MINI : Dates announced for Coupé’s race and showroom debuts
MINI UK has this week announced that the Plant Oxford-built MINI Coupé will be going on sale in the UK on 1 October 2011. The new model is MINI’s first two-seater sports car and four versions will be available at launch: Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper SD and John Cooper Works (JCW).
The Coupé shares the current MINI Cabriolet’s floorpan which ensures that the new model has the stiffest body of all current MINI models. However, the Coupé’s windscreen is angled rearwards by 13 degrees more than the Cabriolet’s and so the Coupé’s aluminium roof sits 29mm lower than the Hatch’s. The new roof section incorporates a large hatch which gives access to the largest boot of any current MINI – with a capacity of 280 litres, the Coupé’s boot is 120 litres up on the standard Hatch’s and 20 litres bigger than the Clubman’s.
The Coupé’s hatch features two integral spoilers: a fixed spoiler at the rear of the roof and an active spoiler which rises from the lower section of the hatch at 50mph and drops down again at 37mph – the latter reduces lift at the rear axle to improve aerodynamic balance and road grip.
There are four engines on offer in the MINI Coupé range. The entry-level Cooper has a 1.6-litre, 120bhp unit which gives the car a 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds while the turbocharged 1.6-litre, 181bhp engine in the Cooper S takes that model from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds. Unsurprisingly, the JCW version is the quickest – the turbocharged 1.6-litre produces 208bhp and 207lb ft with overboost with a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds in that guise. The Cooper SD variant has a 2.0-litre turbodiesel which produces 141bhp, 225lb ft and a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds.
All four models are fitted with a six-speed manual transmission and also feature a digital radio, parking sensors and a three-spoke leather steering wheel. The on-the-road prices start at £16,640 for the Cooper and rise to £23,795 for the range-topping JCW.
MINI UK has also just revealed details of a racing version of the Coupé. The MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance has been specifically developed to compete in this weekend’s Nürburgring 24 Hour race – the tuned version of the JCW’s 1.6-litre powerunit boasts 247bhp and up to 243lb ft on overboost – some 39bhp and 36lb ft more than the roadgoing version. MINI does not, as yet, have any plans to put the Endurance into production alongside the other four Coupé models.
AROnline does, though, understand that a MINI Coupé-based Roadster will appear at the Geneva Motor Show next March and reach the showrooms soon afterwards. The MINI Coupé and Roadster will then provide potential customers with a somewhat more affordable alternative to the Audi TT.