ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I had the 2013 Mini Cooper S Roadster for the weekend mainly for going to the airport and back. I'll admit that the car is fun for about two minutes, before you hit a tiny pothole that shakes the entire chassis.
Granted, on smooth, sweeping roads, this car is fun and fast. In sport mode it'll rip off the line, and pull all the way to redline, leaving other red-light racers in the dust. But on anything resembling a public road, with any sort of imperfection, it jumps all over the place.
Around fast curves it hugs the road, but over expansion joints it jumps a few inches to the outside. That also frees up the steering wheel for a split second, which upsets the balance even more. It'll have your kidneys sore in no time.
I think this and the Mini Cooper Coupe both have the wrong proportions. Even with the top down it looks a little stubby and weird.
Inside, there are exposed braces for the folding top, which seem a little cheap, and the noise from the wind and tires is sent directly to the cabin. On a positive note the seats are comfortable and the radio/navigation system is easy to get used to. Rearward visibility is terrible.
I still love the Mini Cooper S Hardtop, and the GP version. This Roadster just doesn't do it for me.
ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: What a stiff car this 2013 Mini Cooper S Roadster is, which isn't much of a surprise. This has is Mini's beefed-up chassis with additional supports to make up for the missing fixed roof, there are run-flat tires, and the suspension is quite stiff as Jake points out above. This would be fine and dandy if you lived in an area with pristine roadways; but if you live in an area like, say, metro Detroit, where potholes and ruts are the norm, you may not like the harsh ride of this Cooper S Roadster.
What is good is Mini's hallmark point-and-shoot handling abilities. It certainly is here in this Roadster with steering that's communicative and instantly responsive to inputs. You could have a lot of fun with this on a sunny afternoon with the top down, burning through your favorite stretch of road, again if that stretch of road is glass-smooth. There's nearly no roll in corners and torque steer is present, but isn't difficult to deal with.
However, like I said, we don't have great roads around here. If there's even a small bump mid-corner, it upsets the Cooper S Roadster for a split second, which will make you gulp. In my opinion, there needs to be more compliancy tuned into the suspension because the rough ride, and how poorly it deals with road hazards when the car is loaded up, is a bit much.
In the Mini Cooper S Coupe, I can understand the harsh ride because people buying that car are probably looking for a more extreme performance experience. Then again, I could be wrong and this niche car from this niche brand may very well be ideal for customers that Mini is targeting: people who want a drop-top that will rattle their fillings.
It's certainly quick, with the turbocharged I4 that has good kick off the line, with huff tapering off a little as you head towards redline. The automatic gearbox isn't bad either when you have sport mode activated. It's surprising how long it hangs onto lower gears, which admittedly is a nice thing. Don't bother trying to manually shift gears, though. It's real slow at responding to shift commands and things are better off left to the computers to do all the work.
Either way, like Jake, I'm not a buyer of the Mini Cooper S Roadster. It's one of the least practical Mini vehicles in the lineup and the Openometer to tell me how long the top has been down is among the dumbest features available in a car today.
2013 Mini Cooper S Roadster
Base Price: $29,345
As-Tested Price: $35,345
Drivetrain: 1.6-liter turbocharged I4; FWD, six-speed automatic
Output: 181 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 177 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 2,745 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 26/34/29 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economy: 25.9 mpg
Options: Technology 2 package including comfort access keyless entry, satellite radio including one-year subscription, Harman Kardon premium sound system ($1,750); sport package including 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, dynamic traction control, white turn lights, Steptronic automatic transmission ($1,250); Mini wired package including voice command, Mini connected, comfort Bluetooth and USB/iPod, Mini navigation ($750); orange metallic paint ($500); Mini sport steering wheel ($250)
Article SOURCE: this factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.