Mini Roadster Concept
23rd September, 2009
Mini evokes new fascination and a new experience time
and again. Each model in the range offers unique opportunities to enjoy driving pleasure and
Like the Mini Coupé Concept, now the Mini Roadster Concept sets a new trend for individual
mobility borne out by the brand. A purist vehicle concept, elegant design and fascinating, sporting
driving characteristics all come together in this unique car to offer the vision of an open
two-seater catering for the demands of a modern and self-confident target group.
The new concept car carries over the features typical of Mini to a new segment, the Mini designers
thus bringing out yet another attractive facet in the character of the brand. So the world debut of
the Mini Roadster Concept at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany will add a new perspective to
the future of the Mini brand, presenting yet another great path of development.
The Mini Roadster Concept takes up features typical of the brand and re-interprets these unique
strengths in a refreshingly new manner. Individual style, premium quality and a perfect match of
driving pleasure and efficiency just right in this day and age determine the 'character' of this
compact two-seater. And through its design alone, the Mini Roadster Concept reflects the focus on
maximum driving pleasure with nothing but the sky above.
The Mini Roadster Concept is clearly recognisable at very first sight as a Mini. At the same time,
with its two seats, a tight-fitting soft roof and innovative rear-end design, the new model opens up
new perspectives both in the context of the brand and in the segment of compact roadsters.
Mini Roadster Concept: making every trip a new experience.
Spontaneous pleasure is the stronghold of the Mini Roadster Concept. The car offers everything it
takes to provide a truly emotional experience also on short trips – and at the same time it urges
the enthusiast to escape the driving conditions encountered so often in city traffic.
Deliberately limited to two seats and optimised for weight, the concept clearly shows its
uncompromising agility right from the start. Its stylish look and the high-quality interior ambience
give this two-seater truly exclusive character, such innovations alone enabling the concept car to
aggressively meet the future challenges of modern mobility.
The existing range with all its diversity already proves the exceptional potential of the brand
in a most impressive manner. The Mini, Mini Clubman and Mini Convertible are already well-established
in the market as unique 'characters', embodying the driving pleasure of the brand in individual
style different on each model.
Ongoing enhancement of the model portfolio has already enabled Mini to reach additional target
groups, with the popularity of the brand constantly increasing over the years. Now the Mini Roadster
Concept provides new options to enjoy the agile handling, premium quality and individual flair of
the Mini in a new and unprecedented manner.
From the start the concept car naturally considers the possibilities to use the advanced engines
available in the Mini range – engines which stand out through their dynamic power and the efficient
use of fuel. The efficiency of the engines is combined with a whole range of further
efficiency-oriented technologies intended as part of the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy
and featured by Mini as MINIMALISM to ensure driving pleasure on less fuel and lower emissions.
To achieve a high standard of performance, the Mini Roadster Concept might possibly be powered
by the 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine already featured in the Mini Cooper S. Boasting
direct petrol injection, this power unit delivers maximum output of 128 kW and peak torque of 240
Newton metres increasing briefly with the Overboost function to 260 Newton metres.
With its spontaneous and direct response and smooth surge of power, this engine offers
everything it takes to boost this open two-seater to be amongst the top performers of the compact
Fifty years of Mini: strong tradition, promising future.
Presentation of the Mini Roadster Concept in the anniversary year of the brand combines a
retrospective view of the brand’s history with the great appeal of the current model range to offer
an outlook into the future. Introduction of the classic Mini fifty years ago hailed the advent of a
revolutionary vehicle concept destined for ongoing fame and popularity for decades to come. Now the
current models in the Mini range interpret the values of the brand in modern style, setting the
standards for driving pleasure, quality and flair in the small car segment. And as a vision
demonstrating the ongoing flexibility of this unique character, the Mini Roadster Concept presents
the potential of the brand both today and in the future.
The innovative body configuration of the Mini Roadster Concept is combined with the modern drive
technology of the current Mini models as well as the features of the brand developed over years and
decades. Hence, the study is the result of an ongoing development process opening up options also
for the years to come.
Exterior design: unique proportions, style of Mini.
The body design of the Mini Roadster Concept visualises the identity and innovative power of the
brand in a fascinating combination. The strong family resemblance is borne out above all at the
front end of the car through numerous details and through styling features characteristic of the
brand as a whole. At the same time the individual look of this unique two-seater is just as
unmistakable, provided by new proportions as well as the innovative design of the rear end.
An integrating factor bringing all models together is the design language of Mini, to be admired
on both the elements characteristic of the brand and on new, innovative features. In its design,
the Mini Roadster Concept is therefore different but nevertheless comes with all the flair and style
so well-known on the Mini. So in an incomparable manner, this concept car expresses the ability of
Mini design to bring out extroverted style with class and sophistication.
The new two-seater measures 3,714 millimetres in length and 1,683 millimetres in width. Height of
the car is 1,356 millimetres.
These dimensions, together with the special contours of the rear end, provide unique, sporting
and dynamic proportions. At the same time, again reflecting the typical look of the brand, the Mini
Roadster Concept comes with extra-short body overhangs front and rear accentuating the 'athletic'
stature of the car and alluding even at a standstill to the unique handling characterised by agility
and lauded as that go-kart feeling.
The front end is the same as on the Mini Convertible all the way to the A-pillars, while the
windscreen is strikingly low and raked to a greater angle. Particularly with the roof opened to the
back, this clearly brings out the purist openness of the car.
A short luggage compartment lid forms the rear panel behind the roof folding up into compact
dimensions and providing convenient access to the luggage compartment which is separated from the
passenger compartment. With the roof closed this gives the car a notchback look clearly
distinguishing the Mini Roadster Concept from the Mini Convertible. Unlike the production model,
therefore, the body of the concept car follows the so-called three-box philosophy.
Familiar resemblance at the front
The front view of the Mini Roadster Concept comes with all the characteristic features also
borne out by the four-seater models in the brand. Smoothly balanced contours on the bonnet with
large and equally smooth radii, large headlights, the homogeneous design of the radiator grille and
a wide air intake at the bottom provide that special look of Mini, an expression of flair.
Looking at the car from the front, however, you immediately realise a significant difference
from the Mini Convertible, the windscreen both lower and raked to a greater angle giving the Mini
Roadster Concept a very different look also from this perspective. The car is strikingly low and
stands out clearly as a sporting representative of the Mini brand.
The hexagon radiator grille and the large round headlights are unmistakable design elements
re-interpreting their counterparts on the classic Mini in new, modern style. The direction
indicators are integrated in the headlights, with the new three-dimensional surrounds for the
positioning lights and the foglamps directly below.
While on the Mini Roadster Concept the chrome radiator grille is the same as on the Mini Cooper S,
the inner section of the grille comes with bars in body colour at first sight distinguishing the
Mini Roadster Concept from the other members of the Mini family. A further point is that the bonnet
stripes continue into the radiator grille to provide an additional sporting feature.
The bonnet with its particularly striking curvature bearing reference to the power unit within,
as well as the stylised opening, are again the same as on the particularly powerful and fast
version of the Mini already lauded for its performance.
Powerful side view, tight-fitting soft roof
An attractive combination of design features typical of the brand and brand-new highlights also
characterises the side view of the Mini Roadster Concept. The front side panels come directly from
the Mini Convertible, just as the diagonal body joint of every Mini between the bonnet and the side
indicator surround again in the same style as on the Mini Cooper S provides an unmistakable sign of
distinction with historic roots. The original BMC Mini was characterised here by a visible welding
seam on the body.
The short, low-angle A-pillars merge gently into the roofline with the roof closed, while the
glazed part of the passenger cell referred to as the 'greenhouse' is a lot smaller than on the
current production models. This provides a low silhouette emphasising the sportiness and performance
of the car.
The high waistline accentuates the powerful 'character' of the car even more than on the current
production models. In conjunction with the large wheels and the black stripe extending round the
body at the bottom, this provides a particularly compact look, the 'muscular' surfaces on the body
and the powerful stance of the car on the road alluding to a very intense and extremely agile
Both open and closed, the concept car clearly stands out as a roadster, boasting an attractive
'waistline' slightly rising up to the rear.
The passenger compartment, limited to two seats, is protected whenever required on account of
wind and weather by a high-quality textile roof reduced in its dimensions to an absolute minimum.
The distance between the windscreen frame at the front and the rear end of the roof behind the
seats is deliberately kept to a minimum, with the soft roof merging smoothly into the body. The
low seating position for the driver and passenger nevertheless guarantees generous headroom at
The soft top on the roadster opens and closes manually in a simple process taking only a few
seconds thanks to the compact dimensions of the roof. The decision not to give the car a power
roof not only reduces the weight of the Mini Roadster Concept even further, but also adds to the
puristic flair of the car: This two-seater is an uncompromising companion for the enthusiast with
an active lifestyle, ensuring maximum driving pleasure under all conditions in close interaction
with the driver.
Innovative rear-end look
The soft roof of the Mini Roadster Concept rests low down in compact arrangement when open
behind the seats, merging smoothly and harmoniously with the straight waistline rising up slightly
all the way to the rear end of the Mini Roadster Concept. When closed, on the other hand, the
contours of the roof from a roadster-like roofline merging into the low rear end beneath the rear
The rear view is characterised by innovative design features clearly originating from the
design language typical of Mini. The side sections, rear air dam and boot lid all come together to
form a smooth and harmonious sculpture not only boasting the cascading style typical of the brand,
but also taking up existing elements in a new, unique look.
Increasing step-by-step in width from top to bottom, the rear view of the Mini Roadster Concept
gives the car a powerful stance on the road also from this angle, the wide track symbolising the
strong grip of the wheels for agility, a sporting style of motoring, and safe handling.
The rear light clusters surrounded by wide chrome frames in their upright arrangement are also
typical of the brand. The design of the wheel arches and the horizontal flow of the rear panel at
the top, on the other hand, take up the design language already to be admired at the front.
In its breakdown and configuration, the rear air dam again shows a clear resemblance to the
structure of the front air intake, featuring a diffuser split up into two elements for a smooth
and swirl-free flow of air beneath the car.
Impressively functional: large storage space and through-loading to the passenger compartment
The unusually large and generous luggage compartment beneath the short rear end in typical
roadster style offers lots of space for a car of this kind. Deliberately providing the car without
a rear seat, the designers of the Mini Roadster Concept offer additional options to take along even
large and bulky objects in the luggage compartment, thus optimising on the benefits offered by a
compact roadster with this concept.
With the soft roof of the Mini Roadster Concept resting directly behind the seats, luggage
capacity remains the same at 250 litres with the roof both open and closed. And thanks to the low
sill, loading the luggage compartment even with heavy and bulky objects is very easy and
Like the soft roof reduced in size to a minimum, the extra-large luggage compartment is the
result of the roadster concept implemented consistently on the car. At the same time the
function-oriented design of the new model in typical Mini style provides a range of carefully
conceived features setting the regular production models from Mini aside from their competitors
in the market.
This principle borne out on the current production models by features such as the Easy-Load
function on the Mini Convertible makes a lasting contribution to the substance of the car. The
result is a whole range of solutions unique in this segment and underlining the 'character' of
the Mini brand.
On the Mini Roadster Concept these features include through-loading from the passenger
compartment to the luggage compartment unique on such a compact roadster, the bulkhead between
the passenger compartment and the luggage compartment incorporating a lockable opening. This
gives the driver and passenger the opportunity to reach their travel items in the luggage
compartment while still in the car, thus keeping bags with, say, beverages, a CD or maps safe
but readily accessible at all times.
Consistent safety concept: stable body structure and rollbar moving up instantaneously when required
Consistent consideration of occupant safety in developing the Mini Roadster Concept again
underlines the quality of this concept car, the safety features provided following the safety
technology already developed for the Mini Convertible.
The Mini Roadster Concept therefore comes with a strong and stable body structure, the stiff
passenger cell, high-load bearing elements and precisely defined deformation zones including
crash boxes at the front serving to smoothly divert and absorb impact energy. At the same time
the concept car boasts a stiff floorpan as well as strong A-pillars and side-sills.
Occupant safety in the event of a rollover, obviously a particular challenge in an open car,
has also been given special consideration in the safety system developed for the Mini Roadster
Concept, a full-size rollbar moving up instantaneously whenever required from behind the head
restraints, thus following the same philosophy presented on the Mini Convertible.
This single-piece aluminium bar spanning the entire width of the interior and moving up
electromechanically when required within 150 milliseconds, together with the reinforced
windscreen frame, provides some occupant protection as part of the passenger cell. In its
resting position the rollbar does not extend beyond the head restraints, thus not obstructing
the driver’s visibility to the rear. And designed as a single-piece element, the rollbar
allows full integration of the through-loading connecting the luggage compartment and the
Interior: elegant and sophisticated with exclusive colours and materials
The Mini Roadster Concept simply begs the driver and passenger to enjoy spontaneous driving
pleasure with nothing but the sky above. The powerful flair of the exterior and the soft roof
opening and closing quickly and conveniently with one single movement of your hand gives this
concept car particular appeal and wonderful driving qualities.
The Mini Roadster Concept therefore addresses in particular a young and modern target group
wishing to enjoy the full pleasure of driving in the open air as part of their active lifestyle,
showing their appreciation of a new car and the individual style of the Mini brand.
The 'character' and quality of this two-seater is expressed not only by the harmonious and
design of the exterior, but also by the standard of craftsmanship, materials and an exclusive
range of colours within the interior.
Wide-opening doors offer the driver and passenger convenient access to the interior where
they will enjoy sports seats with ample, high-quality padding in Lounge leather. A three-spoke
leather sports steering wheel complete with multi-function buttons ensures smooth steering even
in tight bends and on winding roads, as well as safe and easy operation of the car’s audio and
communication functions. All other control elements are arranged ergonomically for convenient
use, taking the frequency of their operation into account.
The breakdown of the cockpit, the dashboard and centre console all follow the particular
style of interior design of Mini. Horizontal lines and air vents positioned far to the outside
accentuate the sheer width of the dashboard and, at the same time, the generous look and
dimensions of the interior. The thin centre console, in turn, offers the driver and passenger
maximum legroom and freedom of movement, while the structure of the door panels now follows a
new interpretation with the main elliptic element fully closed.
The rev counter on the Mini Roadster Concept again comes directly behind the steering wheel,
with the speedometer forming part of the central instrument in the upper section of the centre
console. Well-known as the Centre Speedo, this striking instrument also comprises the audio
system as well as the car’s entertainment and navigation functions.
The Mini Roadster Concept comes with a multi-functional display in the cockpit enabling the
driver to choose the information presented. Placed to the left of the rev counter, this display
serves among other things to inform the driver down to the last minute how long he/she has been
driving with the roof down, thus providing the same function as the Always Open Timer already
featured on the Mini Convertible today.
This additional instrument is activated as soon as the driver starts the engine and completely opens the soft top
Apart from the Always Open function, this control instrument comes with five further
indicators again typical of Mini, combining the driving pleasure of the Mini Roadster Concept
with sustainability and a feature typical of the Mini Community: The Nature Guard function
tells the driver how efficiently he is driving at the moment and whether the position of the
accelerator is appropriate for the speed at which the car is travelling and the gear selected.
At a glance, therefore, the driver can see how to save fuel.
Should the driver wish to enjoy maximum performance, on the other hand, the Highspeed
Shifter gear indicator tells him when and how to use the maximum power of the engine.
Supplementing this performance programme, the Gravity indicator presents the lateral
forces, g-forces and the direction of acceleration acting on the driver and the car.
Heart Beat, to present the next example, visualises the speed of the engine by referring to
the human heart beat as a yardstick: The more sporting the driver’s style of motoring, the
faster the heart will beat.
Buddy Radar, finally, is a Mini Community feature showing the driver where other Mini drivers
are currently out on the road nearby the Mini Roadster Concept.
The colours and materials within the Mini Roadster Concept clearly symbolise the exclusive
style of the car and a strong focus on quality. Wooden interior trim and carefully selected
colour highlights on the door linings and seat upholstery, for example, provide specific
contrasts to the interior kept discreetly in black. At the same time the sporting elegance of
the interior is additionally accentuated by the piping on the leather seats and the Chrome
New standard of go-kart feeling thanks to the optimisation of weight and modern suspension technology
With its current model range, Mini already sets a standard for driving pleasure going far
beyond the small car segment. And now, in its purist form, the Mini offers all the character
of an agile performer with supreme handling in bends and on winding roads. The Mini Clubman
and Mini Convertible, in turn, combine the unique handling of the brand with their own
distinctive features and qualities.
Powerful engines and suspension technology far superior in the small car segment ensure a unique driving
experience under all conditions, front-wheel drive, powerful disc brakes on all four wheels, the front axle
with McPherson spring struts and a central arm rear axle with aluminium longitudinal arms and anti-roll bars
providing the foundation for unparalleled safety and agility on the road.
EPS Electronic Power Steering with speed-related power assistance enables the driver to steer precisely
through bends, providing consistent feedback on road surface and driving conditions. At the same time
on-demand variation of power assistance helps to make the car even more efficient. Equipped with this kind
of modern drivetrain and suspension technology, the Mini Roadster concept would be perfectly suited to
provide a new and very appealing rendition of that go-kart feeling so typical of the brand. Doing without a
fixed roof and introducing appropriate body reinforcements instead, the shift in weight on the car enhances
its agility to an even higher standard. This, in turn, noticeably reduces body movements and optimises the
car’s steering behaviour in bends.
Traditional values, modern quality, future-oriented concept
Practical qualities, sporting talent and a high standard of all-round economy have helped to ensure the
popularity of the brand over no less than five decades. Representing the epitome of modern lifestyle, this
small car has indeed become an outstanding success the world over.
Through all these years and decades Mini has re-invented itself time and again, always remaining faithful
to its underlying philosophy. The anniversary year is therefore the ideal time to present the Mini Roadster
Concept as yet another look into the future of the brand. This, therefore, is the vision of a sporting
two-seater combining sophisticated design and exclusive features with spontaneous driving pleasure under the
open sky and the uncomplicated enjoyment of motoring.
The traditional values of the brand also help to give the Mini Roadster Concept its unmistakable character,
modern drivetrain technology providing further opportunities to combine a higher level of performance with
efficiency optimised to a new standard. At the same time the concept of the car caters for the challenges of
the future, offering a focus on both driving pleasure and all-round quality. So where less is more, the Mini
Roadster Concept is a rendition of purist design, offering style and enthusiasm of a high standard.