2005 Mini Cooper Convertible Preview

0408 Mini Convertible H01 Z

It's hardly a surprise that Mini has a new droptop version of the Mini Cooper, as we started seeing spy pictures, snapped during cold-weather testing in Scandinavia, more than a year ago. And we knew that Mini was determined not to wait as long as Volkswagen and Chrysler, which belatedly brought out convertible versions of their own boutique small cars, the New Beetle and PT Cruiser, respectively. The Mini brand has been a great success for BMW both in Europe and the United States, and Mini needs to keep the momentum going.

0408 Mini Convertible V01 Z

We just drove the Mini Cooper Convertible in the south of France, and you can read our driving impressions in our August issue, on newsstands in early July, but here are a few pictures and some basic info to whet your appetites. The Mini cabrio, which made its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and bowed in the U.S. at April's New York Auto Show, gets a standard power-operated soft top and retains its four-passenger seating. Softtop models of the base Mini Cooper, with its 115-hp, 1.6-liter four, and the supercharged, 163-hp Cooper S, will be available, and the latter can be equipped with the optional Works package, which increases horsepower to 200. Look for the topless Mini at U.S. dealers in September.

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