Aimed squarely at sporty drivers, the new Mini Coupé, with its lowered roof and squat proportions, eschews what practicality the standard car has in favour of improved aerodynamics in the name of what the Anglo-Germanic firm refers to as “maximizing driving fun”.
From the waistline down, this two-seater differs little from its hatchback siblings. It’s when you take in the chopped roof, short rear deck and electrically-actuated rear spoiler that raises at speeds in excess of 80 km/h to optimise downforce that things take a turn for the unconventional. According to Mini, GT cars of yesteryear inspired this car’s unusual profile, while the curved roof with its narrow glasshouse is meant to emulate a racing driver’s helmet.
The Mini Coupé will come in three flavours; the base Cooper model is powered by a normally-aspirated 1,6-litre petrol engine developing 90 kW and 160 N.m, which can propel the car from zero to 100 km/h in 9,0 seconds and on to a top speed of 204 km/h. The Cooper S Coupé adds a twin-scroll turbocharger to the aforementioned powerplant, upping the outputs to 135 kW and 240 N.m (260 N.m with overboost). This model completes the 0-100 km/h dash in 6,9 seconds and tops out at 230 km/h. The range-topping JCW Coupé uprates the turbocharged 1,6-litre further to develop 155 kW and 260 N.m (280 N.m with overboost) to pare the 0-100 km/h time down to 6,4 seconds while raising the top speed to 240 km/h.
Although the car initially comes across as a compacted Mini Cooper, the wheelbase is marginally longer than that of the hatchback in order to accommodate this model’s unique bodywork. All three models are underpinned by a unique suspension set-up comprising MacPherson struts up front and multi-link rear suspension with aluminium longitudinal control arms and anti-roll bars.
Among the driver aids on board this new model are electric power steering and DSC as standard and optional Dynamic Traction Control with Electronic Differential Lock Control (standard on MINI John Cooper Works Coupé).
The Coupé’s interior is pretty much standard Mini fare, bar the omission of the two rear seats. In lieu of the rear pews is a wall with a ski-flap-style opening that houses a small storage space. In terms of boot space, the Coupé’s stumpy tail serves up 277 dm3.
The Mini Coupé will go on sale in South Africa in the last quarter of 2011.
You can view the full press release on the new Mini Coupe by clicking on the documents tab.