While the electric model was busy stealing the show, something was noticeably missing at the 2009 Los Angeles auto show: a drop-top Mini. That's because the wraps on the all-new 2009 Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S Convertibles weren't pulled off until just now.
We suppose the 'all-new' moniker is a bit misleading. Though the coupe was completely re-worked back in 2007, the ragtop models were still based off the first-generation Cooper. All the various changes exhibited in the new Mini - including both powertrain and styling - weren't applied to the convertibles.
Alas, they are for the 2009 model. Both models share the same engines as their hardtop brethren, which means we can expect a 118-hp, 1.6-liter I-4 in the Cooper Convertible and a 172-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 in the Mini Cooper S Convertible. Both engines are more powerful than their predecessors, though enthusiasts may bemoan the demise of the Cooper S' supercharged 1.6-liter I-4 - especially when it comes down to turbo lag.
Many of the last car's styling cues, including the three-position top, carry over onto the 2009 model, though it loses the giant chrome hinges on its rear tailgate. Also new for 2009 is a new automated roll bar, which pops up once the vehicle stability control senses an imminent rollover.
Still, the topless fun will run a considerable tab. The 2009 Mini Cooper Convertible stickers for $24,550, which is $2600 (or ten percent) more than the outgoing 2008. A 2009 Cooper S Convertible starts at $27,450, which is an increase $2050. Customers looking to add goodies like a limited-slip differential, satellite radio, navigation, or leather seating will likely see their sticker prices climb well over $30,000.
We'll have our first look at the 2009 Detroit auto show (but, thanks to the climate, not our first drive) in January. Expect production examples to arrive at dealers beginning March 28.
To read more about the 2009 Mini Cooper Convertible, go to our 2009 Detroit auto show blogs coverage. All the latest blogs from the Editors of Automobile Magazine can be found HERE. We've got our whole staff wandering the floor at Cobo Hall bringing back live photos and more information about all the new debuts from Detroit.
For complete coverage of the 2009 Detroit auto show, click HERE.