Mini first unveiled its two-door, two-seat roadster and coupe concepts at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. Although their official reveal remains few weeks off, a lightly-disguised 2012 Mini roadster was recently caught being put through its paces.
Spy photographers from Motor Trend recently caught the roadster out for some final testing before its first public appearance as a production vehicle. The roadster and then coupe will make their debut in March at the 81st Geneva Motor Show.
Based on the photo above, the roadster hasn’t changed much from the concept we first saw in Frankfurt. It retains the classic Mini styling with nearly everything in front of the A-pillars seemingly ripped directly from the standard Cooper. Head and taillights appear as though they were also pulled from Mini’s existing parts bin, ditto to the exhaust outlets exiting at the center of the bumper. One difference bespoke to the production roadster, though, is the electronically-actuated rear spoiler sitting just behind the cloth top, helping to keep the rear end planted at high speed.
Power is expected to stay congruent with the 1.6-liter I-4 options available in standard Cooper and Cooper S models. The normally aspirated and turbocharged mills each crank out 121 and 181 horsepower, respectively, with transmission choices not expected to differ from the six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes currently offered across the Mini lineup.
The new drop top will join Mazda’s MX-5 as the two sole offerings in the entry compact roadster segment. Do you think Mini’s drop top has what it takes to challenge Mazda’s roadster for market share? Look for Mini to officially pull the covers off its 2012 Roadster and Speedster models at the Geneva Motor Show come March.