MINI’s new Convertible features a built-in app that tells you when a storm is coming

The third-generation MINI Hardtop is going topless in time for the Tokyo Motor Show. MINI’s new Convertible is scheduled to go on sale next spring as a 2017 model.

Built on BMW’s modular UKL platform, the Convertible is equipped with a power-retractable cloth soft top that opens or closes in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 18 mph. The new model gains a clever sunroof option that allows the passengers to retract the front part of the top by about 15 inches regardless of how fast the car is moving.

The four-seater cabin is identical to the MINI Hardtop’s. Trunk space checks in at 5.7 cubic feet with the top open and 7.6 cubes with the top closed.

Interestingly, the Convertible comes with a built-in Always Open Timer that lets the driver know how many hours he or she has spent driving with the top down. The Always Open Timer will likely be a popular gadget in cities like Los Angeles and Miami, but it might lead to a higher-than-average number of motorists trading in the ragtop prematurely in places like Seattle.

Another innovative piece of tech packed into the Convertible is a rain warning application that emits audible and visual warnings if a storm is approaching. The rain warning app takes the stress and the unpredictability out of driving a convertible on overcast days.

At launch, buyers will be asked to choose from two models called Cooper and Cooper S, respectively. The Convertible is mechanically identical to the Hardtop, meaning the Cooper model packs a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that delivers 134 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and 162 pound-feet of torque at 1,250 rpm. It reaches 60 mph from a stop in 8.3 seconds when it’s fitted with the standard six-speed manual transmission, and it performs the same task 0.1 seconds faster with the optional six-speed automatic.

The more expensive Cooper S packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s rated at 189 hp at 5,000 rpm and 207 lb-ft. of torque at 1,250 rpm. Bolted to a six-speed manual transmission, the turbo four sends the MINI ragtop from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. Selecting the optional six-speed automatic yields a zero-to-60 time of 6.7 seconds.

After greeting the show-going public in the Japanese capital, the 2017 MINI Convertible will make its North American debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show. Pricing information will be published in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.

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