BMW has released official photographs of the new Mini convertible.
First examples of the car will be in New Zealand at Christmas. BMW NZ will import only the Mini Cooper variant, with the Cooper S due to follow in 2005.
Likely pricing and local specifications have yet to be decided.
The convertibles will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland on March 2.
Initially BMW will sell two models in Europe, the Mini One and the Cooper. Both will be built at BMW's factory at Oxford in England, alongside the four models already in production - Mini One, Mini One D (diesel), Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S.
The European convertible family will be completed later in the year with the Cooper S.
The Mini convertible has four seats, four airbags and parking distance control as standard.
Safety equipment includes two frontal airbags and two seat-integrated head/thorax side airbags.
Should the car roll over, the A-pillars have a tube made of ultra-strong steel that guarantees a strong load-bearing function. At the rear double rollbars made of high-strength aluminium tubes, complete with integrated headrests, afford superior passenger safety.
European-spec Mini convertibles have four-sensor ABS and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), as well as Cornering Brake Control (CBC). Available as an option are Automatic Stability and Traction Control (ASC+T) as well as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
All models have fully automatic softtop roofs. The roof operates in two stages.
Press the button once and the roof slides back 400mm to create an open sunroof.
Press the button again and the roof retracts fully, folding into a compact arrangement behind the rear seats. No messy catches or tricky tonneau covers are involved.
BMW says "only 15 seconds and the press of a button stand between the driver and the joys of open-air motoring."
Since the sliding roof opens completely from one side of the car to the other, the new open-air model provides a taste of convertible motoring right from the start.
The driver can operate the sliding roof with the car at standstill, or at speeds up to 120km/h.
When closed, the convertible's roof is a little lower than the roof on fixed-head Minis.
The convertible has a new drop down bootlid which doubles as a loading platform. Two steel cables on a spring-mounted retractor system act as boot hinges holding a weight of up to 80kg. The boot capacity with the roof up is 165 litres; with the roof down it's 120 litres.
But by turning two levers in the boot, the rear fastening of the roof can be released allowing the rear section to be raised. That creates a wide aperture through which larger items can be loaded. Using this easy load facility and putting the rear seats down, the Mini Convertible can offer 605 litres of storage space.
BMW has reserved two new paint colours exclusively for the convertibles - Hot Orange and Cool Blue. A choice of three roof colours is offered for the Mini Cooper Convertible in Europe - black, blue and green. The finishing exterior touch on the Cooper Convertible is body coloured exterior mirrors which come as standard.
Body coloured dashboards will be an option in Europe, as well as the existing choice of silver, anthracite, aluminium and wood. On top of the existing wide range of upholstery choices, a new dark blue Gravity leather will be offered on European Mini Cooper convertibles.
The wheel selection also increases with the introduction of a new 17-inch five star bullet alloy wheel that will be reserved exclusively for convertibles.
The One Convertible's 1.6-litre engine produces 90bhp and a top speed of 175km/h.
It will hit 100km/h in 11.8 seconds. The Cooper Convertible's motor develops 115bhp. Top speed is 192km/h, and BMW says it will accelerate to 100km/h in 9.8 seconds.
BMW's Oxford factory has built more than 350,000 Minis, and last year, 176,000 were delivered to 72 countries.