Spied: MINI Roadster JCW

Hot on the heels of the Coupe debut, here we have a pre-production prototype of the MINI Roadster getting spied by WorldCarFans in Germany. No big surprises here, just a nice glimpse of the car-to-be. Having now seen the Coupe and how closely it kept to its concept car roots, we expect the production R59 to be pleasantly unsurprising. Head on over to WCF for their full gallery of spy shots.

  • JonPD

    I think I am in the minority but still prefer the Coupe. I like the idea of a convertible but prefer something I can track.

  • Having driven to work today in an ’05 Cabrio I have to say thumbs up to Topless Driving…..

  • iNomis

    Anyone heard or have any speculation on an optional removable hardtop for the Roadster?

  • Harry Dill

    I second the motion for a removable (ideally,carbon) hardtop. As Gabe remarked, “don’t count on it” will likely be the case, at least from the factory vis-a-vis the Coupe. Offering a hardtop for the roadster could, to some extent, negatively impact Coupe sales. It is, however, conceivable that the after-market will step up to the plate given adequate demand. 

    I can visualize the roadster with a hardtop and imagine the profile to appear much more pleasing to the eye than the Coupe’s with its weird looking hip-hop chapeau. The Coupe’s more steeply racked windshield, however, will be missed. 

    Yes, the bygone days of removable hardtops has been largely replaced by folding hardtop/convertibles e.g., the Mercedes SL which once had canvas soft and removable steel hardtop … and an optional hoist to perform the task single-handedly! Even the 599 Ferrari California has followed suit. Of course there are many manufacturers such as BMW, Porsche, Honda, VW Beetle, Audi, Bentley, Corvette, Mustang et cetera, that continue to maintain tradition and produce strictly rag tops. Given the small size of the MINI top, a hoist would likely be unnecessary and presumably make the prospect entirely possible. Let’s keep our finders crossed!

    • gasmini

      The Coupe’s more steeply racked windshield, however, will be missed.  I thought that the windshield on the Coupe was the same as the Roadster minus the topue.


      • It’s the same. This is wrong.

        • Harry Dill

          Thank you for the correction, Gabe. I must have read unreliable information stating that the Coupe had a more steeply racked windshield.

        • Griffin

          I thought that the rear suspension on the regular mini was different than the convertible, the hardtop has an independent suspension but the convertible does not. Do these new cars have the independent suspension of the hardtop or the beam suspension of the convertible?

        • Every MINI sold since 2001 has the same z-link BMW derived rear suspension.

    • goat

      I understand the nostalgia but I can also speak from experience to say that removable hard tops are a PITA. 🙂   I have one on my NB miata and even with the tiny 2-seater size and fibreglass structure of the top it’s still generally a 2-person affair to take it on/off without risking scratching the car or top (the hoist helps… but only for those with garage space or who park in the same spot all the time)… not something you do on a whim, in other words. I also swap hardtop on/off for my in-law’s T-bird convertible… bigger car, bigger top, absolutely a 2-person affair now. Having struggled with these for over a decade, I would take a folding hardtop solution like Mazda’s on the current NC miata every single time over a separate hardtop + folding soft top. 

      And, remember, the soft top would not come off the car for the MINI roadster so adding a hard top on top of that only adds additional weight… a folding hardtop if designed right weighs less than separate hard top + soft top, with all the practicality, NVH, and security advantages mentioned above.

  • CharlieVictor

    I notice that this car appears to have the PDC; wonder if it’ll be standard on the R59 like it was on the R52?

  • b-

    I really don’t see a place for a removable hardtop in the aftermarket channels.  The only way I could see it is if there were a person who wanted one and paid the $$$ for a one off to be made and then the fab shop started selling them. To find enough people who want one who will ACTUALLY pay what it costs to build this will be a lost cause.  It happens all the time in the MINI world, I have this GREAT idea, everyone says it is great and that they would buy one but then it doesn’t happen.  This would require a bunch of capital to get started and it would also require a car for more than just a few days.

  • Anonymous

    Cabrio buyers who don’t care about the back seat and want some more trunk room should like this vehicle (is that too niche a market?).  Presumably the motorized spoiler doesn’t suck up too much of the trunk room.

    Since both the Coupe and the Roadster are build off the cabrio frame it’d be a bit ironic if the roadster ended up weighing less than the coupe.

    Aside: I almost missed this post.  Did it get inserted after the Fiat 500 review?

  • Don Griffin

    does the new coupe and roadster have the independent rear suspension of the standard min or the beam suspension of the cabro?

  • Harry Dill

    I am very eager to see the Roadster. Even in photos it looks very attractive, particularly with the top down. It is clean and uncluttered looking. Not exactly a traditional MINI but nonetheless worthy of adaptation and appreciation by those of us adamant about keeping MINI a MINI.

  • Harry Dill

    This car could be made to look even more distinctive by loping off a few vertical inches from the windshield and lowering the profile a bit in the manner of the Porsche Speedster. It would add visual weight and solidity to the design, not to mention reduce the CD for improved aerodynamics and handling, as well as, lower the CG (from a lowered seating position) — ergo increase performance. 

    There will no doubt be a few BMW “Bauer” type after-market artisan-tuners eagerly poised to draw their “Sawzalls” and perform some fairly radical cosmetic surgery to the delight of well-healed “motorers” seeking bespoke exclusivity. Of course mainstream comfort would necessarily be sacrificed, but that would not necessarily pose an unacceptable compromise — at least from the enthusiast community.

  • DaCrema

    big blind spot at the rear corners with the roof up.  Very much like a Healey or MG.  That is the disadvantage of a glass rear window (at least it looks like glass). 

    • b-

      That blind spot is a result of the folding top, it is the nature of the beast.  I bet that the view will be almost the same on the coupe and the roadster, sure the coupe has rear quarter glass but it is SO small.  

      All you have to do is position your mirrors correctly and turn your head to check the blind spots.  I have been running without my rear-view mirror for over a year now on my R52.  I can’t see anything out the back and it obstructs my forward view too much to have it hanging there.

      • goat

        Agree, the blind spot issue with convertibles is only a problem to drivers (sadly, a majority) who have not learned to set up their side mirrors correctly. “Shoulder checking” is not needed when the mirrors are set up correctly, as any good driving instructor will tell you.  

      • goat

        Agree, the blind spot issue with convertibles is only a problem to drivers (sadly, a majority) who have not learned to set up their side mirrors correctly. “Shoulder checking” is not needed when the mirrors are set up correctly, as any good driving instructor will tell you.