Get ready for the road tests to start rolling in. MINI has completed it’s first European press launch of the R57 MINI Convertible and one of the first reviews in is from UK’s Car Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:

>Is there a dynamic price for the loss of a roof? Surprisingly little – the Cooper S is about as taut and agile as you could possibly hope. The weight disadvantage is less than before, making the car 10kg lighter than its predecessor despite a new floorpan and extra body stiffness. If anything the Mini feels more planted at the front than some of its tin-topped cousins, resisting the family tendency to tramline except on the worst Alpine ruts of our Austrian test route and digging in chirpily to get round tighter-than-you-thought bends.

>It says a lot about Mini’s confidence in this car that they chose the snowbound Alps as the first testing ground. These are roads that wind and twist through frozen forests, with the tarmac cracked and broken and the holes filled with random ice. The inclines are seriously sharp and the drops potentially terminal, yet the car is a revelation.

>With sympathetic inputs of throttle and minimal use of the brakes it goes about its task with relish, virtually steering itself across the slush with occasional yet unintrusive dabs of traction control. Even when you floor it there’s decent grip.

>The steering is a freshly sharpened delight, and the progression of the brakes operates at near Porsche levels of balance. A foray onto a snow-covered ice track underlines the poetry of the chassis, allowing you to go hard and safe with Dynamic Stability Control behind you, but offering a pliable, slidey treat in hooligan mode with DSC and its optional ‘sub-function’ – Dynamic Traction Control – switched off. Feels almost rear-wheel drive.

+ MINI Convertible Cooper S / Car