The much rumoured Mini Roadster has finally been officially unveiled. This latest variation on the classic Mini design is a two-seater roadster with many similarities to the Mini Coupe unveiled earlier this year. Both cars should be available in the Spring of 2012.
We first saw the Mini Roadster concept in 2009 and although the new car looks much the same we can now be sure that the Roadster has made it to production.
The Mini Roadster has a neat manually operated soft-top roof that folds level with the stubby rear of the car. The windscreen is raked more steeply than the four-seater Mini convertible and the car sits 20mm lower on stiffer sports suspension.
Four engine variants will be available with the Mini Cooper Roadster as the base model. There will also be a diesel option in the form of the Mini Cooper SD Roadster as well as petrol powered Cooper S and John Cooper Works Roadsters. As with other Minis the Roadster should be entertaining to drive while having the safety net of front-wheel-drive and electronic driver aids. There is nothing else quite like the 2012 Mini Roadster on our roads but its nearest competitor may be the Mazda MX-5 Miata.
UPDATE: See our Buyers Guide for all the details of the new Mini Roadster:
Mini Cooper Roadster
Mini Cooper S Roadster
Mini Cooper SD Roadster
Mini John Cooper Works Roadster
The new 2013 Dodge Viper has been spotted being tested on several occasions with the front end heavily disguised. The new Viper is said to be an all new car with development assistance from within the Fiat alliance (including Ferrari). Some rumours suggest that it will share the Maserati M139 platform used for the Quattroporte, Gran Turismo and GranCabrio. Others say it will have its own bespoke chassis. One thing seems for certain – the Dodge Viper will be powerful. More powerful than ever before with an engine potentially enlarged to a massive 8.7 litre V10 – the largest Chrysler have ever put in a passenger car. The tuned powerplant will also need to improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
The predicted launch date will be in the second half of 2012 as a 2013 model. The previous Dodge Viper SRT10 went out of production in 2010.
UPDATE: Chrysler’s SRT Brand President and CEO Ralph Gilles has announced that the 2013 Viper will be introduced at the New York Auto Show in April 2012.
The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet has claimed its first honour, the prize of Open-top Car of the Year at the Scottish Car of the Year awards.
When presenting the prize, the judges from the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers commented: ‘Scots love to make the most of the sunshine as quickly and as easily as possible, so our winner has to have a fast moving roof. It also needs to keep the weather at bay on those rare occasions when the sun doesn’t shine in Scotland.
‘An entertaining drive is a must, as are pocket-friendly running costs. Our drop top of the year delivers all of this and even lets you take more than just one friend along for the fun.’
The VW Golf Cabrio, which is back after a nine year absence, was first shown in March of this year at the Geneva Motor Show and is a two-door, four-seater convertible. It is fitted as standard with an electrically-powered fabric roof. which can be lowered in just 9.5 seconds even when travelling at speeds up to 18 mph.
Volkswagen is one of the world’s most successful producers of convertibles with total sales of around 1.42 million units. The Golf made up a good proportion of these sales between 1979 and 2002 when 684,000 VW Golf Cabrios were sold.
There are at least three new BMW convertibles being developed for released over the next couple of years. These come in-line with the German brand’s latest styling route as seen on the latest 5-Series saloon, 6-Series Convertible and Coupe as well as the new 1-Series hatchback.
Most prominently under development is the 2012 BMW M6 Convertible. The range topping high performance version of the 6-Series Convertible has been seen undergoing final testing at the place many manufacturers choose to give a preview their latest cars – the Nurburgring. From what we can see the new car has an updated front apron to suck in more cooling air and at the rear a new diffuser and the obligatory M quad exhaust pipes. It is also has subtly wider track with smoothly flared wheel arches. As with the previous model the new M6 will share the its engine and transmission with the M5 of the same period. This means the same turbocharged 4.4 litre V8 although it may be tuned to create even more than the M5′s 560 horsepower. The resulting 0-60 mph should be covered in well under 5 seconds.
Thoughts that the M6 would be passed over for a new eco friendly super car based on the i8 concept (pictured) seem a little premature. The BMW M6 Convertible should be released before the summer of 2012 is over.
Other cars in the works include a new BMW 1-Series Convertible based on the same platform and styling as the latest 1-Seies hatchback. Expect the coupe to come first though so this car may not arrive until 2013. It all depends on how quickly the development team can work and how sophisticated the roof is. We’d expect it to be a soft-top to make the most of the luggage space.
Last in the list is a mid-cycle update to the BMW 3-Series Convertible. The styling of the 3 Series doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the range and the front end has always seemed a bit soft – lacking the aggression usually associated with the brand. The face-lift will help it to fit in with the latest and arguably more attractive BMW 5 and 6 Series. The engines will most likely be updated with the latest technology enhancements and the interior may be refreshed too. The new saloon will be unveiled at the Detroit Show in January while the new look BMW 3-Series Convertible should reach showrooms before 2013.
Expect to learn a lot more about these future BMW Convertibles when March’s Geneva Motor Show arrives. Looking further into the future we can expect to see the latest BMW concept cars showing their influence. The i BMW sub brand is very much a reality with 100 million US dollars committed to making the ‘eco’ dreams come true. The i3 and i8 concepts are being developed for future production and if successful they will pave the way for future BMW convertibles using alternative fuels.
Posted in Future Cars Tagged BMW
Volvo have announced the closure of their Uddevalla plant int Sweden. The factory was a joint corporate venture with Volvo and Pininfarina and known as Pininfarina Sverige AB and was producing only one car – the Volvo C70 coupe convertible. Earlier in the year the year Volvo announced that it would take sole ownership of the facility with a changeover in 2013 so we can only assume that this deal has been withdrawn.
The plant was running at around 65% capacity and the decision was made that it was no longer financially viable. The workforce of 600 will be offer positions elsewhere within the company.
The Volvo C70 remains on sale while the remaining inventory is run down. No news has yet been released for an alternative site for C70 production so this my be an early end to its production cycle.
The C70 Convertible was released in 2003 to critical acclaim but met stiff competition from many rivals which may have limited sales figures in its later years. A discontinuation of the C70 would leave Volvo with no convertible cars within their range.
The rumour mill is always turning and while they can never be taken as a sure sign of things to come some of the stories this month have some signs of certainty.
For example, it is only a matter of time before we see a convertible version of the latest Porsche 911 (of which the Coupé debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show) or the monstrous Jaguar XKR-S. History tells us that these cars are just around the corner and spy photos of testing at the Nurburgring confirm it. There were suspicions that the Porsche 911 Cabriolet may break convention and use a folding hardtop but the spy photos suggest that a fabric soft-top will be once again on the way. We’d expect to see both of these cars in their completed form at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012.
There are other clues that new cars may be on the way. Spanish site Autoblog en Español reports that Audi have registered designs for an Audi RS5 Cabriolet with the European Patent Office. It sounds likely if as long as Audi consider the world economy to be strong enough to generate enough sales for this top of the line car. Judging by the other cars in the range it would be easy to conclude that an Audi RS5 Cabriolet would be powered by the same 4.2 litre V8 as the Coupé and share the same same fabric soft-top roof as the A5 and S5.
Finally there are people tempting us with exotic looking graphics. Coventry Prototype Panels (CPP) a coachbuilding company owned by Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Antonov have announced their intention to revive the Jensen brand. This new venture should not however be confused with Jensen International Automotive – builder of the Jensen Interceptor R. The proposed launch car is based on the Jensen Interceptor grand tourer and if it ever reaches production we can imagine that like the original, a convertible won’t be far behind. CPP have also already bought Land Rover tuners Bowler and is a major shareholder of Spyker Cars is currently attempting to buy Zagato. Of all the rumours here take this one with the biggest pinch of salt.
UPDATE: The deal with CCP to purchase Spyker fell through and a deal has now been struck for the sports car company with American private equity firm North Street Capital.