Looks only its mother could love? Oddly-styled three box Mini coupe is really a hatchback with an elongated tail

Looks only its mother could love? Oddly-styled 'three box' Mini coupe is really a hatchback with an elongated tail

View 1 related image

BMW's Mini Coupé, the fifth body variant in the line, goes on sale here in the UK on 1 October targeting "a new type of customer", according to the automaker.

"Keen drivers will be rewarded with a level of handling agility unmatched in the small car segment," BMW claimed. "Every aspect of the Coupé – from the choice of engines and chassis set-up to weight distribution and aerodynamics – is focused on delivering the optimum dynamic performance. To prove the point, the John Cooper Works Coupé has the fastest acceleration and top speed of any volume-produced Mini to date."

UK buyers will be offered three petrol engines and one diesel and standard equipment will include DAB digital radio, air conditioning, park distance control, alloy wheels,  three-spoke sport leather steering wheel and body sport stripes. The usual long Mini list of factory options and dealer-fit accessories will be available. Prices range from GBP16,640 to GBP23,795.

The first modern Mini to adopt a traditional ‘three-box’ body structure, albeit with a hatchback instead of conventional boot opening (some readers may remember the original 1960s 'Mini-with-a-boot' Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet), is almost identical in overall length and width as the hatchback but the coupé is 29mm lower. To compensate for the lower roofline, oval recesses in the headlining provide extra headroom.

An active rear spoiler housed in the boot [trunk] liftgate deploys automatically when the car reaches 50mph (80km/h) – and drops down again at 37mph (70km/h) and can be operated manually using a button in the overhead control panel.

The 280 litre luggage area - 20 litres larger than the Clubman 'wagon version' - is accessible by the driver or passenger from inside the cabin or externally via the hatchback with its large, high-opening tailgate.

I4 petrol engine outputs range from 122hp/90kW in the base Cooper Coupé to 211hp/155kW in the flagship John Cooper Works version. The recently launched performance diesel engine, the 143hp/105kW Cooper SD, is also available.

Optional sport suspension has firmer damper settings and comes with uprated anti-roll bars front and rear. The accessories range includes a John Cooper Works suspension with a 10 mm drop in ride height, ultra-firm damping and further upgraded anti-roll bars.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard and an automatic transmission, a six-speed unit with Steptronic function, available with shift paddles, is optional on all but the top John Cooper version.