The most charismatic member of the MINI Cooper family, the Roadster distills the brand's trademark charm and agility down to a two-seat convertible. While other MINIs are vastly more practical, the Roadster possesses strong emotional appeal that's hard to come by in this price class.
What's New for 2015
Aside from some extra standard equipment, the Roadster is unchanged.
Choosing Your MINI Cooper Roadster
Unlike the regular MINI convertible, the Roadster dispenses with the backseat altogether and wears racy (rather than cutesy) styling. The low-slung body features a power soft top and fixed roll bars behind the seats. Since there's no rear seat to compete with, the trunk space comes in at 8.5 cubic feet, not bad for one of the smallest roadsters on the market.
The standard 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine produces 121 horsepower. There are two turbocharged versions of the 1.6-liter with 181 and 208 horsepower respectively. Expect to go from zero to 60 mph in about 6.4 seconds with the top engine. All three choices come with a six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic. A Sport driving mode is standard across the board.
Your Roadster's engine will be determined by the trim level:
Several option groups are available on all trim levels:
The Cold Weather package comes with heated seats and power-folding heated mirrors.
The Technology package rounds things out with satellite radio, a Harman Kardon sound system, the MINI Connected electronics interface and (optional) a navigation system.
Designed for urban dwellers, the City Pack includes an alarm system, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors and keyless access.
All roadsters are eligible for leather seating and a variety of color and style packages.
Even performance-oriented buyers may question the value of the John Cooper Works (JCW), which adds $10,000 to the base Cooper's MSRP. A Cooper S is almost as quick and costs just $3,000 more than a Cooper.