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New MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Convertible
At the 2009 North American International Auto Show

2009 MINI Cooper S convertible.

The new MINI Cooper S convertible: evolutionary change.

APN

16 January 2009.

Arriving for its world debut, the new MINI Convertible is one of the chic stars of the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit (public days from 17 to 25 January 2009), alongside the electric MINI E (see the MINI E presentation) and the rest of the MINI portfolio.

Entering the U.S. market this March, the MINI Convertible (or cabriolet, as some might prefer to call it) is available from the start in the MINI Cooper S Convertible (128 kW/175 hp) and the MINI Cooper Convertible (88 kW/120 hp) versions. Compared with their respective predecessors, both offer enhanced performance on less fuel and lower emissions.

Other highlights at MINI are the 2009 MINI Hatch and MINI Clubman, in addition to the latest additions to the range, the MINI John Cooper Works and the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman. Both are powered by a 155 kW/211 hp four-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct gasoline injection.

Out of a total production volume of some 164,000 MINI Convertibles of the first generation, more than 37,000 units (about 23%) were sold in the United States.

MINI says it new convertible comes with improved design, suspension, performance and a new, retractable rollover safety system. The roof opens or closes fully automatically within 15 seconds, at the press of a button. Even while driving at a speed of up to 30 km/h or 20 mph, the soft top (more details) folds back at the press of a button.

The optionally available Always-Open Timer next to the rev counter shows the driver and passengers the time they have spent driving with the roof down... for those who love statistics to such a point.

Engines - The new MINI Convertible will be launched with two versions of the BMW / PSA (Peugeot - Citroën) jointly developed engine:

No tonneau cover, as the outer skin of the roof faces upwards.

1 - MINI Cooper Convertible: 88 kW/120 hp 1.6-litre, normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, with fully variable valve management developed on the basis of the BMW Group’s Valvetronic technology. It accelerates to 100 km/h or 62 mph in 9.8 seconds and has a top speed of 198 km/h or 123 mph. Fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 5.7 litres/100 kilometres (41.1 U.S. mpg - 49.33 imperial mpg), and the CO2 rating is 127 grams per kilometre.

2 - MINI Cooper S Convertible: the same 1.6-litre four-cylinder power unit but with maximum output of 128 kW/175 hp thanks to the twin-scroll turbocharger and direct gasoline injection, accelerating to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.4 seconds, Top speed is 222 km/h or 138 mph. Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 6.4 litres (36.6 U.S mpg, or 43.93 imp. mpg), and the emission rating is 153 grams per kilometre.

Standard 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Both engine variants come as standard with the latest technologies for reducing both fuel consumption and emissions, including Brake Energy Regeneration as well as Auto Start Stop and a gearshift point indicator on the 6-speed manual gearbox models.

Benefiting from this efficient drive technology, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on the new MINI Convertible are reduced by up to 23 per cent compared with the cars’ respective predecessors.

Both Convertible versions will be available with the standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional six-speed automatic one. With the automatic transmission, the driver can shift gears individually in the manual mode by means of paddles on the steering wheel

The driver can open the soft top with the remote control.

At the same time the suspension is significantly enhanced and upgraded over the former model. The electromechanical power steering, the powerful brake system and DSC Dynamic Stability Control are all standard.

As an option, Dynamic Stability Control may be further upgraded by the DTC optimised traction mode available exclusively on the MINI as the only front-wheel-drive car with this technology and an electrical locking function on the drive wheel differential.

Safety is further enhanced by the new rollover system moving up electromechanically whenever required. The single-piece rollbar rests almost out of sight behind the rear seats, moving up within fractions of a second only when the electronic safety control registers the risk of a rollover.

The rear seats backrest can be split in one or two parts.

Design: Compared with the former MINI generation, the new design is rather evolutionary, with chiselled body surfaces giving the new Convertible a more dynamic look.

A chrome bar extending round the body horizontally at shoulder level connects the body of the car with the roof and windows. The proportions of the car with short overhangs front and rear, larger wheel cut-outs, the height of the waistline and other design features remain characteristic of the brand.

Both versions come with a hexagon radiator grille and large round headlights with integrated direction indicators in typical MINI style.

The MINI Cooper S Convertible is recognisable by its powerdome rising up 20 millimetres or almost 0.8", the stylised opening on the engine compartment lid, and the hexagonal grid pattern on the radiator grille as well as the extra-large lower air intake scoop.

Mini Cooper convertible (white) and Cooper S (yellow).

On the MINI Cooper Convertible the radiator grille boasts a chrome frame and three horizontal, chrome-plated bars. The edges on the lower air intake scoop flow slightly upwards, with both the MINI Cooper S Convertible and the MINI Cooper Convertible featuring positioning light units on either side of the lower air intake also housing the optionally available fog lamps.

The rear section is characterised by horizontal lines running parallel to one another. The rear lid of the new MINI Convertible opening up to the bottom comes with hinges mounted on the inside, giving the entire rear section a smooth and homogeneous surface.

The rear lights are somewhat larger than on the former model. As on the MINI Hatch, they are surrounded by chrome frames disconnected from the lights themselves.

The sporting character of the MINI Cooper S Convertible is emphasised further at the rear by dual tailpipes in the middle, the large air intake in the rear dam, and the two-piece rear fog lamp.

Soft top - With the roof closed the MINI Convertible comes with the proportions typical of the car, and a sporting look emphasised by the low roofline.

A wind-tight and hard-wearing textile material rests firmly on the roof bars made of steel and aluminium, thus avoiding change in shape or bulging effect even at high speeds.

All-round visibility with the roof closed is improved over the former model thanks to the slightly larger side windows and the newly conceived, retractable rollbar. This single-piece rollbar moving up and down as required runs across the entire width of the car just below the rear headrests, thus offering the driver unrestricted visibility without any obstruction to the rear.

Mini Cooper convertible (white) and Cooper S (yellow).

The rear window is connected to the soft top by seals on the inside, thus closing flush with the surface of the roof. Made of glass, the rear window may be heated electrically to eliminate misting or icing effect. As an option, the new MINI Convertible is also available with a heated windscreen.

The soft roof opens and closes completely within 15 seconds, with fully automatic, electrohydraulic control. After the roof has opened, it folds down into the rear end of the car. Since the outer skin of the open roof faces upwards, there is no need for a tonneau cover.

The opening and closing mechanism is activated by a toggle switch on the front roof frame, and may be initiated at road speeds of up to 30 km/h or 20 mph. The driver can even open the soft top before setting out by means of the remote control integrated in the ignition key.

The window bars and side windows are retracted electrically as soon as the soft roof starts to move back in a fully automated process.

The closing process takes place in exactly the opposite order.

Opening and closing are performed in a continuous flow, as long as the driver keeps the switch on the roof frame or the button on the remote control pressed down. This also allows him / her to interrupt the movement of the soft roof in any position. By briefly pressing a separate button, the driver can also lower the four side windows together while the roof remains closed.

Sliding roof function: may be activated below 120 km/h (75 mph).

A Sliding roof function on the new MINI Convertible allows to move back the front section of the soft top by up to 40 centimetres or approximately 16 inches, also by pressing the switch on the front roof frame. The sliding roof function may be activated at speeds of up to 120 km/h or 75 mph.

Passive safety - To provide the additional strength and stability needed in an open-air car, the newly constructed floorpan as well as A-pillars and side-sills are reinforced to a higher standard than on the closed versions.

The new MINI Convertible comes with standard frontal airbags and side head/thorax airbags integrated in the outer flanks of the front seat backrest and protecting both the head, the upper body and the hips of the occupants in the event of a side collision.

All four seats feature three-point inertia-reel seat belts with additional belt force limiters and optimised belt tensioners on the front seats.

The safety system in the MINI Convertible also comprises the rollover sensor activating the new rollbar as well as the belt latch tensioners and the head/thorax airbags in the event of a rollover. Interacting with the reinforced windscreen frame, the new rollbar moves up electromechanically within 150 milliseconds whenever required.

Newly constructed floorpan and reinforced A-pillars and sills.

Interior - Through its design and construction, the new rollbar enhances not only safety, but also the everyday practicality. Made of one single piece of aluminium, the rollbar extends across the entire width of the interior behind the rear seats. The two ends of the rollbars rest in holders moving up the entire safety unit electromechanically whenever required. In its basic position, on the other hand, the rollbar is no higher than the rear headrests, thus remaining outside of the driver’s area of visibility in looking to the rear.

Designed as a single-piece element, the rollbar furthermore serves to integrate a large through-loading facility between the luggage and the passenger compartment, giving additional modularity.

Easy Load system with the rear seats backrest folded down.

Depending on requirements, the rear-seat backrest folds down either in a 50:50 subdivision or completely from right to left. With the roof closed, the luggage compartment capacity is 660 litres or 23.3 cubic, feet, exceeding the capacity available in the former model by 55 litres or 1.94 cubic feet. Maximum load, in turn, is up by 30 kg (66 lb) to 430 kg (948 lb).

Like its predecessor, the new MINI Convertible comes with an Easy-Load system. With the rear lid swivelling down, the entire lid also serves as a storage tray able to carry a load of up to 80 kg or176 lb.

The rear roof frame swivels up by approximately 35°, to enhance the luggage compartment opening for easier loading of bulky objects.

Open roof: luggage capacity is reduced from 660 to 125 litres.

With the roof open, luggage capacity is reduced to 125 litres or 4.4 cubic feet, 5 litres more than in the former model. As long as the roof is closed, the parcel shelf (resting on two guide rails and holding the roof when open) swivels up to the top, increasing luggage capacity to 170 litres or 6 cubic feet, also 5 litres more than on the former model.

Option - The range of options for customising the new MINI Convertible has also been extended with new body colours, three different colour and trim variants on the roof and a number of upholstery options, interior surfaces and trim bars.

The new convertible is also available with a new wind deflector to reduce air swirl within the interior. Fitted in position behind the front seats, the wind deflector moves up in one operation.

The wind deflector moves up in one operation.

An optional Lights Package includes additional footwell and exit lights as well as discreet light sources around the centre console. Ambient illumination included in the package sets a particular highlight in the interior with a discreet “waterfall” light effect from above and indirectly illuminating the centre console, the door pockets and the door handle shells, as well as the side panels at the rear. At the touch of a button, the driver or passengers can vary the mood generated by the ambient lights from warm orange to sporting blue.

The new convertible comes optionally with either air conditioning or automatic climate control. The latter one comprises a special convertible mode activated automatically as soon as the roof is opened. In the convertible mode the temperature set by the driver and passengers is consistently maintained even under the influence of the wind.

The standard audio system comes with a CD player and six loudspeakers. When ordered with a navigation system, the display is positioned beneath the central instrument. To choose the functions presented in the display the driver uses a special joystick on the centre console.

External music players may be integrated in the audio systems. Using the AUX port fitted as standard, the driver or passengers are able to play music stored on an MP3 player, via the audio system.

A special interface for full integration of an Apple iPod is likewise available as an accessory, allowing the selection of music files via the audio controls (other accessories and options are available).

Like the MINI Hatch and the MINI Clubman, the new MINI Convertible may also be upgraded by fitting entertainment and navigation systems. The controls for the audio system and the 6.5-inch TFT coloured display for the optional navigation unit are housed in the central circular instrument.

Mini Cooper Convertible "Always-Open Timer" indicator.

Mini Cooper Convertible "Always-Open Timer" indicator.

For statistics lovers, the new MINI Convertible is also available as an option with the Always-Open Timer. Positioned to the left of the rev counter, the Always-Open Timer displays how long the car has been driven with the roof down. This instrument is activated once the driver starts the engine and the soft top is fully open. An analogue indicator moving on a scale from 0 – 60 then counts the time spent driving in the open air in minutes. After one hour, the indicator moves back to its starting point and the first LED light on a six-light scale will come on within the circular instrument. In all, therefore, the Always-Open Timer is able to present an overall driving period in the open air of 6 hours and 59 minutes.

The period spent driving with the roof open is also determined by the on-board computer, an indicator in the lower section of the rev counter allowing the user to check out both an interim reading and the overall time spent driving in the open air. And like on a trip counter, the driver is able to re-set the interim result.

The MINI Cooper Convertible comes as standard on 15-inch light-alloy wheels with 175/65 R 15 tyres. The MINI Cooper S Convertible runs on 16-inch light-alloy wheels and 195/55 R 16 runflat tyres.

Both models are optionally available with exclusive 17-inch rims in Black Star Bullet Design.

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