By on September 15, 2009

Or is that pointlessly endearing? First off, they’re MINIs with trunks. Figure that out. Our first reaction to news of the Coupe and Roadster was to observe that the only thing the MINI brand needed was cars with a little less room. But, as MINI’s press release points out, the brand-defying decklids do have a point. Specifically, “[giving] the car a notchback look clearly distinguishing the MINI Roadster Concept from the MINI Convertible.” Too bad three-box MINIs aren’t MINIs. They’re RILEY ELFs. Ultimately though, brand confusion shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Not because nobody’s mentioned the Riley Elf in decades, but because the concept has a “buddy radar” display which alerts drivers to the presence of other MINIs. Which was a great way of addressing the second least common complaint among MINI drivers: anonymity.

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22 Comments on “MINI Roadster, Coupe Are Endearingly Pointless...”


  • avatar

    Is it that hard to spot other MINIs without the use of buddy radar?

  • avatar
    Viceroy_Fizzlebottom

    FWIW, the interior doesn’t appear to be as cheap as the current MINI.

    http://www.autoblog.com/gallery/frankfurt-2009-mini-coupe-and-roadster-concepts/full/#27

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I thought “buddy radar” was spelled with a ‘g’

  • avatar
    TRL

    Thought I would comment before all the standard “over-priced” jewelry, attention seeking MINI comments flow in.

    I can do this as the 60 yr old heterosexual male owner of a MINI Cabrio. My comments are covered by the same rule as I can say bad stuff about my kids, but you can’t.

    Yes, even the present MINI can be pretty pointless. More “pointless” is a relative term.

    The current dash is not only cheap looking as mentioned above, it has some of BMW’s worst logic and is an ergonomic disaster.

    I probably could have bought two Toyota Yari(?) for the same price.

    Now that all that is out, I love my MINI. It is my second, toy, use on nice day, car. It fills that requirement perfectly for less money (stickered under $27k) than what I would consider as comparable (remember the soft top part). Sorry Miata , but it really does have more room.

    In a few years when the warranty expires (it is a BMW at heart so that means “sell it quick”) I will probably be looking hard at the Roadster.

    Footnote; If MINI keeps up the current terrible adds with the two drug addict hookers it may just become too embarrassing to drive any MINI by then.

  • avatar
    mdensch

    If MINI wants to expand their product line in (for them) nontraditional ways, I say let ’em. More choices in the automotive world is a good thing.

    Having said that, I have to admit, I really don’t get the coupe. It is awkward in the extreme and just doesn’t look right. The roadster, on the other hand, is a nice blend of handsome and cute (did I really say that?).

    I suspect that its biggest challenge in the market place will be its price. Given the pricing of current MINI models I have to think the roadster will be quite a bit more expensive than other small roadsters such as the Miata or other “cute” convertibles such as the New Beetle. But that’s their problem to sort out, not mine. More power to ’em.

  • avatar
    Piste

    I dig the coupe. If only you could buy these in a RWD or AWD package. Maybe next the next generation. Untill then, that Golf R concept looks mighty nice.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Perhaps it’s because I fit the demographic, but I think they are spot on. A boy racer with class. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a rice racer, but these cars look mean enough to appeal to me. If I were in the market for a two-seater, I’d actually buy one.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Mini is supposed to be a niche car brand to begin with. What’s so wrong with them producing a couple 2 seaters? Even GM has(had) Solstice and Honda had S2000. I would say the sky is falling only when Mini starts to produce SUV’s.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I showed the roadster to my MINI Cooper S owning wife and she LOVED it. I quickly reminded her that we are a single MINI household and “pepper” would have to go. This quickly squashed any ideas of buying the roadster as my wife is still in love with her MINI.

    Pepper is my wife’s first car (purchased by her after she finished college) and it has been flawless. Oil changes and an independent shop doing recommended brake fluid change and coolant flush jobs have been the only maintenance over the 50 month and 43k we’ve owned it. ($50/change w/ synthetic every 7500 miles, $100 for the coolant and brake fluid jobs combined) The ergo doesn’t bother me at all and the car brings a smile to your face when taking any country road. She still gets comments from people about how much they like it. It has been a fantastic little car. We may just be lucky, though.

  • avatar
    tigeraid

    I love the original “new” Mini, and the original “new” Mini Cooper S, but as with all modern cars these days it seems, they just keep piling crap on top of crap and gadgets on top of gadgets and stripe and badge packages everywhere. It’s obscene, and these cars both look just plain awful.

  • avatar
    iceracer

    I think I see the reasoning for the Psycho Babe ads. I think MINI execs were worried the new coupe and roadster would be perceived as being too cute and cuddly (like the VW Beetle). They must have thought the ads would make them seem “edgy”.

  • avatar
    fisher72

    I own a MINI. If I wanted a MIata MX5, I would just buy the Miata, and it has perfect weight distribution, which the MINI does not.

  • avatar
    ott

    There’s something oddly familiar about the coupe’s “roof…”

    http://sports.webshots.com/photo/2402100810100057913aiRlxh

  • avatar
    Andy D

    WTF is a Riley Elf?

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Hm, I like the way the softtop looks. I wasn’t expecting that.

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    @Andy D A Riley Elf is somewhat like a Wolseley Hornet.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    @another_pleb: That’s evil! ;)

  • avatar
    americancarlover1994

    To be honest, if I were given one I’d love it. However, I wouldn’t buy one. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mini but I really don’t believe it’s good enough to compete with all the other two seater coupes and roadsters out there. I see this dying a fast death and becoming a somewhat hidden gem in 20 years.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    “Too bad three-box MINIs aren’t MINIs. They’re RILEY ELFs.”

    Actually a three box Mini stands a fifty-fifty chance of being a Wolseley Hornet too.

    That said the Morris/Wolseley/Austin/MG/Riley badged 1100 ADO16 series is so closely related to the Mini it could be considered a derivitive. It is a three box sedan. In the US it was called the Austin America.

  • avatar
    Funk Forty Nine

    God, an MG 1100? That was my first car. I was fourteen years old and my neighbor told me if I dug it out of the snowbank in his driveway I could have it. I don’t know what my mother thought about that but I got it. I drove it around our quarter acre suburban plot… thanks for the memories of forty years ago…

    My mechanic says the Mini is the worst car ever made. It has an electric power steering pump that fails and is impossible to access. He charges 1800 dollars to repair it. He says the Feds should be forcing BMW to recall it for that.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    Here are some previous attempts at two seater Minis

    http://www.aronline.co.uk/images/sportsado34_01.jpg

    http://www.aronline.co.uk/images/sportsado34_02.jpg

    I’ve seen these at the Gaydon heritage museum and they’re ridiculously pretty litle things. Pininfarina did the styling. God knows why they never put them into production – would have sold like hot cakes.

    Here is the coupe version:

    http://www.aronline.co.uk/images/sportsado34_05.jpg

    http://www.aronline.co.uk/images/sportsado34_06.jpg

  • avatar
    niky

    I absolutely love the Roadster. The Coupe? naaah.

    A new Mini is a pointless car. The hatch is small, the rear seats are worthless (compared to other hatchbacks you can get for half the price)… they are automotive jewelry.. but at least jewelry that drives quite nicely.

    I’d buy one, in a heartbeat… if I could actually afford one. (our local taxes would bring the price to an eye-watering $40,000 if they ever landed here… which ain’t bad… the MX-5 costs far north of $35k here, too)

    A much better idea than that unsightly Clubman (which could have done without the vertical split rear doors.

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