Mini has released the first details about its second-generation Cabrio model, which is set to go on sale in the first half of next year in both Cooper and Cooper S trims following a world debut at January's Detroit Auto Show. Equipped with a new suspension set-up, more powerful and efficient engines, and improved safety technology, the new version of the open-air four-seater Mini builds upon the strengths of the existing model and adds even more to the equation.

The new Mini Cabrio will enter the market with two engine variants: the 1.6L Cooper with 118hp (88kW) and the turbocharged 1.6L Cooper S with 172hp (128kW) on tap. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on the new model are reduced by up to 19% compared with the cars’ respective predecessors. This means a fuel-economy rating of 38mpg (6.1L/100km) for the Cooper, and 32mph (7.2L/100km) in the Cooper S.

Inside, the rear seats can be folding individually to provide a combined 660L of storage when the roof is closed. This shrinks to just 125L when the seats are up and the roof is down. Automatic air conditioning with Cabrio mode is available for the first time, as well as USB and Bluetooth support and iPhone and iPod connectivity.

The latest Cabrio once again features a sliding soft-top roof, which can be automatically lowered in just 15 seconds even at speeds of up to 30km/h. To promote the uniqueness of the Cabrio in the Mini range, its designers have even added an ‘Always-Open Timer’ on the dash that shows the driver exactly how long they’ve been driving with the top down.

Adding to the safety of the vehicle is a new single-piece rollbar behind the rear seats extending across the entire interior width of the car. This moves up automatically in just 150 milliseconds in the event this safety feature is required.

Mini is taking orders for the vehicle now, with prices starting at $24,550 for the Cooper Cabrio and $27,450 for the Cooper S Cabrio – both of which attract a $650 destination and handling charge. First deliveries will start on March 28, 2009.

2010 Mini Cooper Cabrio Mark II