Mini Cooper S Roadster Review: Chopped top

Mini Cooper S Roadster Review: Chopped top

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
19 May 2012
What we like:
pros
Quirky looks
pros
fun character
pros
reasonably sprightly performance
pros
looks good with the roof down
pros
minimal scuttle shake
What we dislike:
cons
Slight torque steer
cons
unrefined character
cons
manual roof fiddly to operate

Up front, the Roadster interior shares everything with the standard Cooper S which means there’s a unique looking dash with a centrally mounted speedometer that is as big as a full sized pan pizza, toggle switches and climate control switches arranged in the shape of the Mini logo among other notable details. The lower roofline doesn’t come at the expense of driver and passenger comfort, though. Sure, there is slightly less headroom but there’s still more than enough for the average sized adult.

The Mini hatchback is never known to be a practical proposition. The Coupe and the Roadster take this impractical characteristic a step further – it seats only two. There are no seats behind the driver and passenger; instead the boot area has been extended to behind the seats, which means the Roadster actually has a bigger boot than the Cabriolet. Access though, is limited by the narrow boot opening and there’s no such thing as a split/fold rear back rest to extend the boot space further like in the Cabriolet.

Unlike the Cabriolet’s single-piece roll bar situated behind the rear seats, the Roadster features two fixed roll hoops behind each of the front seats that are not only aesthetically pleasing but according to Mini, also offers rollover protection. An intriguing and unique feature inside the Cabriolet is the ‘Always-Open’ Timer. It’s a simple instrument next to the rev counter that records the time you spend driving with the top down. The ‘Always-Open’ device certainly epitomizes the Mini’s fun character, but disappointingly isn’t a standard feature in the open top Roadster.

Like all recent Cooper S models, the Roadster comes with the Mini Visual Boost infotainment system which features a big LCD screen within the even bigger centrally mounted speedometer, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod connectivity and so on. Other standard kit for the Cooper S Roadster include Xenon headlamps, rain sensor, DSC with DTC, 17-inch Twin Blade style alloy wheels, leather upholstery and so on.

The Roadster is a much better looking topless model than the Cabriolet and has a more dynamic character overall as well. Like the rest of the Mini range, the Cooper S Roadster is an expensive ‘toy’ for the lifestyle types. There are certainly cheaper rivals out there but none possess the fun loving character the Mini Roadster has so much in spades.

Credits: Story by Mark Yeo Photos by Yang and Raymond Lai

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