You can choose from a range of 1.6-litre petrol engines and a 2.0-litre diesel. The petrols range from the 121bhp Cooper, through the 181bhp Cooper S, and finish up with the spitfire 208bhp John Cooper Works. All deliver plenty of punch, but we reckon the turbocharged 181bhp engine in the S best suits the feisty character of the car. The diesel doesn’t feel anywhere near as quick.
Mini Roadster Sports ride & handling
The Mini does have a rather firm suspension, but it’s not nearly as firm as rivals like the Mazda MX-5; it’s more settled at motorway pace and the low-speed ride is surprisingly forgiving. The handling is brilliant, too. There’s minimal body lean in corners, and like all Minis, it feels well balanced and has sharp steering that helps the car dart into bends. The absence of a solid roof means you do feel some wobbles through the steering wheel, but it doesn’t spoil the experience.
Mini Roadster Sports refinement
With the roof down there’s a lot of bluster in the cabin, but wind noise is pretty well isolated with the top up. Road and engine noise cause some din at motorway speeds, but neither is at deal-breaking levels. Press the Sport button (standard on the John Cooper Works and an option on other models), and the exhaust emits appealing pops and bangs whenever you lift off the accelerator. The diesel engine is gruff.