. It falls short of being truly communicative or visceral but it’s a more than adequate balance between shopping centre car park fiend and back-road devil.
The six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters does a solid job when driving around town, much like the brakes, but when you decide to go after it a bit or take it out for a blast through the hills, you discover it’s almost good enough, but not quite.
From the plain silly dual-way paddles (both paddles can shift up and down gears instead of the conventional right is up, left is down approach) to the gearbox not letting you hold a selected gear for anything longer than a fraction of a second, the yearning for a traditional manual gearbox is inevitable (and luckily a six-speed manual is standard).
Less likely to make you smile is the lack of vision from the driver’s seat. With the Mini Coupe already receiving criticism for poor vision compared with the bigger Mini hatch, things only get worse with the Roadster. With the roof up that is.
The gear leaver can feel clunky and a bit stiff but the handbrake feels excellent and solid. The door handles haven’t been blessed quite as much, feeling flimsy along with the electric mirrors’ switch.
The central speedo also takes up so much space, that other areas of the interior are left lagging far behind most modern cars. The small, plain-black stereo looks dated, feels cheap and makes for a poor interface for the user – not what you’d expect in a car that reaches this deep into wallets.