7. Mini Convertible

* Best 10 cars of the show * What was our favourite? * Why did it stand out?...

7. Mini Convertible

The new Mini Convertible was always going to generate excitement but who could have thought something called the Openometer would steal the show?

Yes, the Openometer is what everyone is talking about in Detroit, and its a nifty but ultimately useless gadget that measures how long owners have been driving with the roof down. It could help prevent sunstroke, we guess.

Moving on to the serious stuff, the new Mini Convertible will go on sale in the UK on March 28, priced from 15,995.

The car will be available in standard and tuned S forms, with the latter featuring an air-scoop on the bonnet, twin exhausts and a rear diffuser.

Prices for the Cooper S will start from 18,995.

The roof and rear
The Mini features a canvas roof that can be fully retracted or closed in 15 seconds, and which operates at up to 20mph. The roof can also be partially retracted 40cm, giving the effect of a sunroof, at speeds of up to 75mph.

The anti-roll bar is a single unit on the new car and extends in the event of an accident. As a result it doesn't restrict rear visibility something the old car's fixed anti-roll structure was criticised for.

In another change from the current car, rear passengers will also be able to adjust their headrests, ensuring greater comfort.

The car
Mini says the car is stronger than ever before, despite being 10kg lighter, improving crash protection and the driving experience.

Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, cornering brake control and stability control, all of which are fitted as standard

Boot space has also increased slightly, giving 125 litres with the roof open and 170 litres with it closed both figures up five litres from before. With the rear seats down, the luggage capacity is 660 litres, which is 55 more than before.

Bike-rack fixing points will also be fitted as standard.

In a change from the current specification, the new Mini Convertible will have air-conditioning as standard, and a cooled glovebox.

The engines
The Mini Cooper is powered by a 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. It takes the car from 0-62mph in 9.8sec, averages 49.6mpg and emits 137g/km of CO2.

The Mini Cooper S is powered by a turbocharged 173bhp 1.6-litre engine. It travels from 0-62mph in 7.4sec, averages 44.1mpg and emits 153g/km of CO2.

Both are mated to six-speed manual gearboxes as standard, although a six-speed automatic is available as an option.

Stop-Start, brake energy-regeneration and a gearshift indicator are all fitted as standard to help fuel economy and emissions, which are improved by at least 21%.