"With its two seat cabin, adjustable rear wing and ultra stiff suspension, the MINI Coupe is the most driver oriented model yet"
The MINI Coupe is a strict two-seater, and is the sportiest model in the MINI range. It has lower suspension than the standard car for super-sharp handling, and the engines deliver strong performance to match. The curved roof takes its design inspiration from a racing helmet, and while it won't be to all tastes, it means the designers have had to get rid of the rear seats. In their place is a 280-litre boot, which is more than twice the size of the hatchback's. The Coupe is only offered in Cooper, Cooper S and JCW guises. Entry level Cooper models feature a 120bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine while Cooper SD models receive a 141bhp 2.0-litre diesel. Flagship JCW models are powered by a 208bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, and these cars are capable of 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds. Apart from the lack of rear seats, the interior is identical to that of the hatchback, which means it's well built, and has lots of neat retro touches.
If you're a driving fan, you'll love the razor-sharp handling of the MINI Coupe. Its steering is extremely responsive, while the firm suspension means it's always an involving and exciting car to drive. However, the car's short wheelbase means you have to make constant corrections to the steering to keep the car heading in the intended direction, particularly on rough roads. And if you use the powerful disc brakes hard, you’ll need to be on the case, guiding the car as it bobs and weaves under the extra load. For the best blend of performance and comfort, we'd recommend the 1.6-litre diesel, which is less intimidating to drive on demanding roads.
From the outside, the MINI looks like it's going to have a very small cabin. But there's a surprise in store. Because this hatch is a strict two-seater, there's plenty of space on offer for both driver and passenger - making the car surprsingly comfortable to sit in. On bumpy roads though, watch out for the stiff suspension, which can cause the car to bounce around a bit. It's most noticeable on flagship John Cooper Works editions. We would recommend you avoid specifying sports suspension on lesser cars, particularly if you don't like the idea of feeling every bump in the road.
The MINI's turbocharged petrol and diesel engines are also used by Peugeot and BMW - and have proved both reliable and economical. The car is extremely well put together, and feels robust and tough enough to take the abuse thrown at it by fast drivers!
The MINI Coupe's hatchback boot is even bigger than that available in the MINI hatchback, and includes a ski hatch in the rear bulkhead that allows you to load awkwardly shaped luggage. Headroom too is very impressive, thanks to the shape of the headlining. There's plenty to get excited about in terms of the car's design, too. The huge centrally mounted speedometer is the focal point of the dash, and the bucket seats hold you tightly in place. Our only complaint is about the quality of some of the plastics on door trims, which feel a bit hard and rough.
Value for money
Flagship John Cooper Works versions cost nearly £3,000 more than the equivalent hatchback, which means the Coupe isn't the first MINI you would turn to in search of value for money. This is a car for people prepared to pay a premium to turn heads. But at least it is quite well equipped, offering two-tone paintwork and alloy wheels as standard.
You can be sure your money will be well spent on a MINI Coupe. Resale values of the newcomer are predicted to be almost 50 per cent, meaning the car will lose very little of its value over three years of ownership. What's more, the car's diesel engines are among some of the most efficient available, capable of returning combined fuel consumption of 65mpg.