2009 R57 MINI Convertible Revealed

(Photos Removed)

(Updated: all photos have removed due to a BMW/MINI legal request) Images of the R57 MINI Convertible, scheduled to debut this winter at the Detroit Auto Show, have surfaced thanks to a tipster. While there aren’t many surprises in these photos thanks previous information we’ve reported, there are a couple of new items shown. For one it looks as if MINI is adding a black trip options on the headlights and on the belt-line trim that has been traditionally chrome.

New Color choices

As seen above are the new two colors exclusive for the R57, Interchange Yellow and Horizon Blue (similar to the much loved Space Blue). Also seen above for the first time is the Hot Chocolate canvass top. Not shown is the “Denim” blue top also making a debut on the R57.

The Roll-bar Goes Away

The R57’s top design will be a slightly updated version of the current R52 convertible with a larger glass rear window. Also making it’s debut is a pop-up roll-bar system that will take the place of the current vision robbing set-up. The system will be similar to the one found in the 1 and 3 Series BMWs.

Always Open Gauge

Also seen for the time above (and unique to the convertible) will be an “always open” guage which will measure the amount of miles driven with the top open. The idea is that it will encourage owners to live the “always open” lifestyle MINI marketing has created for this car. The gauge will be located to the left side of the rev-counter.

Interior Trim

The long rumored “black chrome” interior trim that we reported on over a year ago will finally be available on the R57. This addition will be an option much like the chrome-line interior trim on the current range.

JCW for the R57

Our sources are reporting that the R57 convertible will be available as a factory JCW from day one. It will also be available with the dealer installed JCW engine kit.


As previously reported the R57 will go on-sale in Spring of 2009. We’ve heard an exact time-line of March but that could always slip a week or two. Expect the launch to happen worldwide with the Cooper, Cooper S and JCW models to eventually follow.

We’ll have more on the R57 and details of the trim updates soon.

  • Zack

    Wow. I think I may be getting a cabrio this time around. : D

  • Leave it to MINI! The “Always Open Gauge” is GENIUS!!!

  • rkw

    Nice news scoop!

    The “always open” gauge is useless, silly and may have a negative effect overall. The fact is that most people drive their convertibles (any brand) top up most of the time. People don’t want to buy a convertible and have it in their face how little they put the top down. However it would be really cool to install an extra gauge or two inside that mount.

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    Are you sure that’s black trim, or is that just the lighting in the picture? If it is indeed the case, I think that’s cool, as that is a common mod.

  • GregW

    The boot lid thing looks interesting and how the marketing people get all those cases to fit is amazing. The folded down roof still looks like an afterthought and just sits on the back. Why not make it fold away under a flush cover (like BMW) to make the whole thing tidier and better looking? Its not like they were trying to make more storage space in this model. Isn’t the chrome line trim an option anyhow?

  • lavardera

    grill trim looks black too.

  • eto

    I really like what has been done with the boot. Very ingenious way to make the space more accessible. I also really like the chocolate brown top. I’ve never really been interested in getting a convertible, but I really like the R57!

  • prkali

    The the fact that the boot hinges are nonexistent makes the whole back of the MINI look quite clean!!! I like-y!!!

  • C4

    How about side/head airbags for rear passengers?

  • C4

    Is it me or is that removing the metal roof makes the R57 look better proportion than its R56 brother?

  • Looks really good. I’m not a big convertible fan, but I’m pretty impressed with the way this turned out.

  • ScottRiqui

    I don’t think the “Always Open” gauge measures the percentage of anything – looking at the gauge, it’s marked in hours (0-6) on the inner ring, and minutes (0-60) on the outer ring. I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to measure, actually – does it just start counting up when you drop the top, so you know how long it’s been since you had the top up?

    Also, if you look at the fourth picture (the one with the luggage) and the last picture (top-up rear view), something doesn’t make sense. The flip-up “lid” for the boot shown in the fourth picture seems to be at least 8-10 inches deep front-to-rear, but in the last picture, the rear edge of the top comes all the way to the rear of the car – where’s the boot lid?

    There are no wrinkles in the top in the “luggage picture”, so it doesn’t appear that the rear of the top slides forward when you open the boot lid or anything like that.

  • Max

    Hmmm… Now I’m wondering about the upcoming mid-model refresh anticipated for the 2010 model year. Will the convertible be designated as a 2010 model?

    If the convertible will have all the mid-model refresh updates, then apart from the new colors, I can’t see any differences. But I notice that the black trim below the rear bumper looks different from the one on the coupe.

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  • CraigE
    I really like what has been done with the boot. Very ingenious way to make the space more accessible.

    Actually, MINI has had the same expandable boot opening since the first convertibles. There are two handles that you pull inwards and the top part of the boot hinges up. This nearly doubles the size of the opening. What appears to have changed are the hinges on the tail gate and possibly the loss of the folding rear seats.

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  • minimalist

    if you study the photos closely the rear seat back is still split 50/50 though wether this is still the through loading or just to create a luggage platform is unclear

  • Petkunterä

    I don’t think that Always Open gauge is measuring percentage. It looks like it says “hours” in the inner ring and the outer ring goes from 0 to 60 in increments of 15 so they’re probably minutes. I think it will start counting from zero every time you put the top down.

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  • Ned

    The always open guage is a ridiculous idea. In the UK and Ireland, it predominatly rains, so the guage will be showing a paltry 1% ratio I’d imagine here, reinforcing the idea that next time around, a normal hatch would probably be a better purchase.

    My other half has an R52, and even without the guage, she’s still complaining about how little the roof goes down due to the weather. With the guage smugly reminding her every time she drives … I hate to think of the long term implications for my wallet.

  • rhawth99

    That is a nice looking yellow color! I’m not a big convertible fan but this looks good.

    Too bad MINI can see fit to install a totally useless ‘open’ gauge but won’t give the R57 a proper temperature or oil pressure gauge.

  • rs

    cool gauge. I’m gonna buy the housing then insert some useful gauges in my JCW using that shell. They’ll make something corny like that but don’t give you temp/boost or volts or something useful.

  • mike

    C4 asked:

    Is it me or is that removing the metal roof makes the R57 look better proportion than its R56 brother?

    I’m not sure if that assumption can be made from these photos. To me the worst part of the R56 is the front overhang. There’s really no good shots showing that angle.

    Time, of course, will tell.

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  • rkw
    I’m gonna buy the housing then insert some useful gauges in my JCW using that shell

    Unfortunately, it will probably be like the current situation where you can only buy a complete gauge assembly, not just the housing separately.

    The Always Open gauge is a cute idea where the novelty quickly wears out, and they could have used a different location. They chose a very prime and prominent location that could have been used for something more useful and desirable. Consider something even as simple as an analog clock. Would you choose an Always Open gauge over an analog clock at that location?

  • Cabrio King

    What is this? The senile old prune club?

    The Always Open gauge is an additional novelty to add to the character of the car. Nobody would have complained if the interior was identical to that of the hatch.

    Yet now that they’ve added it, it’s a stupid idea because: – Most ppl drive the car with the top up? HELLO, go buy a tin top then. Or better yet if seeing “0.1%” is too dejecting for you, go cry to mama! – An analog clock would be a better addition? Zzzzzzzzzzz better add an alarm function to wake you up after you fall asleep from the boredom that is the interior.

    Pretty exciting bunch we have here…

  • lavardera

    It looks like the open gauge housing is molded one piece with the tach housing.

  • lavardera

    some strange things in the shots. 3rd photo shows car with S sidemarkers and rear bumper, but Cooper gas cap.

  • rkw

    All cabrios always had Cooper style gas lids. The roof mechanism did not leave enough room for the S chrome gas cover of the hardtop.

  • ChrisW

    Love the new cabrio-specific changes (particularly the loss of the ridiculous hinges on the tail hatch) – fortunately I find the new model’s interior ugly enough to keep me content with my ’05 cabrio for some years to come.

  • Ron

    I somehow wish they did something really unique or special with the new convertible. As it is, it’s pretty much what I would have expected an R56-based convertible to be. Let’s hope that under the covers they made some significant improvements to the rigidity of the frame and the ride quality.

    Overall it doesn’t really excite me enough to make me trade in my R52.

  • MauiMac

    Any ideas of what the MPG will be? How many more MPG does the R56 do over the previous Mini?

  • SFRedMCc

    Kudos to the redesign of the boot. It looks like with a little more study they could even have worked out a way to conceal the top when it’s folded down. Maybe by hinging that top door on both the front and back sides.

  • alpinamike

    So am I going to get credit for the Always open meter? checker Dash..no money checker side markers…no money


    Also seen for the time above (and unique to the convertible) will be an “always open” guage which will measure the amount of miles driven with the top open. The idea is that it will encourage owners to live the “always open” lifestyle MINI marketing has created for this car. The gauge will be located to the left side of the rev-counter.

  • eager2own

    The new gauge is useless and far too large and prominent (should merely be one of the display options on the OBC).

    It has been reported for some time that the R57 will not lose fold-down seats — but there is still no info as to whether there will be full pass through or blocked off access as in the 1 and 3 series. In the pic it looks like there’s at least a partial pass through . . . but it is hard to tell, and it is hard to tell if it’s a ful pass through.

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  • halogenrep

    Awesome! R57 looks smarter and better than the old one.

  • GregW

    probably just a ski bag access if anything?

  • GregW

    A Coolant temperature gauge and oil pressure gauge would be better – then we are really retro.

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  • Horizon Blue will also be available for the R55/R56! It’s already announced in the last brochure 😉 But that new cab looks great for me! 🙂

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  • lavardera

    The housing for the open guage on the vert may spawn an intrument package for the coupe – no telling.

    As far as the gas cap – I did not realize that the internal clearance of the S & cooper gas fillers were any different. I thought it was just a cosmetic change.

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  • eager2own

    ScottRiqui- flipping between the 2 photos (#4 and 7 above) is really creapy — there is no way to correlate the 2 . . . except to assume that serious photshopping has been done.
    My guess is that photo #4 has been editted to omit the folds in the canvas as the boot lid is raised.

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  • rkw
    The Always Open gauge is an additional novelty to add to the character of the car.

    Cabrio King, then you acknowledge that it is nothing more than a novelty. Maybe I’m stuck up and boring but I saw it as a missed opportunity for a better car. An analog clock wouldn’t be my first choice. I’d prefer a temp and/or pressure gauge. But hell yes I’d choose an analog clock over a roof meter.

    Given the history of MINI cabrio tops, someone on MINI2 suggested that it should be a count down to roof replacement.

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  • greg

    My two cents. I think the “open” gauge is a GREAT idea and is alot of fun. That’s what a Mini is all about. Wish I could have it on my ’08 cabrio.

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  • eager2own

    Actually, my top is down (even when parked) from Feb. until Nov. … and I still think the gauge is dumb. My top is down and I don’t need a gimmicky novelty “gauge” to tell me that it is. This is very disappointing if it’s what MINI had hinted at as “redifining top down motoring” in early talks of the R57. If this means I’m a “senile old prune” who doesn’t “get” how much fun this new gauge will be for months and years to come — then I guess that’s what I am… now, a gauge that told me what percentage of the time I was in the redline — that would be fun.

  • pablum

    Hmmmmm…. Anyone else notice the brown / hot chocolate color line? Was that an announced addition? And is that dash piano black or does it match the exterior… too hard to tell from this photo.

    I really like the interchange yellow. 🙂 Is it too early to trade my 08 mcs in? 😉

  • pablum

    Yep, it appears to be blue, but that could be a photographic/processing artifact. Take a look at the large version of the always open gauge on the flickr account. You’ll see that it does appear to be blue behind the gauges….

  • MrChips

    I sense an “Always Open Guage Delete” option coming soon after the release? 😉

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  • Brian

    Interchange Yellow JCW with all the options…. Yea Baby.

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  • lavardera

    they still have the photos up, and they added their own water mark over the MotoringFile watermark…

  • Brian

    Yup all the other web site still have the photos

  • SCOTT27

    I am absolutely seething about the leak.

    As much still has to be done to the final marketing of the MINI cabrio. There is still a lot of final shooting to commence and the Benny Benassi music is not finished.

    The main talking point regarding MINI at this current time is the MINI Concept Car. The MINI Cabrio is not due until November.

  • SFRedMCc

    The Auto Express’ headline is: “Images LEAK of the brand new MINI Convertible – way ahead of its Detroit Motor Show debut.” Do you think maybe it’s a British attempt to be humorous?

  • eto

    Wow… I think this is the first time I’ve seen a true leak through MotoringFile. I am puzzled at the release here, because there wasn’t much in the article indicating this was an unofficial leak of R57 images. MF has always been supportive of MINI, and hesitant to break media releases until the specified time unless others did so prior.

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  • GregW

    Why convertible sports cars are made by the English, where it rains or is overcast most of the time, and where a fine summers day is a rarity, and drivers wrap up in coats, caps, and turn the heater on full, is an enigma! However, I am told that to quote the song “it never rains in California, but man it pours”.

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  • Why have AutoExpress added their own watermark over the MF one?

    I know it is not particularly pleasant to be served with a cease & desist, having had one myself with the JCW spec leak earlier this year. Nobody that is a brand proponent wants to fight with MINI anyway.

  • f650 rider

    What’s not to love? Beauty in the eye of the beholder–I’m signing up.

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