Mixing a touch of German engineering with a dash of quirky British diction, BMW's MINI brand announces its "object of stormy enthusiasm," the new John Cooper Works Convertible. While their description of the special high performance convertible may sound strangely akin to the results of a Myers-Briggs personality test, rest assured BMW mechanicals and extra doses of MINI charm will result in a kick-in-the pants ride.
This vehicle makes its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show (March 5-15) and comes out swinging with 208 hp, tweaks to its turbocharger and air intake/exhaust, upgraded sports brakes, and the MINI convertible roof that may be raised or lowered at speeds up to 18 mph.
2009 MINI John Cooper Works ConvertibleEnlarge Photo
MINI streamlined both intake and exhaust passages for the John Cooper Works Convertible, resulting in better breathing. Forcing air through the smoothed intake manifold at higher boost is a new twin-scroll turbocharger. Power is 208 hp, and torque climbs all the way to 207 lb-ft during periods of turbocharger overboost that occurs between 2,000 and 5,300 rpm during acceleration. Acceleration to 60 mph is said to take 6.6 seconds; top speed is a claimed 146 mph.
Bringing the tenacious convertible to a halt is a standard sports braking system with precise response and "fine dosage" (a MINI on Ritalyn?). The extra-large, high-performance aluminum fixed calipers are finished in red and feature the John Cooper Works logo. They transmit stopping force through unique 17-inch light alloys of a John Cooper Works Cross Spoke CHALLENGE design. Each wheel weighs less than 22 lb and is circumscribed by a 205/45 W17 runflat tire.
Letting the sunshine in is a soft top with a clever integral sliding roof function that allows the forward portion of the soft top to slide backwards up to 16" for fresh air at speeds up to 75 mph. Full top down mode can be attained in within 15 seconds (the same for returning to top-up operation), and can be activated at speeds up to 18 mph.
The MINI John Cooper Works Convertible will go on sale in the U.S. starting in April 2009 at a retail price of $34,950 including $650 in destination and handling charges.