New cars for 2012 - Part 3 - Coupes & convertibles: Mercedes - Mini

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  • New cars coming in 2012
  • Small family cars to MPVs revealed today
  • More throughout the week
Mercedes SL
What is it? Lighter build should boost agility
Price from £65,000 (est)
On sale July

The sixth-generation Mercedes SL goes on sale in July.

It’s longer and wider than the current SL, but has an all-aluminium body that makes it significantly lighter.

As with the current car, there’s an electrically operated folding metal roof. It's available with a choice of a conventional painted finish or with a glass panel, however. There’s also the option of a glass roof with ‘Magic Sky Control’, which switches from light to dark at the touch of a button.

The interior clearly shows the influence of Merc's SLS AMG supercar, with a similar design and circular air vents. Mercedes says the new SL provides more shoulder room than the current car.

Initially, there’ll be a choice of two petrol engines: the SL350 has a 302bhp 3.5-litre V6, yet it's nearly 30% more economical than its predecessor. The SL500 has a 429bhp 4.7-litre V8 that uses 22% less fuel than the current model's.

In time, there will also be a high-performance SL63 AMG, powered by the same 518bhp 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 as the E63 AMG.

Full pricing and technical details are yet to be confirmed, but all versions are likely to be well equipped and we’d expect a starting point of around £65,000.

Mini Paceman
What is it? Sportier, three-door version of Countryman
Price from £22,000 (est)
On sale Autumn

Mini’s new Paceman was unveiled in concept car form at the Detroit motor show in January 2011. The production version – due in the third quarter of 2012 – will be virtually unchanged.

Based on the Countryman, but with a three-door body, lower roofline and reshaped rear, the Paceman is likely to get the higher-output Mini engines and be offered with front- or four-wheel drive. Prices are still to be confirmed, but will probably start at around £22,000. With its coupé-cum-SUV styling, the Paceman will be a natural rival to the Range Rover Evoque Coupé.

A high-perfomance John Cooper Works version is likely to join the range in 2013 - it'll use the same powertain as the recently-announced Mini Countryman John Cooper Works .

Mini Roadster
What is it? Losing the rear seats sharpens open-air Mini’s style
Price from £18,015
On sale Spring

Mini’s two-seat drop-top looks much more grown-up than the Mini Convertible (which tries to retain usable rear seats, and fails).

The electric canvas roof takes just 10 seconds to open or close, and it fits in behind the rear seats, so the 240-litre boot space is unaffected.

The Roadster carries a premium of just over £1000 over the Mini Coupé. That translates to a starting price of £18,015 for the regular Cooper, rising to £24,850 for the high-performance John Cooper Works edition. There’s also a diesel variant available, the Cooper SD, at £21,630.

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