The first new soft-top Minis are now being built at the Cowley factory in Oxfordshire in preparation for launch next summer. Clearly visible in our scoop photographs are the bottom-hinged pop-down bootlid, repositioned third brake light and rollover hoops behind the cosy 2+2 rear seats. Insiders have confirmed the Mini Convertible name and the car will first appear at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with UK sales following in June 2004.
At around £13,000 for a 90bhp 1.6 Mini One and £14,200 for the 115bhp Cooper, the rag-top will cost around £2500 more than the equivalent hatchback. A Cooper S version will follow later, but there are no plans for a diesel.
Electric roof operation is expected to be standard and Autocar sources who have seen the hood in action claim it takes just 10 seconds to lower.