MINI Cooper S Coupe Review
The fifth dimension

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
22 Dec 2011
 

The two-seater coupe marks the fifth body style from Mini. Raymond Lai finds out if it’s a Mini too far.

Introduction, styling

We’ve all come to know that BMW’s Mini is more of a lifestyle and fashion statement rather than a practical and affordable runabout supermini. To further reach out to the lifestyle and fashionable set, Mini seems to be continuously introducing unique special and limited edition models over the years as well as countless new body styles.

While the hatchback derived topless cabrio has been around since the first generation model, it was the Clubman that started the new body style frenzy in 2008. Despite being a more practical Mini, the Clubman was an acquired taste, as the average small car buyer hasn’t embraced the Clubman’s quirky doors. Mini went one further by introducing the even more spacious and practical Countryman crossover last year. Now, there’s a fifth body variant – the two-seater Coupe, which was recently introduced here. Mini won’t be stopping at just five though, as they’ve already showed off the Coupe-derived Roadster, which will debut in Detroit in January.

Mini describes the Coupe’s styling as striking. Striking it definitely is but I doubt many would describe it as pretty. Mini has given the Coupe a distinctive three-box look and a unique roof design to make it look different from the hatchback. In the Coupe’s case, three-box doesn’t mean it looks more like a saloon as the rear deck is rather short to say the least and access to the boot is via a hatch rather than a saloon-style boot lid. The Coupe’s overall length and width is actually identical to the hatchback but its overall height is 29mm lower. In addition, the A-pillars and windscreen are sharply raked by 13 degrees compared to the hatch, resulting in a smaller frontal area that gives the Coupé excellent aerodynamic properties and a real sporty look, according to Mini. The design of the alloy wheels though somehow doesn’t look purposeful enough in this top spec Cooper S variant.

The rear deck features a movable spoiler that deploys automatically when the car reaches 80km/h – and drops down again at 60km/h – but can be operated manually via a button in the overhead control panel. The Coupé is the first car in BMW Group history to feature an active rear spoiler, which according to Mini reduces lift at the rear axle to improve aerodynamic balance and road grip.

Many have described the Coupe’s roof to look like someone wearing a baseball cap back to front. I personally can’t disagree with that description as the roof certainly has such a profile with the roof mounted spoiler acting as the ‘peak’ of the baseball cap! With the lower roof and tasteful honeycomb inserts for the radiator grille and darkened headlamps on the Cooper S, the Coupe certainly has that purposeful hunkered down stance but the oddball roofline will certainly divide opinions. I’d have to say the Coupe’s roof looks awkward at first sight but look again though and the Coupe can look rather purposeful from certain angles. I reckon that the roof is also colour sensitive – the black roof on the car here somehow doesn’t show off its quirky design as well as a car with a silver roof.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1598cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 11:1
Bore x Stroke (85.8 x 77)mm
Power 184bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 260Nm @ 1600rpm
Power to Weight 163.6 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 224 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 15.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type Coupe
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(3734 x 1683 x 1384) mm
Wheelbase 2467 mm
Kerb Weight 1125 kg
Boot Capacity 280 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs