The current Mini Cooper Convertible (pictured) is the first generation of the design, which debuted in 2004, three years after the regular version of the retro-hatchback first arrived. Since the Mk II Mini Cooper hatchback arrived in 2007, fans of the soft-top variant have been wondering when the updated car would show up. According to the latest reports, that question has been answered: the new Mini cabrio is due in March 2009.

Existing stock of the current model will sustain sales through July, and BMW does not plan to build more. Since the next version of the Cabrio isn't going to begin production until March of next year, it appears there will be at least a six-month gap in supply. Like the current model, the new cabrio is expected to feature the 3-in-1 soft top with built-in automatic sunroof and heated rear window. Both standard Cooper and Cooper S variants are expected as well, according to AutoTelegraaf. Further details are not yet forthcoming, though with the rise in fuel prices and increased concern for emissions, a diesel-engined cabrio may not be out of the question.

The Mini Cooper Convertible recently made news as one of the better choices out of the rather unsafe crop of mini cabrios available on the European market. The model's rear roll bars protected back seat occupants better than any other model in the test, but the A-pillar partially collapsed, which combined with poor seatbelt placement meant front-seat occupants were at risk of head injury in the event of a rollover. Hopefully engineers will take these test results into consideration and provide better rollover protection for the next generation.

2010 Mini Cooper Cabrio Mark II