MINI : Dates announced for Coupé’s race and showroom debuts

Clive Goldthorp

MINI Coupe
The new MINI Coupé

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.

Clive Goldthorp


  1. I’ll have to reserve judgment until I see one in the metal. I think the roof looks downright home-built in the pictures.

  2. This actually looks like two different front ends joined together…

    I’m sorry, I know it will sell but it’s a p***-take too far for me.

  3. Are they losing the plot at MINI? First the Hatch and now this… I dare say it will sell but really?

  4. I think that this looks as though someone has landed hard on the roof of a normal MINI and flattened it. I bet that the Coupé is bloody awful to park with that letterbox back window. However, that aside, it looks pretty good.

  5. The roof and rear side window look ridiculously bad – like a poor after-market hardtop fitted to a convertible.

  6. Incidentally, at the risk of prodding a raw nerve, I am actually pleased the photos show the MINI Coupé wearing German number plates and that the racer has http://WWW.MINI.DE/COUPE on the windscreen because I would be embarassed to think this had anything to do with the UK – even it IS to be built at Cowley!

  7. The Coupé is another great model from MINI which will sell and is £10,000 cheaper than an Audi TT. There’s a great test of the MINI Cooper SD v. the Audi TT Tdi 4×4 in this week’s Autocar and the MINI comes out on top!

    Anyway, it’s nice to see the Coupé backed up with yet more investment in motorsport at the Nurburgring 24 Hour race. Indeed, if only BL/Rover had also continuously invested, updated and expanded the Mini range and kept the Cooper throughout the years, we would not have needed BMW to show us how it should be done…

  8. The MINI Coupé’s not unlike the Triumph TR7 in that it’s a car which will benefit greatly from having its roof cut off. Isn’t a hatch on a two-seater just a little bit strange?

  9. I would never ever normally say a negative word of ANY sort about the MINI – especially ones built at Cowley. Those boys and girls do a really fine job screwing these things together – we should all be proud of what they do…

    However, Jeezus CHRIST this is an ugly car. Who the hell was the Designer? He/she/they should have been shot!

  10. I simply hate that disjointed roofline. It’s awful. Why did they not follow a flowing continuation of the line? BMW never get coupés right first time. BMW 6 Series and Z3 anyone?

  11. I love the idea in principle but, as others have said, the MINI Coupé looks like two cars joined together – a cut ‘n shut of a Peugeot 206 CC and a Citroen DS3.

    Keep trying, MINI.

  12. The MINI Coupé looks like a fat, balding adult MINI has stolen a child MG F’s hardtop and is wearing it as a hat.

    This has to be possibly the most unappealing two-door sporty car I have ever seen…

  13. I know the MINI Coupé isn’t technically a BMW, but there have been a lot of ugly BMWs recently. Is this a coincidence, I wonder?

  14. @Ross A
    The 6 Series had an “get out of my way or I’ll eat your babies” brutal charm about it. The original Z3 Coupe was an attempt at a modern day MGBGT but reminds me of the awful prototype TR7 derivatives found on this site.

    The MINI Coupé is ugly and pointless but, at the same time, has an appeal I can’t quite put my finger on. I think the Japanese will love it!

  15. I imagine that, somewhere within the BMW/MINI offices, there is a committee which meets from time to time and that, at these meetings, they all wear clown outfits.

    They decide if they can come up with a design style which is even more ridiculous than the last one they came up with and then they wonder if there would be anyone mad enough to buy such a creation.

    Thus far, they haven’t failed.

  16. MINI Coupé – proof that the Germans DO have a sense of humour.

    You can’t blame them for building it when there are people stupid enough to buy it.

  17. What a mess! My friend already uses his Cooper S as if it were a two-seater – he doesn’t have kids and none of his mates accept lifts in it unless absolutely necessary! Surely, then, the only reason anyone would buy a ‘true’ two-seater is because it is prettier/faster/more exciting than a standard MINI? Is the coupe any of these things?

    However, what is even more annoying though, is that Mini showed us a perfect model for this long-awaited version of the Mini nearly 15 years ago when they built the 1997 ACV30 Concept. Looking at that again, it really was a cracking looking thing.

  18. BMW has created a new model for the MINI range at very little cost and with a completely different appeal – the Coupé takes the MINI brand into a totally new market. The Coupé will sell and it will make big money at the prices they are charging – whether you like it or not is immaterial.

    That, gentlemen, is the purpose of a car company, any company. Making money is seen as nasty, immoral and politically incorrect in the UK. That’s why we no longer have any British-owned volume car manufacturers.

  19. This is as inelegant yet trendy as thick-framed spectacles or reflexive pronoun misuse. I suspect that, in the metal, the rump will probably look less Vauxhall Belmont-like than in the pictures.

    The Coupé will probably the best driver’s MINI yet but, ironically, the customer profile won’t include many keen drivers.

    I wonder which will date quicker – this or the Nissan Jo/uke?

  20. I think that, if you filled the B/C-pillar glass area and made it body colour, you might (just) get away with it. Was there not a Mini Coupé from Radford or the like in the Seventies?

  21. @Vava1
    Actually, it’s not that we find making money morally wrong, politically incorrect or nasty. That’s what keeps the economy going.

    No, what causes us such despair is that BMW know they can churn out any old freak motor car and people will buy it because of the badge/”Brand”. The designs are the whim of a group of Designers who must be laughing their arses off at how much the public lap them up. No doubt the launch date for the MINI Scooter is imminent…

    One day the car-buying public will wake up and rightly condemn such monstrosities to the scrapyard.

  22. I’ve looked at the pictures again and read all the comments but the MINI Coupé still looks like a mess to me. I don’t doubt it will sell because it’s a (BMW) MINI but that doesn’t necessarily make it good.

    It must be hell being a MINI Designer having to come up with endless new variations on the same old theme but this really is the pits. I daresay BMW like it (or the money it makes them) but, then again, their own brand cars are pretty much pug ugly too.

  23. What a wasted opportunity! I think that most AROnline readers could have drawn a prettier MINI Coupé than this ridiculous thing. Why!? The roof is just awful.

  24. A design that’s fresh, contemporary and youthful, engineering with strength and reliability and handling that’s up there with the best – all that can only be achieved with a lot of investment. The badge kudos comes as a result. Throw in good brand management and success is almost guaranteed!

    The MINI Coupé might not be to all tastes, but who cares? What product is?

  25. It’s just as well the MINI Coupé isn’t aimed at the sort of people who look at this website then! I wonder when the Riley Elf version is coming out?

  26. @Vava1
    Unfortunately, Vava, you’re right! A company lives or dies by sales of its products whether people accept that or not.

    Personally, I’d say the gripe is more with the way the car market’s going now rather than with any one individual vehicle. People WILL buy this car regardless of how it looks.

  27. I am the former owner of a proper Mini and was mortified when the MINI appeared. I really wanted Rover to make the Spiritual – that was more my kind of thing.

    Why, then, am I now having these dark thoughts about buying a supercharged Cooper S?

    I still have my qualms about MINI and its many variants but I quite fancy this new Coupé – the roof is a bit wonky, but you can’t have everything. It’s a kind of truncated Tomcat for the 21st Century.

  28. I don’t really care much for this car but I hope it sells well to keep UK manufacturing and the associated jobs growing.

  29. Jonathan Carling :
    I know the MINI Coupé isn’t technically a BMW, but there have been a lot of ugly BMWs recently. Is this a coincidence, I wonder?

    Well, as always, that’s the predictable reaction of many AROnline readers to any unusual new car designs -especially if German/BMW…

    A mistake Ford made for many years with cars like the Escort Mk4 was to allow design to be led by public opinion feedback at ‘Car Clinics’. However, when Ford realised their mistake, the original (and radical at the time Ford Focus) was launched to the horror of many but quickly became a market leader copied by competitors.

    “This is the car of the future – if it wasn’t so ugly, I’d shoot myself!” – Aurelio Lampredi (ex-Ferrari F1 Chief Designer/Head of Fiat’s Technical Department) talking about the new Mini after a test drive during the Italian Grand Prix meeting at Monza in September 1959…

  30. Sir Alec Issigonis would not approve, but the Coupé shows that MINI is not single-minded. I’m not complaining as long as it’s a success.

  31. The roof seems to have taken its inspiration from a World War 2 German army helmet.

    The barrel is being well and truly scraped now.

  32. See? It’s that roofline. It’s simply awful. The MINI Coupé could have been a good looking car but those lines just make the whole thing look so disjointed.

  33. I saw several MINI Coupés in the metal today inside the QEC (Quality) Department at the MINI Plant in Oxford during the annual plant Family Open Day.

    I have to say they all looked superb lined up on show. The Coupé will definitely sell well – it’s stylish and a driver’s car…

    I have been told by a Rover Engineer who worked at Gaydon during the development period of the new MINI Hatch that a MINI Coupé was one of the first variants Rover planned but that the idea was rejected and put on hold by BMW until now.

    I will post some pictures from the day on the forum later.

  34. Dear God – how did that ever get signed off?! It’s beyond horrible – and, even if you could stomach the looks, what’s the actual point of it? It’s not practical, it looks hideous, it’s doubtful that it will handle substantially better than the standard MINI, so what niche does the Coupé fill?!

  35. The MINI Coupé’s roof looks as if it could be swapped with all sorts of designs – like the mobile phones… We probably have the first automotive Xpress-on… Eat your heart out Nokia!

  36. @Paul
    Yes! I thought the Coupé had a Riley Elf/Wolseley Hornet backend!

    There is a lesson to be learned here: stretching any range of cars too far becomes econmically un-sustainable. Furthermore, if you take a brand too far away from its core (and the MINI’s core was a sporty little four seater, at least in contemporary eyes) it will fail. The Countryman is actually a MAXI and this thing is just a MESStro.

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