New drop-top Mini won't be in showrooms until March. But here's an early peek at how it'll look, plus full details.

How cool are you – literally? If you buy a new-generation Mini Cooper Convertible, you’ll be able to tell at a glance.

An option on the new car is something BMW calls the ‘openometer’. It’s a read out that shows how much time the car’s been driven open to the skies. It’ll cost extra, but it’ll show how much of a fresh-air lover and all-weather open-top driver you are. Until now, soft-top Mini buyers have bought the first-generation car, although steel-roofed Minis were treated to a makeover two years ago, which included a new range of more economical engines. These improvements are now available on the cloth-capped version, which will cost from £15,995 when it reaches its first customers next March.

In the four years since it first turned a wheel , the Oxford-built Mini has become the UK’s favourite small soft-top. The new one comes as a Cooper or Cooper S, each offering exceptional fuel economy, aided by BMW’s stop-start technology, which turns off the engine if the car is stopped in traffic and the gears put to neutral. Dipping the clutch and selecting gear restarts the motor. The new Cooper convertible returns up to 49.6mpg and emits 137g/km of carbon dioxide, while the more powerful Cooper S returns 44.1mpg or 153g/km CO2.

Two new colours will be offered exclusively on this model, Interchange Yellow (pictured) and Horizon Blue. Customers can also pick between a black, blue or brown hood.

Stephen Jury


December 4, 2008

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