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Mini concepts sure-fire hit


It was also the start of a countdown to production for two all-new models of Mini.

The first, the Coupe Concept was shown in the lead-up to the German motoring milestone but Mini kept its all-new droptop a secret until the first-day action at Frankfurt. It also saved the best until last because the Mini Roadster Concept - already confirmed, like the coupe, for production in Britain next year - is a sure-fire hit with Gen-Y buyers.

It slightly odd looking, and has only two seats, but has the quirkiness which will set it apart on the road and turn heads around the world.

The second open-air Mini in the family, after the existing four-seat Cabrio, was introduced at Frankfurt by BMW Group's global head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, who believes it and the new two-seater coupe will be winners for the brand. "Mini is a brand which is so exciting and has so much potential. Mini will continue to grow and create new segments," says Robertson.

Both pick up the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine from the Mini Cooper S with 128kW and 240Nm of torque. The basic body is much the same as the regular hatch, at least from the window line down. But the screen is raked backwards, there is a good looking rollbar just behind the seats, and the boot space has been much larger with the loss of the back seats. The result is a much more low-slung stance, helped by a folding canvas roof that disappears when it is not in use.

To make it more fun for Y-buyers, there is a multi-function display that shows Nature Guard (how eco-friendly you are driving), Highspeed Shifter (when to shift for maximum power), Gravity Indicator (lateral and g-forces), Heart Beat (engine speed reflected in a beating heart) and Buddy Radar (showing the location of other Mini drivers).

"The focus of the Mini Roadster Concept is maximum driving fun with nothing but the sky above. The soft top opens and closes manually in a very quick and easy action. The Roadster comes with extra-short body overhangs front and rear, emphasising that it is also a top-athlete," says Robertson.