BMW reveals new MINI Cabrio with video. BMW promises "go-kart" handling for the soft top, MINI Cabriolet.

After numerous spy photos and leaked images, MINI has finally revealed the MKII R57 Cabrio. Arriving in the second quarter of 2009, the Cabrio features a soft top with an integrated sliding roof function. The soft top folds back fully automatically within just 15 seconds, even while driving at speeds of up to 30 km/h (18 mph).

The new MINI Cabrio includes a single-piece rollbar tucked down behind the rear seats as to not obstruct the driver's line of sight. In the event this safety feature is required, the rollbar will eject up automatically in just 150 milliseconds.

The 1.6 liter engine driving this new Mini is the kind of spritely power plant that often makes a hot hatch more fun to drive than a stately premium sports sedan. In fact, it's what makes any hatch hot -- period.

BMW developed this engine in a joint project with Peugeot and a similar variant is found in the 207 and 207 GTi with great performance results.

The engine is present here in two forms, as a standard 120 hp in the MINI Cooper Cabrio and as a Twin-Scroll turbocharged 175 hp in the MINI Cooper S Cabrio.

Luggage space has increased by 5 liters, which may not be much but is still good news given that any extra trunk acreage is desperately needed in this car. You get only 170 liters with the roof closed.

The car offers a standard six-speed manual gearbox or buyers can opt for the six-speed automatic. BMW promises an improved ride over the previous model thanks to new wheel suspension, precision electromechanical steering and toughened braking.

BMW is also touting the techno-gizmo offerings like a USB connector for music players, Bluetooth hands-free telephony, and the now standard, me-too, iPhone compatibility of this new MINI. And the package also includes all the cutsie, Lego block configurations in colors you would want available.

But this is one model where BMW should not be afraid to hype the fundamentals.



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