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Mike Stevens | Mar 17, 2009

We might be at the wrong end of summer to take full advantage of it here in Australia, but from March 28, the 2009 MINI Cabrio goes on sale around the world.

MINI’s new drop-top takes its cues from its steel-roofed sibling, but adds a dose of summer-lovin’ by way of a folding cloth top which can be lowered in just 15 seconds at speeds of up to 30 km/h.

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Both Cooper and turbo-charged Cooper S versions of the Cabrio will be available, so those with a hunger for a little extra power need not go without.

The Cooper’s 88kW 1.6 litre mill can deliver 0-100 km/h times of 9.8 seconds, with average fuel consumption rated at 6.1 l/100km and CO2 emissions of 145 g/km.

The twin-scroll turbo fitted to the Cooper S drops the sprint to 100 km/h to 7.4 seconds, sips 7.2 l/100km and emits 171 g/km of CO2.

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The Cabrio is available in a range of 12 exterior colours and a choice of three colours for the cloth roof.

Seven interior shades are available in a range of finishes, in either cloth or leather.

As usual, customisation plays a huge roll in the MINI ordering process: buyers can choose from a huge list of interior and exterior options, audio upgrades, alloy wheels and comfort and convenience items. No excuses then for ordering a car which isn’t truly individual.

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MINI also offers the unique Always-Open Timer, challenging driver to spend more time in the sunshine.

Mounted next to the Tacho, the Always-Open Timer tells the driver how much time they’ve spent with the top down, as a cheeky encouragement to make the most of the topless experience.

At the rear of the Cabrio are some of the most important changes, though. Gone are the iconic external hinges for the tailgate.

Also missing are the dual fixed roll hoops of the previous model - in their place a single piece pop-up roll bar is stowed out of view, activating in just 150 milliseconds when required (here's hoping you never require it).

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Boot space is up slightly too. Capacity grows to 125 litres with the roof down and 170 litres with it in place, making for an increase of five litres. Rear seat backrests fold down as well, which extends carrying capacity to 660 litres.

The redesigned roof mechanism ensures the lines of the hard-top version remain with the roof in place. Larger side glass helps to improve visibility as well.

MINI also claims that the Cabrio range maintains the hard-top's go-kart like handling. Sharing the hard-top's suspension, specially tuned for the Cabrio, there’s no reason why the rag-top versions shouldn’t be just as much fun to throw at a bend.

Pricing for the MINI Cooper Cabrio kicks off at $39,800, with the Cooper S starting from $48,000.

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