If you want a new MINI and like the wind in your hair you’ll need to get a petrol MINI Cooper or a Countryman. MINI has eliminated the retractable sunroof on new Cooper and Aceman electric models moving to a fixed, single pane of glass. But it’s not all bad. There are a few good reasons MINI went this route and even a few benefits.

Why has MINI chosen to eliminate the ability to open the expansive glass sunroof? Several factors likely play a role. For one, having a sunroof that opens increases drag and reduces range. It’s also not the worst idea to take the small electric motor out of the roof, and simplifying the design will remove weight exactly where you’d want to reduce it.

The move will also reduce long-term issues like leaking or even rattles that have plagued some cars in the past. Just ask R50 or R56 owners about leaking sunroofs, for instance.

Finally, there’s the cost factor for both MINI and the consumer. It allows MINI to reduce cost and (theoretically) pass that savings on to the consumer with a lower option price.

But the real deciding factor was how owners used their cars and (didn’t) use their sunroofs. In the research that MINI did, they found that the majority of owners never or rarely opened the sunroof. With that in mind, it would seem the vast majority of owners would be better off with a simpler, more expansive pane of glass than with the previous retractable sunroof.

While we love the feature of opening the sunroof and will miss the option, we wonder how many will truly even notice.

Why The Change for Only the J01 MINI Cooper and J05 MINI Aceman?

Simply put, the J01 and J05 are clean sheet new designs for MINI which gave them an opportunity to rethink much more. The F66 MINI Cooper is a heavily refreshed F56 and thus carries over things like sunroof components. And while the U25 isn’t what we would call a refresh, its platform is still based on the original UKL that underpinned the F60. That means many of the components under the skin are similar to what we’ve seen before. In this case that extends to the sunroof.

What About Sun Protection and Sunroof Delete?

MINI has gone back to the drawing board in sun protection and moved away from the previous, translucent sun-shade. In its place there is now a standard black-out shade that does a much better job of blocking out the sun. But the bad news for those in the US who want a simpler, lighter MINI is that MINI USA won’t be offering a sunroof delete on the F66 MINI Cooper and MINI Countryman.

What do you think? Is this a welcome change when it comes to keeping things simple or a backward move? Let us know in the comments.