Mini celebrated its 50th birthday on August 26, 2009 with BMW announcing it will unveil the very sleek Mini Coupe Concept at the forthcoming Frankfurt Motor Show (17-27 September). This two-seater will happily take the most powerful engine currently available in the Mini range (the 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged power unit carried over from the 2010 Mini John Cooper Works), with a maximum output of 155kW/211hp and peak torque of 260Nm/192lb-ft. Through the Overboost function, this increases to 280Nm/206lb-ft. for a short burst. Add to that its improved aerodynamics and it’s no wonder BMW is confident that this model Mini will deliver the best ever performance.
Quick is good, but the new Mini will also have lower emissions and deliver a greater driver experience, says BMW.
The company adds that the Mini Coupe Concept incorporates a wide range of features aimed at delivering a truly sporting and ambitious style of motoring. The lightweight two-seater has the distinctive Mini’s compact dimensions, low center of gravity and great axle load distribution. At the same time the low roofline, the precisely-defined spoiler edge at the rear and other aerodynamic features enhance the car's performance to an even higher standard.
The Mini Coupe Concept is 3,714mm (146.2 inches) long, 1,683mm (66.3 inches) wide and 1356mm (53.4 inches) tall, gving the Mini Coup the look of a muscular sports machine.
The hexagonal grille and the large round headlights are unmistakable design features re-interpreting the front view of the classic Mini in particularly modern style. The indicators are integrated in the headlights, just above the innovative three-dimensional surrounds for the positioning lights and the foglamps. The entire front air dam has been adjusted to the sporting look of the car, standing out even wider and more striking than before.
Learning from the past
Much of the look of the Mini Coupe comes from a well-chosen selection of past models – a sort of sampling of the best, most distinctive stylings from previous favorites. The chrome radiator grille on the Mini Coupe Concept is the same as on the Mini Cooper S. However, the inner section in the grille is finished with bars in body color creating a clear sign of distinction at very first sight from the other members of the Mini family. The bonnet stripes also extend into the radiator grille to provide an even more sporting and dynamic look.
The side view of the Mini Coupe Concept also brings together features typical of the Mini family.
Large wheels and a high waistline, already featuring on the Mini, the Mini Clubman and the Mini Convertible, are used here to good effect, with the black strip around the lower section of the body underlining this compact appearance.
All this is emphasized with the help of the new sloping windscreen, a departure from previous models. The screen flows through into the unique roofline to give an even more dynamic look than on the brand's ‘regular’ models.
And the rear roofline is unique for this Mini. BMW describes the roof design as “bridge shape”, made up of a strong rear cornerstone formed by the C-pillar and the almost filigree structure above the passenger cell. The C-pillar aids in occupant safety and provides rigid body structure for maneuverability.
The rear-end of the Mini Coupe Concept is designed to optimize the flow of air to improve driving dynamics and efficiency, while the rear spoiler with its wing profile at the same level as the C-pillar also helps increase downforce on the rear axle.
The rear window merges into the low rear end smoothly to optimize airflow and aerodynamics, which is why the air spoiler on the rear panel is appropriately sharp and clear in its profile.
Beneath the air spoiler we again see that typical Mini styling the brand is famous for - the upright rear light clusters surrounded by a wide chrome frame, and the wide track and the body growing wider from top to bottom highlighting the muscular stance of the car.
The tailgate on the Mini Coupe Concept is yet another highlight of the car. The two-seater has foregone the rear bench seat to offer a larger luggage capacity of 250 liters. The entire tailgate, including the rear window, swings up to provide access to the luggage space.
The bulkhead between the passenger and the luggage compartments comes with a lockable opening to provide driver and passenger with access to the luggage compartment without having to exit the car.
Inside the cabin the Mini has a three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons. Other controls are arranged ergonomically on the dashboard, taking into account their frequency of use.
The Mini Coupe Concept has a large rev counter directly behind the steering wheel, while the speedometer is part of the central instrument in the upper section of the dashboard. This circular instrument, known as the Center Speedo, also houses the audio system as well as the optional entertainment and navigation functions.
Two Chronoswiss clocks to the right and left of the rev counter deliver a classic Mini display. One dial provides a lap-timer and the other a timepiece.
Interior colors and materials symbolize the classic sportiness of the car. Like the dashboard, the roof lining are black and black trim bars combined with a carbon interior trim strip, finally, further enhance this purist look.
The Coupe is naturally front-wheel drive, has powerful disc brakes on all four wheels, the front axle has McPherson spring struts and a centrally-guided rear axle has aluminum longitudinal arms and anti-roll bars to provide safe handling.
Electronic power steering with speed-related power assistance gives the driver exact feedback at all times on road and driving conditions.
All in all, it's unmistakably a Mini. How much? We don't know yet, but if you like your small cars to fast, this should be a cracker.