Help Design MotoringFile’s MINI Roadster

(This poll is now closed. Look for more info soon).

You may have noticed in our recent review of the MINI Roadster that we were completely smitten. For the first time ever MINI has created an open top car that combines open-top motoring with and similar performance to the hard top MINI. It’s a thoroughly intoxicating mix of back to basics motoring combined with modern design and performance that left us wanting more. Or more specifically wanting a roadster in our garage. So we figured what better car for our next long-term MINI than a new 2012 Roadster?

All we had to do was convince MINI USA. To do that we simply told them how much fun our readers would have in helping us design and build it. They said sure – as long as we could give them a full spec by end of day… today (February 15th).

As you’ll see below we clearly went all out with each of these specs. Two reasons. For one we want to live with options and report back. For instance: Are the Recaro seats worth the money? How’s the JCW Dash going to hold up to daily life?

The other is that this is a Roadster. If there’s any R5X MINI to load up it would seem the Roadster would be the car. It’s still back to basics due to the nature of its design but we want to give it the proper style and substance befitting MINI’s new halo car.

So let’s get started. Remember, you have until the end of today (the 15th) to help us choose. Click through to see the options, vote in the poll and to make sure your voice is heard.

Option 1: JCW Angry Midnight Black

How do you make the Roadster, a rather pretty car, look as mean as possible? Make it all black and add healthy doses of red. In addition to that how about every option? Including the highly anticipated Recaro seats, JCW dash and of course such things as sport suspension and all the packages. Oh and then let’s make it go as fast as any MINI ever has. JCW it is. We call it Angry Astro Black. $47,250

Option 2: JCW Orange Crush

A roadster should be fun and fast right? So let’s make it orange with black stripes and wheels. Inside it’s all business with black mixed with plenty of Dinamica on the dash and on the Recaro seats. For the fast part lets turn up the wick and make it a JCW and add sports suspension and all the packages known to man. And then top it off with a name like Orange Crush – done and done. $47,250

Option 3: JCW Kite Blue Cool

Sensing a trend here? Yes we love the JCW here at MF and it’s hard to say no if we’re speccing a MINI. However with this one we wanted to go a little more old-school with blue, silver stripes and silver wheels. Sure we’ve got all the options checked (Recaros, Satellite Grey leather dash, Nav and all the packages) but we just to add a bit of color to it all. And Kite blue is shaping up to be one of the best blues MINI has ever offered. MSRP: $47,250

Option 4: Cooper S Subtle BRG Sleeper

Finally we created this in an effort to keep costs down and try (maybe in vain?) to get us to appreciate less is more when it comes to options. Less is more? Ok not really. After all we’re trying to test the car and the options so we couldn’t keep it too slim. But that aside we wanted to be more modest and go with the MCS without Sport package and some of the other random bits and pieces we see on options 1-3. So manual top, leather/cloth seats, no sport package etc. We call it Cooper S Subtle BRG Sleeper. MSRP: $37,000

So lets make this official by adding a real. Choose below but choose wisely. We have to drive around in this thing.

Poll: Help MotoringFile Build Our Long Term MINI Roadster Tester

  • Option 1: JCW Angry Midnight Black (all options) (48%, 507 Votes)
  • Option 2: JCW Orange Crush (all options) (17%, 183 Votes)
  • Option 3: JCW Kite Blue Cool (all options) (18%, 190 Votes)
  • Option 4: Cooper S Subtle BRG Sleeper (18%, 189 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,066

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  • indimini

    I went with option 4 simply because it is closest to what I am planning on ordering.  No way I can justify nearly 50K for a car that would mainly be a toy.

  • Anonymous

    Holy moly you have an awesome garage. 

  • I just ordered one that looks almost exactly like number 3, except regular S, not JCW, although I did choose the JCW pack as an add-on…

  • Eddie

    Tough choices really, since three are fully loaded they are pretty far away from being useful tests for mere mortals… And then the fourth option is a bit lacking… Can’t you get recaro’s on an S for example? And instead of BRG snatching the last Laguna Green ones would have been nice. Or Reef blue…

    • Yes you can get recaros on all models. However we wanted to keep at least one choice around the mid 30s and that meant tough choices like no Recaros.


        Wow I didn’t know we FINALLY  can get Recaros in the states!!  I saw them on the configurator and thought they were just for Europe. Bravo Mini!

        Is anyone ordering the $2000 dealer installed JCW kit? Since there is only 11 HP difference between that and the factory JCW it seems to be a bargin.

  • jbkONE

    I think whatever MINI roadster you get you should get the manual top.  The auto-top is a no-brainer on how it works and what it takes to put up/down every day – move a lever, press a button.  But the manual top – nobody knows yet how that will be living with.  We need a long-term tester to tell us if living with the manual is no biggie or makes one wish they’d gotten the auto-top.  Please get the manual top and report.

    • I can tell you from living with the roadster for a day in Portugal (for our initial drive) that had the manual top I can assure you the semi auto top is well worth the money.

      • Jim Carman

        How much space does the motor eat up? 

        • None – it sits in a nook that would otherwise be empty.

  • Anonymous

    Number 1 all the way!

  • 4! That’s pretty much identical to my configured MINI

  • RMNE

    I would skip the JCW just because the engine you get with it now will be upgraded later this year

  • Bob Hayhurst

    Good Choices I say!!! I voted for #3 Kite Blue but most of the cars that I’ve built on the configurator have been similiar to the JCW Angry Astro Black.  Either way, Blue or Black, this car will be a ball to drive. I can’t wait to see what it’s like to drive in real world conditions (raining, grocery store run, etc.) and how it performs…  

  • hfred

    We would be glad to help with the Iowa portion of the long-term testing 🙂

  • Brian

    I chose 1, however its ridiculously expensive.

  • JonPD

    Can happily report the JCW dash is holding up well. Hands down one of the best looking things MINI has ever done imo. I put my vote in for #1, is this replacing the long term R60? 

  • Anonymous

    If you could let Mini know, that I also need a long term tester, that would be a big help, thanks.

  • Listen guys. I know everyone is voting for the JCW since it is the most powerful and essentially the Halo of the MINI brand however lets bring ourselves back down to earth here. You should go for the Cooper S as its the roadster most will go for realistically. I see a great comparison of this model to the Miata and other similar roadsters. The JCW will be so few and far between that a long term test of this model will not do your readers any real justice as most will be going for the Cooper S. You put together some nice cars though I have to say.

  • Jim

    I’ll be happy to do the Colorado testing phase.  Current owner of a ’10 BRG S.  I would love a JCW roadster, The S model looks great.  Having owned a ’74 MGB, manual tops are good, modern tops would have glass inserts(?/!).  There are several mountian passes that would be a great test run.

  • Matthew

    How does a long-term tester work? Does the car get ordered through MINI NA or through Knauz? Is the car delivered and prepped through Knauz, or other local dealer, or does MINI NA just take care of the whole process?

  • Greg

    Gabe, How did you configure a JCW Roadster in Kite Blue. That is a color that is not even offered on the configurator. Is this some sort of special deal for Motoringfile or can others get that color as well. I have a JCW Lightning Blue on order but would rather have a Kite Blue, only problem is that it doesn’t exist.

    • That’s what I was trying to find. I can’t find it listed for any model (didn’t know if it was model specific – Cooper, Clubman, etc.)

      The only mention of Kite Blue I can find on Motoringfile is in the 2 New Special Editions article from Jan 19th. Says “The Kite Blue metallic exterior paintwork was created exclusively for the special-edition model” and that’s for the Bayswater Special Edition. hmm.

  • Anonymous

    Option 4.

    None of us have to spend money on this, so most will vote for the one they like best, price no object. That means a $47K model will win (and so easy to predict it will be #1 by a wide margin). But that is a ridiculous price for a MINI. You should have offered a stripped down black version with aerokit.

  • that.guy

    I vote used Boxster S in proper silver.

    • David

      On a strictly dollar value basis I would agree, happily owning an ’04 986 Boxster myself, wicked fun car.  However I also drive an ’09 MCS (exclusively in the winter… summer, not so much;) and it is also in a very different way a fun car.  So I would be pleased to also own an R59 S Roadster (or JCW!) if money grew on trees…

    • NoHoR56

      You’re so right.  47K for a MINI makes no sense to me because there are other cars that come into the picture way before that. A base MINI S Roadster with an MSRP under $30K is what’s attractive to me.  Do you really need to add 17K of extras to a 30K car?  I don’t.  

    • NoHoR56

      You’re so right.  47K for a MINI makes no sense to me because there are other cars that come into the picture way before that. A base MINI S Roadster with an MSRP under $30K is what’s attractive to me.  Do you really need to add 17K of extras to a 30K car?  I don’t.  

  • Aurel

    Voted for the Kite Blue … its the most sportiest looking and feels like a top down roadster. The Black/Red is more suitable for a coupe and you already had this combo in your garage before with the R56 no?

    But man … almost $40K for a “stripper”?

  • Voted for #1. However, Think #2 would look really great next to my Coupe from WRR 400 MB/MB orange stripes. Photo shoot MTTS this summer. So 1 or 2 are fine with me.

  • Anonymous

    Option1 not because it is at all practical (way too expensive!) but just to see a review of it. Also the Chili Red interior is great (I have it). I would choose the silver wheels though – I really don’t like those wheels in black.

  • jcwarcitekt

    Ordered one similar to option #1.  All the options, recaros and JCW black/red!

  • …….all of them……?    But seriously why does that BRG look like dark puke green in the picture? My ego would say black and red, but my heart would say blue and silver.

    • That sounds like a Top Gear intro for The Stig.

      “Some say …if he vomits, his sick comes out british racing green. All we know is, he’s called The Stig!”

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  • Aaron Granger

    Wow… If I wanted a small sprightly ‘vert, I could find better options than a JCW Coupe for $47,250 and that’s coming from a MINI Lover of 7+ years.  A quick option from the same family:  a 135 BMW ‘vert with the M Sport pack and heated seats leaves me $100 left over for a meal on the way home from the dealership, great handling, 2 extra small seats and 100 more HP.   Don’t get me wrong… I love my MINI and the MINI community, but there has to be a limit for this MINI owner and $47k has crossed that line so quickly that I can’t even see it in the rear-view mirror.  

  • Greg

    Configuration 3 is impossible! It doesn’t exist. Kite Blue is only available on the special order Bayswater cooper and is not available for the Roadster. I wonder how motoring file even generated this on a configurator. They must use something different than everyone else.

  • TopGear1

    WELL heres the thing, its nearly impossible to get to 50k on a mini. you need to get everything and i mean EVERYTHING. I priced mine to 40k and thats a JCW roadster with leather and custom dash and nice wheels and little touches and thats fine do you really need super nav and super speakers? 40k is alot but it is WORTH IT. ive driven many cars and its right up there with the boxter and bmw Z and all other top notch sports cars except those start at 50k. well worth it this is a proper sports car with unbeatable timeless design