MINI Cooper Roadster Review: Hands-on

Introducing the Roadster, BMW's latest contribution to the MINI line-up

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The MINI Roadster is the sixth derivative in the current MINI line-up, joining the Hatch, Convertible, Clubman, Countryman and Coupé in MINI’s modest but successful portfolio of motors.

With a retractable roof, a spoiler on the rear and a stylish crust, this four-wheeler is the sportier (and cheekier) follow-up to the popular Coupé - but is it any good? We took it for a spin…

MINI Cooper SD Roadster: Tech

mini cooper sd roadster

The Roadster comes complete with MINI Connected, the brand’s app-based multimedia system, which gives you access to both your Facebook and Twitter updates via an on-board monitor that’s conveniently placed at the centre of the MINI’s trademark central circular speedo.

There’s also a built-in sat nav system on board – a welcome feature is the ability to export addresses previously searched for on Google Maps to the on-board navigation system - DAB radio and you can even access RSS feeds to keep yourself up to date with the latest goings-on.

Also in the mix is Bluetooth telephone audio connection. Simply pair it to your smartphone and you can make and receive calls without taking your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road – an essential fixture in today’s mobile mad society.

Our only criticism is the dial used to control the car’s multimedia system. MINI Connected is controlled via a small dialler above the handbrake, which can get a bit fiddly as you scroll through the alphabet to enter a postcode in the sat nav system.

We would have much preferred a touchscreen monitor that’s less tricky to use, especially while driving.

You can reap the full benefits of summer thanks to the Roadster’s retractable roof which, disappointingly, has to be locked and unlocked manually. It's a flaw in the makeup of the motor that, we feel, hinders its potential as being considered a tech-friendly road robot.

However, it does comes down with the press of a switch - even when the car is moving (up to 20mph) - and there’s a spoiler on the rear which pops up automatically when the car picks up speed – a nifty feature that enhances the drive we're told.

MINI Cooper SD Roadster: Specs

6-speed manual gearbox
Airbags (x4)
Air conditioning
Alarm and immobiliser
Aux-in connection
Active rear spoiler
DAB radio
Radio BOOST with single CD
Remote central locking

MINI Cooper SD Roadster: Performance

Mini cooper roadster

The MINI Cooper SD (disel) Roadster has two seats, a retractable roof, a top speed of 132mph and goes from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds.

The 2.0-litre turbo unit delivers ultimate power. Take off is quick and effortless and the car is stiff so you needn’t worry about it being bullied off the road.

We loved the automatic start/stop function – the Roadster automatically hibernates the engine when the car is in neutral and turns it back on when you step on the clutch – and steering is both sharp and accurate.

However, rear visibility is pretty awful – fortunately the Roadster comes equipped with Park Distance Controller (PDC) at the rear which displays the distance between the car and the objects behind it – and it did feel a bit bumpy at times, especially while shooting down the motorway.

MINI Cooper SD Roadster: Verdict

mini roadster

It’s solid and stylish, comes loaded with essential road trip kit and with a spacious boot to, err, boot, it’s the ideal weekend getaway motor.

The tech may be a bit fiddly to control but overall there’s enough gadgetry to satisfy the tech heads and plenty of stylish features to keep the fashionistas happy.

On the performance front, you won’t be disappointed (unless you’re a sucker for slow speeds) and there are a string of quality finishing touches like the brand’s trademark toggle switches that polish this four-wheeler off nicely – an all-round visually pleasing effort as far as we’re concerned.

MINI Cooper SD Roadster availability: available now
MINI Cooper SD Roadster on the road price: £21,575.00

MINI United, the summer festival hosted by MINI, is back with a stellar line-up of top acts including Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Beth Ditto and Gossip, The Ting Tings and a host of events for MINI enthusiasts. Taking place on the 11th-13th May, at the renowned Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castelle - a three-day ticket costs just £37.00. Tickets are on sale now -