MINI : Coupe Concept to star at Frankfurt Motor Show

Clive Goldthorp

MINI Coupe Concept debuts at Frankfurt

MINI Coupe Concept debuts at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show

Mini fans the world over will already know that last Wednesday was the 50th Anniversary of the original BMC-built model’s launch. MINI UK chose to mark the occasion by releasing details and images of the MINI Coupe Concept which will be revealed in the metal for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show from the 17th to 27th September, 2009.

The Coupe Concept incorporates several instantly recognisable MINI design features such as the large round headlights (with, in this case, black internal reflectors), a hexagonal radiator grille and low front spoiler and, like the current MINI Cooper S Hatch, measures 3,714mm in length and 1,683mm in width.

However, the significant changes are above the characteristically high waistline as the Coupe Concept has a weight-saving aluminum roof with a windscreen rake of 16 degress more than other MINIs and a height of 1,356mm – 51mm lower than the rest of the range. MINI UK claim that the new roofline lowers the car’s centre of gravity while the large roof spoiler and modified rear end optimise airflow and reduce turbulence behind the car.

The Coupe Concept’s interior has just two new sports seats with strongly contoured side supports and also features a three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with multi-function controls as well as two Chronoswiss clocks on either side of the centrally-mounted rev counter – one being a standard timepiece and the other a stopwatch.

Ironically, the absence of any rear seats means that the most sportscar-like MINI to date should also be the most practical – the boot has a capacity of 250 litres which can be accessed via either a large tailgate hinged above the roof spoiler or a lockable opening in the rear bulkhead between the passenger and luggage compartments.

The Coupe Concept uses the most powerful engine in the current MINI range – the 1.6 litre twin scroll turbocharged unit from the John Cooper Works version produces 208bhp and 192lb ft of torque (206lb ft in brief overboost mode) with CO2 emissions of 165g/km.

MINI’s Design Director, Gert Hildebrand, who says that the Coupe Concept’s roofline was inspired by the back-to-front baseball cap worn by his teenage son, has described the car as a ‘pocket Porsche’ and reckons that: ‘Everything you see is do-able for production – not cheap, but do-able.’

Autocar and Car Magazine are both predicting that production versions of the Coupe Concept will reach MINI Dealers in the UK in 2011 or 2012 but neither has indicated at what price. However, given Gert Hildebrand’s comments, AROnline expects the car to cost rather more than the John Cooper Works Hatch…

[Editor’s Note: MINI UK are, as reported last week, rumoured to be entering the World Rally Championship – a 4×4 version of the Coupe might be more fit for that purpose than the Countryman 4×4!]

Posted in: AROnline News, MINI
Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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  1. Russ Jones says:

    I’m not a fan of the new small BMW but this looks good – better than the current model. The rear end actually has some shape to it – not like “the bus has just run into the back of me” look of the other models.

  2. Dave says:

    I think it’s hideous. That roof begs a question about the designer’s sanity. It’s disjointed. There is nothing that ties the shapes together and the window shapes actually make that effect worse. The designer himself admits that it’s inspired by the shape of a hat worn the wrong way round.

    I’m not a big fan of new Minis because I find the owners to be obnoxious, almost to a man. That said, I would not encourage BMW to build this. Any ugly car harms the rest of the business.

  3. Andrew McCheyne says:

    This is ugly. Compare it with an MG Midget and it shows how ugly the MINI is. I hope there are lots of sales to keep the workforce busy…

  4. KC says:

    I like the normal MINI but, as others have said, this has been painted heavily with an ugly brush. The rear end looks like a car in one of those spy photos where a prototype is being tested and cheap false panels are put on to disguise the real appearance. Maybe they forgot to take them off for this photo?

  5. Kevin says:

    Shockingly poor. But, if it goes ahead, it will be bought by people who know more about fashion than cars, and the price of everything and the value of nothing. It’s a four wheeled pair of earrings. Mind you, BMW are always stealing Autocar headlines with some ill-conceived concept.

  6. John says:

    A very confusing mix of retro and futuristic(?) styling!

    To be honest, it looks like a trekkie-wearing teenager with a couple of Asbos!

    Ah well, at least it’s another car I won’t have to worry about purchasing!

  7. Alicecat says:

    What a horrid little car! It looks suspiciously like the original MGF -based “Mini Prototype” which those nice German chaps would only let us see for 5 seconds at a time and then only when it was moving.

    Why, oh why, oh why does this little BMW get any credence as a relative of a 1959 BMC car?

  8. Alex Scott says:

    Starting to suffer from Japanesitis…i.e. “the what shall we do with it next look?” Leave it alone – the MINI is fine like it is. They would be better adding another door to the Clubman if they’ve got nothing better to do. Alex.

  9. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Does the world really need a MINI Coupe? Or a MINI 4×4 for that matter? I wonder what BMW will do when they’ve eeked every last drop of trendiness out of the MINI. As BL found, you can’t really replace it.

  10. John says:

    They should drop this turd before they lose real money. I just can’t imagine anybody paying a premium for a MINI Coupe if a standard body style MINI can be bought for less. However, it’s not just that – I’d much rather see a pick up style done on the first gen new MINI platform like the original was done. Now that, I’m sure, would have potential purchasers lining up at the Dealers.

  11. James Anness says:

    Yet another ill-conceived, aspirational pastiche which will denigrate the Mini name even further.

  12. Mark R says:

    John :They should drop this turd before they lose real money. I just can’t imagine anybody paying a premium for a MINI Coupe if a standard body style MINI can be bought for less.

    I thought that was the main reason for producing a coupe – charging more for less.

  13. Dave says:

    Is this a photo from a NCAP roof damage test or something ?

  14. Pieter says:

    It’s awful – a typical example of German design gone wrong. BMW normally does very well in retrodesign but this looks like a bridge too far. However, I understand they’re struggling with the fact that they have to give MINI a new direction for the future. I would have expected a modern interpretation of a Broadspeed Mini but this looks like one which had an early crash landing!

  15. Ross Armstrong says:

    Chop away the dodgy roof and I’m thinking… MGF

  16. Peter Harris says:

    Brilliant – too funny. Is it April the 1st? Fantastic wind up. Not for real, surely?

  17. Bajandave says:

    The MINI Speedster might be a better name for it! However, on a more serious note, BMW, like Mercedes and Volkswagen, is trying to make inroads into every market niche by adding far too many unnecessary cars to its ranges – if it continues at this rate, it will dilute the MINI brand as well.

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