Click above for a hi-res gallery of the MINI Cabrio

Well, here's one car we'll all be able to cover in Detroit come January. BMW has officially announced that the second-generation MINI Cabrio will make its debut at the North American International Auto Show. No need to wait to place orders; you can do that now. The Cooper ragtop is priced at $24,550 while the Cooper S convertible costs $3,000 more. Customer delivery kicks off on March 28.

So, what's new? Well, for one, the new Cabrio looks like the current-gen Cooper. Likewise, it shares the hardtop cars' 1.6L engines -- 118 hp NA for the Cooper, and 172 hp turbo for the Cooper S. The Euro-market cars get BMW Efficient Dynamics features including brake regeneration and stop/start. The U.S.? Not so much. Out back, the fold-down tailgate's hinges are now internal, giving the car's tush a smoother look. The fixed roll hoops of the current car have been replaced by a pop-up system behind the back seat. This makes for a good-looking, clean top-down profile and should improve rearward visibility for the driver. Speaking of the top, it can be operated at speeds up to 20 mph or so, and it fully disappears in just 15 seconds. The sliding sunroof feature can be utilized at even higher speeds -- up to 60 mph or so. Stability control is standard equipment.

Inside, the current MINI instrument panel is employed, and drivers with a hankering for extraneous gimmickery can order up the "Openometer", a secondary gauge that mounts next to the tach. It monitors how much time you clock with the top down. Yeah, yeah -- useless. You know people are gonna eat it up. Follow the jump for a video and MINI's full PR (now updated with the U.S. version).

Related Gallery2009 MINI Cooper Convertible

[Source: MINI]



MINI Cabrio

THE NEW MINI CONVERTIBLE
11/28/2008

The new MINI Convertible.
Description in Brief.

The new MINI Convertible.
Description in Brief.

* The next-generation model of the celebrated four-seat convertible which achieves some 164,000 in worldwide sales. The new MINI Convertible embodies the thrill of open-air motoring in unmistakably MINI style. Raising the high standard set by its predecessor, the new MINI Convertible features improvements in the areas of design, quality, handling, performance, efficiency, and functionality.

* Evolutionary development of the car's design: The two-door body style and soft-top roof deliver unique proportions, sleek lines, and truly individual style. Design cues clearly link the new convertible to the MINI family of vehicles.

* Refined overall appearance highlighting the stretched silhouette and ensuring enhanced presence from both front and rear. Expertly modeled body surfaces, low-roofline for roadster-like flair, concealed rollover protection bar. Signature MINI headlamps and taillights. Four-pivot joints for the luggage compartment top are mounted inside the car to ensure a harmonious and sleek appearance.

* Electrohydraulic-powered roof with the sliding roof function comes standard, and allows the driver to open and close the soft top while the car is in motion up to 20 mph. The standard Openometer feature records the time spent travelling with the roof down. A wider range of paint colors, roof colors, wheels, and upholstery and interior trim choices provide endless opportunities for personalization. Also, model-specific optional extras and special equipment are available.

* Newly developed, electromechanically operated rollover bar situated behind the rear seats, is activated by the car's central safety electronics in the event of a rollover. The innovative safety bar allows for optimum visibility to the rear and sides of the car. An optional loading storage between the luggage and passenger compartments expands the cargo space.

* The flexible storage system delivers outstanding functionality. The easy-load system includes: an expanded luggage compartment opening, rear seat backrests that can be folded down and locked into position, and a pivoting, two-position shelf for packages.

* New generation of four-cylinder gasoline engines with Twin-Scroll turbochargers or fully variable valve management. Engine capacity 1,598 cc, max output 118 hp (MINI Cooper Convertible) and 172 hp (MINI Cooper S Convertible). Both engine variants are equipped with a number of technical features that maximize fuel economy and minimize emissions.

* MINI's signature front-wheel drive, go-kart-like handling with refined suspension technology tuned specifically to the MINI Convertible. Electromechanical Power Steering (EPS). Brake system with anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Brake Assistant, as well as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Start-Off Assistant are all standard features. Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) with Electronically Differential Lock Control (EDLC) feature on the drive wheels enhances traction under acceleration, and is available as an option or as part of the Sport Package.

* Crash-optimized body structure with newly conceived floorpan and reinforced A-pillars and side-sills. Body stiffness further improved over the former model, with a reduction in vehicle weight by 22 lb. Three-point inertia-reel seat belts on all seats, with belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters at the front, frontal airbags, head/thorax airbags at the side integrated in the seat backrest, rollover sensor masterminding the rollover safety system, airbags and belt latch tensioners with for optimized functionality. Run-flat tires and Tire Pressure Monitor.

* MINI Cooper S Convertible:
Four-cylinder gasoline engine with Twin-Scroll turbocharger and
direct fuel injection.
Capacity: 1,598 cc, max output: 172 hp at 5,500 rpm.
Max torque: 177 lb-ft from 1,600–5,000 rpm
(192 lb-ft with Overboost).
Acceleration 0–60mph: 7.0 sec Manual, 7.2 Automatic, Top speed: 138 mph Manual, 135 mph Automatic.

* MINI Cooper Convertible:
Four-cylinder gasoline engine with VALVETRONIC technology.
Capacity: 1,598 cc, max output: 118 hp at 6,000 rpm.
Max torque: 114 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm.
Acceleration (0–60 mph): 8.9 sec Manual, 10.2 Automatic, Top speed: 124 mph Manual, 119 mph Automatic.
Consistently Open:
The new MINI Convertible.

The driving pleasure and individual style that are MINI's signatures have been tapped to create the next-generation MINI Convertible. With its evolutionary design and increased functionality, specially tuned suspension, powerful, efficient engines and enhanced safety technology, the latest version of the four-seat convertible raises the bar.

New color choices and equipment features add up to endless options for personalization. The premium materials and finishes enhance the MINI Convertible – the only open-air car in its class – even further.

The new MINI Convertible will make its worldwide debut in January at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Orders for the MINI Convertible are being taken now; the price for the MINI Cooper Convertible is $24,550 and for the MINI Cooper S Convertible $27,450, including the $650 destination and handling charge. Delivery of the first MINI Convertibles will begin on March 28, 2009.

The new MINI Convertible's durable soft-top with integrated sliding roof function reliably protects driver and passengers from the elements when it is up. Allowing for spontaneous open-air motoring, the soft top lowers automatically in 15 seconds flat, even when the car is in motion up to 20 mph. The unique Openometer next to the tachometer challenges the driver to log as many top-down miles as possible by recording the hours spent open-air motoring.

The new MINI Convertible offers outstanding versatility with its Easy-Load Function, folding rear-seat backrests, and generously-sized loading between the luggage and passenger compartments, which increases the car's cargo space to 23.10 cu ft.

This level of versatility, unparalleled in the convertible segment is enabled by the innovative design and construction of the rollover protection bar. The new MINI Convertible comes with a single-piece rollover protection bar behind the rear seats that spans the entire interior width of the car, without obstructing the driver's visibility, and moves into position automatically in the event of a potential rollover.

The new MINI Convertible will be available in two engine variants. The MINI Cooper Convertible will come equipped with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine featuring fully variable valve management for maximum output of 118 hp at 6,000 rpm. The performance-oriented MINI Cooper S Convertible will be powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with a Twin-Scroll turbocharger and direct gasoline injection delivering 172 hp at an engine speed of 5,500 rpm.

From the start, the MINI Cooper S Convertible and the MINI Cooper Convertible will be equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox featured as standard with optional six-speed automatic transmission. At the same time, the new MINI Convertible owes its nimble handling characteristics to suspension technology that has been significantly upgraded and improved over the former model. Its sophisticated wheel suspension, precise electromechanical power steering, powerful brake system and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) – all standard features – allow the MINI convertible to set a new standard for agility and safety.