I’ve never been that big a fan of MINIs, mostly because of their looks and quirkiness, but the Cooper versions are great driving cars. Now BMW, their maker, has done up a Coupe, which not only looks better but promises hotter performance.
There is also talk of a roadster version (see photo after break) for next spring. Cheers, lads.
The bulk and barginess of the Countryman are now countered by the 2-seater Coupe, which will offer 3 engine choices (turbodiesel in Europe only), the base Coupe having 121 hp. The John Cooper Works turbo 4-cylinder makes 208 hp.
That should produce a top speed of 149 mph and 0-62 mph in 6.4 seconds. That’s enough to clobber any Fiat 500 (except, maybe, the Abarth to come) and puts it even with the 2011 Volkswagen GTI. No pricing yet, but MINIs don’t come cheap.
The Coupe will appeal to those who love 2-seaters and have a lot of gear to stow (the trunk has “through-loading” into the passenger compartment and a wide, high-opening tailgate).
The Coupe will also compete with the Audi A1, which has been promised for a couple of years to the U.S., then de-promised, though one has turned up in Pennsylvania as a “P.R. experiment for Audi of America.”
The A1 looks great and should be fast, but the cost will be high. One site reports U.K. prices ranging from £13,420-£21,800 ($21,995-$35,730 U.S.), depending on options. The Subaru Impreza WRX STi is another possible competitor for the Coupe, but it really plays in a different league.
So the Coupe could have the field of MINI-enthusiast, edgy-small-sports-car fans all to itself. Will there be enough of these to support the venture? I’m not sure. The market for small sports cars in general isn’t setting the world on fire these days.
Can the MINI Coupe find sufficient buyers—particularly in its lower performance versions—to succeed in the U.S.?