These are the first official pictures of the Mini Coupe, a strict two-seat fastback that promises to be the most dynamically capable Mini yet. Pricing for the Coupe will start at $22,000 when it goes on sale in October. That price positions it halfway between a Cooper hardtop and a Cooper convertible.
The Coupe is based on the Mini cabriolet and will come in four model variants: the entry-level Cooper, the Cooper S and the range-topping John Cooper Works (JCW). The Coupe's unusual layout is said by insiders to be at least partly influenced by the Mini-based Mini Marcos coupe, which was launched in 1966 and mated a fiberglass body with Mini subframes and running gear.
The Coupe's floor structure is taken over from the cabriolet. This means that it benefits from extra bracing in the over-sized sills, as well as substantial box-section stiffening between the rear wheel housings and a fixed bulkhead behind the front seats. The upshot, says Mini owner BMW, is that the Coupe has the stiffest body of all current Mini models. However, it is also about 44lbs heavier than the hatchback.
The Coupe's windshield is angled rearward by 13 degrees more than in the cabrio's, which means that the new aluminum hardtop is 1.1in lower than a Mini hatchback's. The new roof section (which gets oval cut-outs in its headlining for improved headroom) also incorporates a large hatchback.
The removal of the cabrio's rear seats means that this car also has the largest trunk capacity of any current Mini model, at 10 cubic feet. There are two spoilers on the rear of the car: a fixed spoiler on the trailing edge of the roof and a flip-up spoiler (designed to reduce lift over the rear wheels) that rises out of the tail at 50mph.
The 1.6-liter turbo JCW engine is good for 208hp and 207lb-ft of torque in over-boost mode. It will take the car to 62mph in 6.4sec and on to 149mph. The standard Cooper S is good for 181hp and 192lb-ft in over-boost mode. It has a 0-62mph time of 6.9sec. The base engine delivers 121 hp and 118 lb-ft.
A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard for all Coupes and a 6-speed automatic is optional on all but the JCW.