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MINI Coupe: It’s official

Tue, 21 Jun 2011

MINI Coupe - now undisguised

It’s been an odd debut – the MINI Coupe.

We had the ‘Concept’ version of MINI’s two-seat sporty job back at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. That was followed by a short period where MINI were claiming the Coupe (and its topless twin, the MINI Roadster) were just concepts to see what the public thought.

That was until Lord Mandy – desperate for some good news in the dying days of the Labour government – let it be known that the MINI Coupe and MINI Roadster were being built.

It was “…good news for Oxford, and for the UK car industry”, the oleaginous one proclaimed, much to the consternation of BMW execs, keen to milk the ‘Concept’ for a while longer.

Still, we all knew the Coupe was on its way to production, and the last twenty months have seen the MINI  Coupe snapped out testing and generally shaking down. But oddly, when the MINI Coupe was finally revealed this month it came complete with detail, but all the photos had swirly camouflage on the back and roof - the money shot was compromised.

We had detail on the MINI Coupe – even down to individual MINI Coupe models and specs – but no undisguised photos. Well now we have – in spades. Sixy-five photos of the Coupe in every pose and position you can imagine showing off the helmet roof, which certainly gives the MINI new character and a unique silhouette.

Promising to take us back to the days of proper go-kart MINIs, the Coupe benefits from a lower centre of gravity which should make it huge fun on the road. Chuckable and grin-inducing and – very sensibly – only available at the upper end of the MINI engine range.

So the entry point – at £16,640 – is the MINI Cooper Coupe with 120bhp and a 9 second 0-60mph, with the Coupe range topping out with the MINI John Cooper Works Coupe offering over 200bhp and a 0-60mph of 6.4 seconds at £23,795. In between come the Cooper S Coupe and the Cooper SD Coupe.

The lower roofline the helmet roof imposes could make the headroom too poor for those of us long in body, but MINI has thoughtfully provided a couple of head-shaped scoops in the roof. Surprisingly – but thanks to the MINI Coupe having a traditional three-box shape – the boot is more commodious than a regular MINI and the inside provides storage behind the seats – including a through-hatch – and plenty of storage bins.

The regular quirky, funky, style-over-function MINI interior pervades still – and why wouldn’t it? – and the MINI Coupe seems a very convincing take on the MINI theme.

On sale in October.


By Cars UK