Mini Convertible turns 30 years old

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The Mini Convertible is now 30 years old, and Mini is introducing a special-edition model in the U.S. to celebrate.

The original fixed-roof Mini launched in 1959, but a convertible version didn’t arrive until the early 1990s. The first factory Mini convertible debuted at the 1992 British Motor Show in Birmingham, U.K., where it was billed as the “world’s smallest four-seat convertible.”

Produced by German contract manufacturer Karmann, the original Mini convertible went on sale in 1993 and continued through 1996, with 1,081 examples built. BMW revived the convertible when it relaunched the Mini brand at the turn of the century, and a drop-top has been a part of the Mini lineup ever since.

1993 Mini Convertible

To commemorate the launch of the first drop-top Mini, the automaker is launching a special-edition model called the Seaside Edition in February. It will be distinguished by available Nanuq White or Caribbean Aqua paint colors, the latter with white graphics. All versions will get 18-inch wheels with 30th anniversary branding in their center caps.

The interior will be upholstered in Carbon Black leather, with 30th anniversary badging on the steering wheel, dashboard, and doors. The key fob will also be finished in a blue two-tone scheme.

The Seaside Edition is available in Cooper and Cooper S grades. The base Cooper has a 134-hp 1.5-liter turbo-3, while the Cooper S has a 189-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine that enables 0-62 mph in 7.2 seconds, according to Mini. The power soft-top roof on convertible models can also be opened or closed at speeds up to 18 mph, Mini noted.

2023 Mini Convertible Seaside Edition

2023 Mini Convertible Seaside Edition

This special edition will likely be one of the last of the current-generation Mini models. Mini is preparing the fourth generation of its modern lineup, starting with a redesigned Hardtop that’s due later in 2023 as a 2024 model. It will be based on parent BMW Group’s FAAR platform, an evolution of the UKL platform underpinning the current Mini range. An electric version will also debut alongside the redesigned internal-combustion Cooper Hardtop, using a dedicated EV platform.

Mini has locked in 2025 as the date its final internal-combustion model will be launched. The automaker has shown an electric convertible concept based on the current-generation Cooper SE mechanicals, so it’s possible the drop-top will live on in Mini’s planned all-electric lineup of the future.

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