The Mini Coupe has cast off its toupee, in hopes that some all-new Mini Roadster owners will want to do the same.
The Coupe’s signature metallic roof in a contrasting colour to the body has (mercifully) disappeared, replaced by a manual folding top that goes back and mounts vertically behind the Roadster’s two seats, so that no tonneau cover or clasps are needed, newly released photos of the Roadster from BMW show.
It will be the first convertible two-seat Mini, and is set to launch next spring in Canada.
Three 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engines will be offered, just like in the Coupe: a naturally aspirated Cooper Roadster (121 hp), a turbocharged Cooper S Roadster (181 hp) and a performance-first turbocharged John Cooper Works Roadster (208 hp).
Each progressively more powerful version is expected to complete the sprint from rest to 100 km in 9.2, 7.0 and 6.5 seconds, respectively.
Fuel economy averages, in early European tests, are estimated to come in at 5.7 litres/100 km for the Cooper, 6.0 for the Cooper S and 7.3 for the JCW. So there’s a fairly substantial fuel economy hit for the JCW version’s extra 27 ponies over the S, but much less so for the extra 60 in the S over the base Cooper model, if these numbers hold up in real-world driving.
Honda may speed up Civic updates
Honda has admitted it may have gone too far with cost-cutting in the interior of the latest-generation Civic. The company will pull forward planned updates to the recently launched 2012 model from 2014 to 2013, according to a senior American Honda official.
But well before that, all Honda’s North American production facilities – including its plant in Alliston, Ont. – are again facing further production delays. Honda said this week that severe flooding in Thailand is causing parts shortages. The company said that output will be cut by 50 per cent, until at least Nov. 10, although no layoffs are scheduled.
The move will also likely delay the planned December launch of Honda’s new CR-V, the company said. The model is to make its official debut at the Los Angeles auto show later this month, and was set to arrive at dealers a few weeks later.
Honda will also show the production version of the 2013 Honda Fit all-electric EV at the show, but Honda Canada says it is still studying whether to bring it to Canada.
It has been a rough year for Honda. The firm was just returning to full-speed Civic production at Alliston and other plants in late October, after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March wreaked havoc on critical suppliers.
Then the Civic launched to surprisingly critical reviews, mainly about its little-changed exterior style, engine and cheapened interior, at a time when rivals like the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, and Chevrolet Cruze all made major leaps forward in those areas.
But the negative review that hurt the most was the one from Consumers Reports, trade journal Automotive News reported this week. The non-profit consumer group dropped the Civic’s long-time Recommended rating, a move that was as widely reported as it is shocking.
Having driven the 2012 Civic multiple times directly back to back against its admittedly more stylish rivals, the Honda compact is still a class leader in many key areas. It is still one of the best-handling and most fuel-efficient compact cars on the market, though it needs a hatchback version, especially in Canada.
Tesla sedan coming next year
The all-electric Tesla S sedan will debut in 2012, and the company has recently announced that it is planning a North American tour with S Beta models, starting with Toronto this week.
Toronto is one of four North American stops announced for the tour so far, which will give consumers an up-close look at the seven-seat all-electric sedan. From Nov. 2-6, the S will be on display at Brookfield Place, at 181 Bay Street, between Front and Wellington.
The company says the four-door will fit five adults and two children, the latter in rear-facing jump seats, while providing a range of up to 300 miles (480 km) on a single charge.
Performance is still key for the company, however, as the sedan will accelerate from 0-96 km/h in 5.6 seconds.
Pricing is expected to be about half of what Tesla’s two-seat Roadster costs, $140,000 or so, with the company proudly proclaiming that it will be the car that brings full electrics to the mainstream. Not sure what that makes the Nissan Leaf – or more likely, Chevrolet Volt – but it’s a worthy experiment nonetheless.