1 Mar 2009
MINI finally introduced the Convertible version of the new R56 Cooper and Cooper S in March 2009, two years after the hard-top versions hit Australian shores.
Known internally as the R57, the new Convertible benefited from all the mechanical advantages of the second-generation BMW-developed Mini including new engines, improved safety and more advanced suspension.
A more practical improvement came in the form of the split-fold rear seats and an opening through to the boot allowing for larger items and bigger loads. Mini said folding down the rear seats opened up a cargo capacity of 600 litres, which was a dramatic improvement over the paltry 170 litres of space in the boot.
While the new R56 Covertible had a range of improvements, the powerplants were the most significant. The previous Chrysler-sourced 1.6-litre naturally aspirated and 1.6 supercharged engines were out, replaced by naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines of the same size that derived from a partnership between BMW and Peugeot (for the 206 and 307).
The engine in the standard Cooper produced 88kW of power at 6000rpm and 160Nm of torque at 4250rpm, enabling it to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 9.8 seconds. Its fuel consumption figure came in at 6.1L/100km.
The Cooper S engine, which benefited from direct petrol injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger, managed to pump out 128kW at 5500rpm and 240Nm at 1600rpm, although an overboost function released another 20Nm for short bursts. This was enough for the Cooper S Cabrio to run the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.4 seconds. Its fuel consumption figure was 7.9L/100km.
When it comes to safety, all Mini Cabrios came standard with traction control and electronic stability control as well as front and side head/thorax airbags.
When it was new