The nights growing long and the weather is getting cold yet the JCW Roadster continues to soldier on. When we originally pitched the idea to MINI of running a Roadster on longterm, the idea was to see if it was plausible as a year round car. While the snow hasn’t hit the ground yet (in Chicago) we can report that our love affair with the soft top hasn’t slowed.

The rattles remain unabated but the severity isn’t as great as I had expected given the temps – anywhere from 30-45F. The cabin, while not nearly as insulated as a coupe or hatch, does warm up quickly. The combination of heated seats and a robust heating system make the Roadster quickly comfortable. That said a heated steering wheel wouldn’t be out of place on a $45K car. We expect the next MINI to offer this.

I’ve snuck a few open top days in with the temps hovering in the high 30’s and low 40’s. The key is to do it in town and keep the highway time down to a minimum. With that said the car creates a fairly strong warm zone between the seats and the heaters running close to or at full blast. We’ll see how far into winter we can go with this.

Low temps also means low traction on our summer runflats. That should be partially solved when the winters go which should be coming any day. Once in place, our Roadster should be fully ready for a Chicago winter.

On the reliability front all is well as the car just turned 8,000 miles. Beyond the rattles (not uncommon in a relatively simple soft-top convertible) there’s simply no issues to speak of.