2013 MINI Cooper Roadster Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Reviewers say that Mini’s go-kart driving dynamics are alive and well in the 2013 Roadster, thanks to its nimble handling and quick, accurate steering. Additionally, most reviewers say that the fun factor is enhanced in S models, which feature a responsive turbocharged engine. Still, one reviewer says that the Roadster’s ride quality can be harsh, and notes that the Mazda Miata is ultimately more fun to drive.
- "Mini Roadsters are zippy, fuel-efficient, immensely nimble vehicles that can also perform surprisingly well on the open highway." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The steering is quick, informative, and accurate; braking is powerful and easy to modulate; shift engagements are precise; and throttle response is instantaneous." -- Car and Driver (2012)
- "Mini is justifiably proud of its ‘go-kart’ handling, but it shouldn't have to be accompanied by a go-kart ride quality. And this is the standard suspension. Overall, the rear-drive MX-5 remains the purer, more rewarding driving experience." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "The S delivers great handling, and, when needed, there's extra torque available thanks to the Overboost feature. With or without the extra boost, though, the instant power and surprisingly throaty exhaust note will put a smile on your face." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)
Acceleration and Power
The 2013 Mini Cooper Roadster comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 121 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 114 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. The S Roadster adds a turbocharger and direct injection, which boost the engine’s output to 181 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 177 pound-feet of torque from 1,600 to 5,000 rpm. Both base and S models come with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. According to the EPA, the base Roadster gets 27/35 mpg city/highway with either transmission, which is considerably better than the fuel economy of sports cars like the Mazda Miata and Ford Mustang convertible.
The top-of-the-line John Cooper Works Roadster also gets a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, but it generates more power. The JCW Roadster puts out 208 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 192 pound-feet of torque from 1,850 to 5,600 rpm. Mini says that the JCW Roadster has a top speed of 147 mph. A six-speed manual is the only transmission offered on the JCW Roadster.
Most reviewers who’ve tested the Mini Roadster have driven the S trim, which is more powerful than the base model. While the base Roadster has modest power, most critics love the S model’s peppy turbocharged engine and slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission. A handful of reviewers note that the S Roadster suffers from a hint of torque steer and a bit of turbo lag, but most agree that the extra power is worth the trade-off.
- "Mini says more than 30 percent of its models are ordered with a manual transmission, and we can see why: They have a splendid one. Short on throws, long on enjoyment, a manual just makes sense in a Mini." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The six-speed gearbox is exceptionally nice, with short, precise throws. In contrast to our long-term Countryman, we found the clutch here to be easy to modulate." -- Automobile Magazine (2012 S Roadster)
- "The performance of the Cooper S - Mini claims zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds and a 141-mph top speed - also feels nicely suited to this car." -- Edmunds (2012 S Roadster)
- "Pulling out into heavy traffic, you might find yourself fighting some front wheelspin and even torque steer if you need to get aggressive. But we wouldn't trade the oomph for more polish." -- Popular Mechanics (2012 S Roadster)
Handling and Braking
Like most Minis, the Roadster earns points for its nimble handling and precise steering. However, one reviewer says that a stiff suspension (even in base models) means that the Roadster’s ride can be jarring over bumps and road imperfections.
- "The Mini Cooper Roadster has managed to capture the sassy, built-for-fun nature of the Mini Cooper Convertible and condensed it even further. Though it's front-wheel drive, the Roadster is a an ace in the corners." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Typical for a Mini, the electric power steering is extremely well weighted and even provides a bit of feel. (Perhaps Mini could provide a tutorial in this area to other carmakers that are just now switching to electric assist.)" -- Automobile Magazine (2012)
- "While the sportier versions of the convertible have an awkward tendency to flex and torque steer, the Roadster feels impressively solid. The steering is suitably quick-witted, and while the electric system is not overburdened with feel, it delivers a level of agility matched by few other cars." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "The Mini Roadster delivers the same kind of go-kart handling that made the redesigned Cooper a hit more than 10 years ago." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)