner brake control; tire-pressure monitoring; front and side air bags; run-flat tires; and traction and stability control are standard. Adaptive xenon headlights, daytime running lights, retractable headlamp washers, and park distance control are optional.
Fun to drive
Harsh ride quality
Base Price Range: $26,250–$36,400
TRIM LEVELS: Roadster, S Roadster, John Cooper Works Roadster
BODY STYLE: Convertible, 2-passenger
ENGINES: 1.6L I-4, 121 hp, 114 lb-ft
1.6L turbo I-4, 181/208 hp, 177/192/207 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 70.0 cu ft (est.)
CARGO SPACE: 8.5 cu ft