To celebrate the release of the original Mini in 1959, 50 years ago on August 26th, the BMW-owned company revealed this Mini Coupe concept. It’s slated to be released to the public as a 2011 model.
This looks interesting, I’d say even intriguing, but will it be a poser or a performer?
This MSN Auto article (by Greg Kable of AutoWeek) explains that the Mini Coupe production will be pretty much based on the existing Cooper S model, using the 172-hp turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, in the same front-wheel-drive platform. Its suspension will retain the aluminum-intensive MacPherson-strut front and multilink rear with the electro-hydraulic steering system from existing versions of the Mini. Unofficially, they expect the top-of-the-line Mini Coupe to hit 60 mph in less than 7.0 seconds & to reach a top speed of about 150 mph (WOW!). I guess you can consider it to be a performer!
I recall test driving a Cooper S model a few years ago with my car dealer friend, & neighbor, Richard. I was very impressed! My lingering impression is that this little car felt & performed like a much bigger car than it looks on the outside.
As to its size & shape, Mini design boss Gert Hildebrand & his Swiss-based team retained the retro appearance of existing Cooper models with a heavily angled windshield, a low roofline and dedicated trunk lid. The car looks less boxy the the current model Mini Coopers – to me it looks a little awkward & funky. It has a basic 2-seat arrangement, giving more space in the back for an extended trunk. The height is just under 53 inches, the blackened pillars give the coupe a floating roof design like other Minis. My Karlino stands at under 47 inches – shorter still!
They are talking about an MSRP in the neighborhood of about $36,000 (OUCH!) in 2012 when North American sales begin. Sounds like BMW is wanting to take us for a ride!
Racing Ready noted they are also considering a simultaneous release of a roadster version, but I don’t think it would qualify as an affordable roadster classic – too expensive & FWD! What’s your opinion – would you consider one of these in your stable?