What is it?
The new drop-top Mini. It works really well from some angles, and not so well from others.
Remember the official attempt at guillotining the original Mini? It was rather cute until you folded down the roof and ended up with a stack of fabric at the back that looked like Himmler’s coat collar.
The current Beetle has the same problem. Not so the BMW Mini. Its roof folds away (in 15sec) to leave the smallest of ruffles.
What’s it like?
Tough. Alongside our test car at Marseille’s Marignane airport is a body-in-white convertible, with strengthened and additional chassis parts painted in yellow.
Not surprisingly, some fairly major work has gone into strengthening the structure. Both inner and outer sills are stamped from 3mm-thick steel, which is almost double the thickness of the standard Mini’s sills.
There’s an additional skin of steel – which robs 35mm of legroom – along the strengthening member under the rear seat, an extra bracing crossmember on the boot floor abd several areas of heavier-gauge metal around the now-absent B-pillars.
The windscreen pillars contain tubes to give roll-over protection, and in the back there are aluminium roll-over bars.