It took MINI a couple of years, but they finally succeeded in sawing the top off their third generation hatch to create the new 2016 Convertible that will have its world premiere at next week’s Tokyo Motor Show.
Just like the closed-top hatchback, the new Convertible evolves, or if you will, takes a slightly more mature approach on the same design theme used on all three-generations of the series since it was reborn under the umbrella of the BMW Group.
There’s a more pronounced front grille together with larger and more modern-looking headlamps and tail lamps, but even so, you’ll have to try hard to tell it apart from its predecessor, unless you take out the tape measure, as the new Convertible has grown 98mm in length, 44mm in width, and 1mm in height at 3,821mm, 1,727mm and 1,415mm respectively.
It also rides on wider tracks (+42mm front and +34mm rear) and a longer wheelbase (+28mm), with MINI promising a 25 percent increase in luggage space at 215 liters with the top closed and 160 liters when you’re enjoying the sun. Speaking of the textile soft top with the multi-layer structure, it now sports a new and quieter mechanism as well as a sliding roof function, while it can open or close at speeds of up to 30km/h (19mph) in 18 seconds. A new customization option for the top is a Union Jack pattern woven into the fabric of the roof.
Unsurprisingly, the Convertible shares its powertrains with the close-top model, though performance is slightly worse as structural changes to the chassis and the electric roof mechanism added around 120kg (265 pounds) in weight.
The Convertible will offer two gasoline engine choices at launch, including a 136PS (134hp) 1.5-liter 3-cylinder petrol for the Cooper and a 192PS (189hp) 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol for the Cooper S, with Europe also getting a third variant, the 116PS (114hp) 1.5-liter 3-cylinder diesel for the Cooper D. More powerplants, including a stronger 170PS (168hp) diesel and a 231PS (228hp) 2.0-liter turbo four for the John Cooper Works edition are planned for the near future. Six-speed manuals and optional six-speed automatics will drive the front wheels on all models.