Perhaps a little unfairly, one of the defining characteristics of our Mini Roadster experience was noise. Not the steady clamour of the engine or the rushing slipstream of the passing air, but the crashing tumult of rain and hail on the fabric roof.
Presumably, it was cost and packaging limitations that restricted the hood to a single skin (most are now double or even triple insulated) and had our test been carried out in warmer weather, we might not have noticed. But in poor conditions the Roadster’s lid is as sonically conductive as a cloth drum.
That may well be an issue for some, given the UK’s wet winters, but it’s hard to bear a grudge once the sun comes out. The hood is power assisted and reveals the heavens in just five seconds once a stiff manual locking mechanism has been negotiated. There’s no cover and, given its simplicity, not much requirement for roof storage space, so the Mini retains an admirably proportioned boot.
Even with the roof up, however, the Mini’s cabin doesn’t feel at all cramped. Although a lower seat squab would be better for tall drivers, there’s plenty of headroom under the exposed metalwork and maximum legroom extends to 1100mm.
The Roadster is spacious, then, but it is still undeniably a Mini inside. BMW has barely altered the internal architecture, so if you liked the original Mini’s slightly caricatured cabin in 2001, you’ll probably like this one.
For our money, it still strains a little too hard for its brand of retro chic (an opinion that feels all the more relevant when it’s exposed to sunlight and passing pedestrians are allowed to judge), but it’s all put together with the usual high quality of materials and attention to detail.