WOW Review: The MINI Roadster

We put the MINI roadster to the test on the terrain it was designed for – the long, windy and endless open road.

The MINI Roadster, the sixth model to be produced by the innovative MINI marque, is a powerful car that promises a safe, comfortable and stylish drive. The MINI Roadster can be described as an adaptation of the original MINI Cooper with extended boot space and definite sports car appeal. You get that race car feel from its two doors, slick interior and racing stripes that stretch up the bonnet and down the back of the boot. Then there’s the active rear spoiler which extends as soon as you reach 80 km/h, making the car more aerodynamic.

If you’re a girl who likes to take in all the sights and feel the wind in your hair, then you’ll love the soft-top roof that opens and closes at the touch of a button. As the brand’s very first open-top two-seater it sets the pace for a youthful, adventurous and trendy lifestyle, yet still has the space you need for that spontaneous road trip with its 240-litre load compartment.

As you’d expect from MINI, you can look forward to a boost of power when you put your foot down, and, in the manual version, there’s no need to change gears when you approach steep hills. These zippy vehicles come with a choice of three different petrol engines that will make any long-distance travelling a breeze: 90 kW in the MINI Cooper Roadster, 135 kW in the MINI Cooper S Roadster, and, most fierce of all, a 155 kW engine in the MINI John Cooper Works Roadster (the equivalent of Christian Louboutins in the shoe world)!

Of course no set of wheels is complete without the necessary safety features – and the Roadster ticks this box in a big way with both passive and active protection. You’ll get electric power steering with speed-sensitive power assistance, and dynamic stability control as standard, so that you can glide around those tight corners and manage any slippery surfaces with ease. The new MINI also has superior handling thanks to its improved chassis technology. There are roll-over bars behind the seats too, as well as built-in airbags and a sturdy windscreen frame, all of which add to the passengers’ safety.

But don’t be mistaken – the Roadster is as comfy as she is cute. All three models offer electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, park distance control and height-adjustable seats. The Cooper S and top-of-the-range John Cooper Works also have standard air-conditioning for those sweltering summer days.

Then, for sheer luxury, MINI has included some handy connectivity features to keep you in touch with the rest of the world, no matter where your journey takes you. Rock out with the audio system that includes a MP3-compatible CD player and AUX IN connection, and use the large, central dial for instant Internet access, to look up a contact from your address book, or to find your destination in a jiffy with the interactive GPS map. The overall modern design and use of the latest technology make the Roadster a trendy driving companion that takes the MINI legacy to new heights.

Pricing (including VAT but excluding CO2 emissions tax)

  • MINI Cooper, 6-speed manual: R295 000
  • MINI Cooper S, 6-speed manual: R349 000
  • MINI John Cooper Works, 6-speed manual: R397 000