Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The new MINI Coupe hit Australian shores in February 2012. The MINI Coupe comes in the choice of two models – MINI Coupe Cooper S and John Cooper Works.

Everything about the new MINI Coupe screams Mini, from the rounded headlights to the grumpy sad face front grille, and it doesn't stop there. From the side the Mini Coupe features the usual plastic flared wheel guards and the signature S badging that forms part of the side indicator.

However, the profile is quite different; replacing the squarish hatchback design is a low slung roofline that is bubbly in appearance.

From the rear the MINI Coupe features the very distinct rectangle tail lights and the dual centre exhaust pipes that are a signature of the Cooper S. There is also the inclusion of an automatic rear spoiler that opens automatically when the speed exceeds 80km per hour and retracts when the speed falls below 60km per hour.
Not so good When we first picked the MINI Coupe up we weren’t really huge fans of the exterior design. However after the course of the week the exterior design began to grow on us. The black body with silver roof look cool however some of the other colour combinations on offer don’t pull the look off quite as well.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Stepping inside the MINI Coupe you’ll instantly notice the high levels of craftsmanship. The interior design is also quite unique, featuring an aviation theme, there are switches found at the bottom of the centre console and above the rear view mirror that are similar to switches found in an aeroplane cockpit. These switches control the electric mirrors, fog lights, automatic spoiler, map and interior lights plus the colourful disco lights that we have come to love.

The colourful interior lights or disco lights as we like to call them can change to best suit your mood; from yellow to blue for when you’re calm to red for when you are ready to tackle some spirited driving.

The aviation theme is also carried over to the air vents, instead of the traditional squared vents Mini has opted for some afterburner inspired vents that can be adjusted by a knob that is in the centre of the vent.

The seats found in the MINI Coupe are also top notch; there are many different customisation options on offer with a wide range of cloth, leather or a combination of both.

The leather seats found in our test vehicle were comfortable and the wrap around style make you feel snug. They are also soft to touch and look premium.

MINI has also included its usual level of quirkiness with the giant speedo that sits in the middle of the dash and surrounds the entertainment unit, and the rev tachometer that sits behind the steering wheel.
Not so good The interior of the MINI Coupe is very stylish. The quality of material used also adds to the overall premium look and feel. However, because the roof of the MINI Coupe has been raked so sharply the cabin can make you feel rather claustrophobic.
Performance

Performance

Good The MINI Coupe range is powered by two turbo charged petrol engines.

The MINI Coupe Cooper S is powered by a 1.6-litre in-line four cylinder turbo charged petrol engine that produces 135kW of power and 240Nm of torque when matched to a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed sports automatic transmission.

Stepping things up a notch is the MINI Coupe John Cooper Works (JCW) featuring a tweaked 1.6-litre in-line four cylinder turbo charged petrol engine that produces 155kW of power and 260kW of torque when matched to a 6-speed manual.

Our test vehicle was the MINI Coupe Cooper S, the turbo charged surge of power is addictive. Zipping in and out of traffic is a cinch and getting the jump off the lights is also made easy thanks to the peppy 1.6-litre engine.

Fuel economy is also quite impressive considering the level of performance you get. The official combined fuel economy for the Cooper S is 6.3-litres per 100kms for the manual and 6.7-litres for the sports automatic.
Not so good The 1.6-litre can feel a little sluggish in the Cooper S when sports mode isn’t activated.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good MINI has always been renowned for its high levels of handling performance and go-kart like characteristics, and the Mini Coupe is no exception. The MINI Coupe Cooper S features a very direct steering setup, even the slightest input on the steering wheel translates directly onto the road. Turn in is sharp and precise making the Mini Coupe Cooper S a very enjoyable vehicle to take on a twisty country road.
Not so good However, because the suspension is geared towards performance rather than comfort, the ride can be harsh over potted and city roads.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The MINI Coupe is a great little city runabout car that has plenty of power on hand when you need it. There is also the bonus of knowing that MINI share BMW's engineering so resale values should remain relatively strong.
Not so good There is little in the way of cabin storage space when it comes to the MINI Coupe. There is also the stiff suspension that can be rather uncomfortable over longer journeys. However, if you’re looking for something that is unique then the MINI Coupe might just be the car for you.