People who consider Mini a niche brand will understand why the all-new Coupé was created.
This sporty two-seater is a rolling fashion statement that dares to thumb its nose at practicality and convention.
It’s a car you would wear like an Armani suit or Vera Wang dress, which is for the label as much as the look and definitely not for everyday use.
As Minis go, the Coupé is the Mini-est. In the marque’s storied 50-year-plus history it has never built a two-seat model, much less a model that shuns the squared-off look in favour of a rounded roofline.
Still, the car appears every inch a Mini, especially the lower body that looks as if it was lifted from the classic-Mini production line.
In fact, the car’s basic proportions — length, width and distance between the front and rear wheels — are similar to the current two-door Mini Cooper.
It likely didn’t make any sense to reduce these values since the Mini is already mini enough and most owners only rarely use the rear-seat as a passenger repository. The only key value that has shrunk is the height, due to the Coupé’s less upright windshield.
Coupé pricing begins at about $25,000, which is about $1,500 more than a base hardtop. But as any fashionista knows, you pay more for trendy bespoke attire than for off-the-rack.
For the no-boundaries adventurous, your Coupé carriage awaits.
The powertrain lineup of the Coupé should be familiar to Mini fans. Base models are fitted with a 121-horsepower 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, while the S features a 181-horse turbocharged 1.6.
At the top of the scale is the John Cooper Works (JCW) edition that pumps out 208 horsepower from its turbo motor. The JCW also comes with an aero kit, Brembo-brand brakes, distinctive alloy wheels and a fancier interior.
Not your average roof
The Coupé’s signature design piece and easily the most controversial is its helmet-look roof that, for added emphasis, is painted in a contrasting colour.
The shape appears somewhat jarring and for many viewers will likely remain so. However there’s no denying the lid is a truly audacious feature that will cause people to stare wherever the Coupé goes. Edgy shapes such as this odd-looking top take guts to put it into production and the sculptors (and their bosses) at Mini are clearly risk takers.
In place of the squared-off liftgate on regular Minis, the Coupé features a large hatchback that opens very wide and very high to accommodate a reasonable amount of cargo.
Built into the edge of the cargo door is an active spoiler (with manual override) that automatically extends whenever the Coupé exceeds 80 km/h. The wing isn’t just a decorative adornment, as Mini claims it applies up to 40 kilograms of downforce.