The redesigned MINI Cooper hardtop was unveiled about 20 months ago, but the new Cooper Convertible has yet to receive its public debut. About six weeks ago we brought you updated photos of the new model, and now prototypes have arrived in the United States for some final testing.

 

Sources are telling us that this new MINI (photos show a MINI Cooper S Cabrio) is sporting a new and “multi-functional” fabric top — but we’ll have to wait a few months to see exactly what it can do. With a C?pillar at least as wide as on the current model, visibility to the rear won’t likely be improved, although we expect the new top to stow a bit better than the current model’s.

As with its hard-roofed counterparts, the new drop-top MINI doesn't stray far the design of the previous model. The larger dimensions of the Gen-II Mini should certainly help to accommodate the folded soft top when in open-air mode, and rear passengers should benefit, too.

As on the current MINI Convertible, this new model maintains the bottom-hinged tail-gate. Comparing this prototype to the current cabrio suggests that the new MINI's soft-top has a slightly smoother profile, thanks to reduced intrusion from the top's understructure.

BMW revealed the new 2007 MINI Cooper in August. The new MINI Convertible will arrive later this year as a 2009 model.

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