2012 Mini Cooper Roadster Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 01, 2012
  • First 2-seat convertible in Mini's history
  • Manual, rather than power, convertible top
  • Steeper windshield angle than Cooper Convertible


Mini bakes another new model in its Cooper kitchen, this one a 2-seat roadster. The 2012 Mini Cooper Roadster offers instant access to sunshine and blue skies thanks to its manual convertible top.

Exterior Features

The new 2012 Mini Cooper Roadster looks very similar to other Mini Cooper models. A "three-box" design, according to Mini, the new Cooper Roadster sits almost an inch lower than the Cooper Convertible, due in part to a steeper windshield angle. The Roadster's active rear spoiler deploys at speeds over 50 mph, and the trunk measures 8.5 cubic feet.

Interior Features

To carry longer items, like skis, the Mini Cooper Roadster is equipped with a pass-through from the trunk that helps to accommodate longer items. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, height-adjustable front seats, storage areas behind the seats, and a stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack. A whimsical Openometer gauge measures the total time spent driving with the top down.

Optional Features

Mini provides numerous ways to upgrade and tailor a Cooper Roadster to specific preferences. Start by selecting one of three trim levels. Then customize the car through Mini's catalog of paint and stripe colors, interior materials and trims, and menu of extra dealer-installed features.

Additionally, the Cooper Roadster can be equipped with Xenon adaptive headlights, a windstop installed between the seats, Comfort Access keyless entry and ignition, Harman/Kardon premium sound system, and a navigation system. Mini Connected is an available infotainment and telematics system providing access to Internet and social media applications, web radio, Google search, and RSS newsfeeds.

Under the Hood

One of three different engines, depending on trim, can be found under the hood of the 2012 Mini Cooper Roadster:

Base model: 1.6-liter I-4 with 121 horsepower and 114 lb.-ft. good for 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds with manual transmission, top speed of 124 mph, according to Mini. Transmission choice includes 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.

Cooper S Roadster: 1.6-liter I-4 with twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection. Power figures are 181 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. between 1,600 and 5,000 rpm. Engage the Overboost feature to access 192 lb.-ft. from 1,700 to 4,500 for short periods of time. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is achieved in 6.7 seconds, and the Cooper S Roadster has a top speed of 141 mph, according to Mini. Transmission choice includes 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.

John Cooper Works Roadster: Cooper S engine massaged to generate 208 horsepower and 192 lb.-ft. from 1,850 to 5,600 rpm (207 from 1,700 to 4,500 with Overboost). Acceleration from 0-60 mph is achieved in 6.3 seconds, and the vehicle has a top speed of 147 mph, according to Mini. A 6-speed manual is the only transmission choice.

Fuel Economy

All Cooper Roadsters require premium fuel. Fuel economy is dependent on model and transmission selected. Minimum city and maximum highway ranges are shown below:
  • Cooper Roadster: 27/35 mpg (city/highway)
  • Cooper S Roadster: 26/35 mpg
  • John Cooper Works Roadster: 25/33 mpg


Standard safety features on the 2012 Mini Cooper Roadster include stability control, four air bags (side air bags protect the head and thorax), strengthened windshield frame, and fixed polished aluminum rollover bars. Traction control is optional.

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