Mike Stevens | Apr 24, 2009

Speculation is rife on the question of whether MINI plans to build a Speedster, and the lads at Auto Express have put together these renderings to help get our imaginations running.

If the project goes ahead, the MINI Speedster would rival Mazda’s MX-5 and produce, according to AE, around 153KW on the way to a scorching 241km/h.

AE reckons buyers would have the choice between a 128KW 1.6-litre Cooper S power plant, or a more formidable John Cooper Works version (153KW), good for the 0-100km/h dash in six seconds flat.

Power is in this concept is channelled to the front wheels via a six-speed manual box, delivering MINI’s trademark go-kart feel. And thanks to a lighter kerb weight, along with lowered suspension and a wider front and rear track, the Speedster promises to be the best-handling version of the MINI to date.

AE’s Speedster concept would use the same platform as the MINI Cabrio, allowing maximum flexibility for component sharing with the current range, and would also help minimise development costs.

Distinctive roll hoops, a lower and wider stance and oversized wheel arches give the car its classic roadster proportions.

mini-speedster_concept_02
Image: Auto Express and www.beyond-form.com.

The unmistakable split front grille, familiar bonnet scoop and chrome-rimmed tail-lights, as well as the twin central exhausts ensure it’s a MINI.

An electric folding soft-top – similar to that on the standard Convertible – stows away in the boot when the driver wants to be exposed to the elements. It also gives designers more scope to create a sportier silhouette to match the steeply raked windscreen.

Not only will it provide better protection from the elements and reduce wind noise on long journeys, but by arcing smoothly from the top of the windscreen to the vehicle’s rear – behind the roll hoop extensions – it will create a coupé-like profile. So, buyers effectively get two cars in one.

The combination of power, a drop top and two seats will no doubt have many Aussie aficionados drooling in anticipation of a local launch. Driving glove fingers crossed.

[via Auto Express]

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