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MF Poll: MINI Roadster vs Convertible

Which would you have? All things (price) being equal, which would you prefer to have in your driveway? Find out more about the differences after the break.

MIIN Roadster or MINI Convertible: Which Would You Have?

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The Roadster is MINI’s first open top with a completely manual mechanism. In addition there are no pop-up roll-bars as in the Convertible but instead fixed roll-hoops similar to BMW’s Z3 from the late 90′s. All this reduces weight and brings the center of gravity lower than in any MINI before it. However it also reduces the utility as compared with the four seat R57 convertible.

Full MINI Roadster Gallery

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Written By: MF Staff

  • Anonymous

    I just asked a friend who has a 1st gen miata, still driving it, and they said they would get the 4 seater so they could use it with their family.

  • Violetdc

    That’s what I kinda figured, 2. I’d have the Roadster as a 2nd car.

  • http://twitter.com/AUSmotive AUSmotive.com

    The Roadster makes the Convertible look a mistake.

  • Keith Carlson

    Please offer the Roadster in a nice “Ferrari” Yellow. That would complete my trip into my third childhood.

  • Jeanrabelais

    That new car looks exactly like a GEO Metro. No Thank you. 

    • Chilly

      You have to be kidding.

    • MINImofo

      You know, it does kind of look like the Geo Metro. If you change the front end, hood, rear end, interior, wheels, sides, power, handling, price, and the entire persona of the vehicle. But hey, they both have 2 doors and a convertible top.

      • Jeanrabelais

        Just saying what I see. Squint and I see a GEO METRO!!!!  You guys have drank the punch and I see I hit a nerve with MINIMOFO. Thou doust protest too much my lady…

        • Luke Levinson

          at least you admit to trolling

        • MINImofo

          No, not at all. I was playing around like I thought you were playing around. Maybe I should have added a smiley face. : )

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CQSSO4A4Z6CLUWSCJVBOQKHHOE BrianF

    I can ‘t buy the roadster because its window height looks the same as the coupe and at 6′ 4″ I can’t get into the roadster witthout contorions. I’m very disappointed as really wanted to buy one of them. Hope the next hardtop is interesting

    • b-

      Brian, just drive it when it is nice out!  Have the top down in the Garage, and only put it up if it starts to rain.  Drop the top to get out.  Solved!  I am 6’3″ and had the same problems with the coupe.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com Nathaniel Salzman

      I’m 6’3″ myself and had to adjust how I got into and out of the Coupé at the press launch, but by day two, I didn’t even have to think about it. Sure, it’s different than the standard hatch, but I found it wasn’t an issue at all after a half dozen times in/out of the car. I’d imagine the roadster would be a similar adjustment that you wouldn’t even notice after long.

      Similarly, while zipping around with Gabe last weekend in his 1M (which is even more sloped and low than the Coupe or Roadster), I simply adjusted my posture and it was not a problem.

      The standard MINI hatchback, with its huge doors and very upright windshield, tends to spoil us taller drivers and make other sporty cars seem impossible to get in and out of the first time we try.

  • Jim Carman

    We already have an ’11 convertible and a Clubman. My Clubman might get traded in for a Roadster. I prefer the clean look of the Roadster with the top completely stowed. we don’t use the Convertible’s back seat for anything but cargo space anyway.

  • b-

    The Convertible IS a 2 seater for all but the shortest folks out there.

    I love the roadster, it is too bad I am selling my R52 and I don’t see myself in another MINI let alone a 2 seater again for a LONG time.

    Gabe, I asked this before, what is your best guess as to the lifespan of the coupe and roadster in this form?  2 years, 3?  Before they mofe it to the F platform.

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      Coupe: 2012 – 2017 Roadster: 2013 – 2018

      • b-

        Good to know!

  • Pat_smith

    the rear seats in the convertible are pointless anyway. the roadster makes the convertible obsolete – does any other manufacturer have two convertibles in its model line up?

    • CalsonicSE

      “does any other manufacturer have two convertibles in its model line up?”  Plenty…but probably not in models with similar exterior dimensions.

      Other than the fixed roll-hoops, the roadster’s styling is spot-on.  Nevertheless, I prefer its sleek lines over the R57, but to be a fair, an R57 with JCW body kit looks REALLY nice, too!

      I’d get the Roadster if there was another car in my garage with at least four seats.  I’d choose an R57 if I had only one car.  Extra seats (albiet cramped) come in handy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596285872 Miguel Avila

    I would like to see pictures of the Roadster in base and S trims, I saw enough of the JCW version

  • Bosfordjd

    oh wow, I’m sorry but the roadster is terrible looking.  It looks like a stubby toe.

    • Dave

      If I were you, I’d see a pediatrist……

  • Anonymous

    Not sure I agree with the notion that “it also reduces the utility as compared with the four seat R57 convertible.” You get a ton more cargo room in the R58 compared to the R57. The backseats aren’t all that usable in an R57 anyway. People have said the same thing about the Coupe vs the HB and I really don’t agree there either.

  • pw4

    I’d prefer the practicality of a 4-seater soft-top, but the Cab is impractical as a 4-seater anyway.  All the Cabs in our MINI club get used as 2 seaters almost exclusively.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com Nathaniel Salzman

      I think that’s true of most non-Countryman MINIs across the board. I can count on one hand the number of times the back seats in my R53 have had butts in them.

  • Chummily

    I have an R52, and put a deposit on the Roadster back in February.  When I saw the production model R58, I immediately changed my order and picked up my Coupe on 10/6.  I now proudly have them displyed side-by-side.  The Roadster, while nice, somehow misses.  I do love the original convertible!

  • R56JCW

    I voted for the Roadster.

    I’d be interested to know what target group MINI is aiming for with the Roadster. Then with the Convertible.

    When I see the Roadster, I see younger guys, older couples and older guys. As much as I would love to see younger women driving a Roadster, all I can think of is manual top and blown hair would be enough to push them away.

    Convert, I see younger women (power top), older couples with room for the grand kids and perhaps younger families who want a fun 2nd vehicle.

  • JeffC

    When will  (USA) pricing and availability be announced?

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      After the first of the year.

      • Jcunningham53

        Thanks for the info. Any idea how much more than the Coupe?

        • Nick Dawson

          Roadster prices have just been released here in the UK and the ’S’ and ‘JCW’ are around 5% higher than the respective Coupe. However the Cooper is 8% higher. Prices in the UK are ‘on the road’ and include VAT at 20%.

  • Ephman87

    In general, I think people who could never quite bring themselves to buy an open top vehicle will prefer the Roadster, but people who have owned ragtops for decades will take the convertible.  Sure, the rear seats in the convertible aren’t very functional, but there are many times during the course of a year when it’s really convenient to be able to squeeze in an extra person or two on a fifteen minute ride.  Likewise, the cargo space with the seats down in the ‘vert makes it possible for two people to haul lots of stuff – I’ve had TVs, big boxes, even a small tree back there. If you need to regularly carry many people or tote a lot of stuff, you won’t choose either.  But there’s a big difference between infrequent and never.  I love the Miata but couldn’t live with one as an only car – even a big grocery run would be tough.  The roadster isn’t much more flexible. 

  • Rahwscoe

    Roadster aims the windshield header at my forehead, and not enough room for spouse and dog. And we have from time to time carried 3 or 4 people in our cabrio. Convertible every time. Room for plenty of groceries too, or a cooler, or . . .


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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