Now that the very last of the first-gen convertible MINI Coopers has officially rolled down the assembly line, all eyes turn their attention towards the new R57 model. There are some undisguised spy shots floating around, though all but the most die-hard fans would be hard-pressed to spot the differences. The top works the same, featuring the same partly opened 'sunroof' style and the fully opened wind-in-you-hair mode of the last model. Also, the top does not stow away like many modern convertibles, instead sitting atop the rear deck like many of the classics MINIs. Also conspicuously absent is the large external roll-bar of the old model, replaced with a single pop-up unit for '09. It's under the skin where the changes are most apparent, most notably the new 1.6-liter BMW/PSA/Peugeot-Citroen mill. Expect standard Cooper and up-level Cooper S models to make it to the U.S. with the Cooper One and Cooper D added for Europe.
Rumor has it that MINI is set to debut the new '09 'vert at the Detroit Auto Show in January. We expect production to be fully ramped up so that customer deliveries will begin in earnest before summer. And if you don't have your order in yet, expect a very long wait.

[Source: Auto Express]

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