Anyone who purchases the forthcoming 2009 Mini Cooper Convertible because it’s fashionable, rather than for a genuine appreciation of open air motoring, risks being revealed as a poser.
Expected in showrooms by the end of March 2009, the next-generation Mini Convertible features something called an Openometer. Located right next to the standard odometer, the Openometer records and displays the distance the Mini has been driven with its folding soft top open. An owner who seldom lowers the roof to feel sun on the face and wind in the hair won’t be able to fake it.
The 2009 Mini Convertible is based on the second-generation Mini Cooper Hardtop, introduced in 2007. As such, the new Convertible is slightly larger than its predecessor, with a more rigid structure, revised engine-transmission combinations and more room inside.
The primary difference between the Hardtop and Convertible, of course, is the convertible’s folding top. Yet that feature requires some serious re-engineering, so while the two models are identical from the windshield forward, the Convertible body is different from the windshield back. Most of the changes are aimed at limiting vibration and twisting in the absence of a fixed steel roof, and the Convertible therefore adds weight. Still, Mini says the new Convertible is only about 60 pounds heavier than the Hardtop, and its body is nearly as resistant to flexing. This Mini Convertible is also 22 pounds lighter than its predecessor.