x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mini's anniversary coupe concept could be available within three years

Some already think it's cynical, some think it's quirky but MINI thinks its Coupe concept car is a "pocket Porsche".

MINI describes the Coupe as a 'Pocket Porsche'
MINI describes the Coupe as a 'Pocket Porsche'

Some already think it's cynical, some think it's quirky but MINI thinks its Coupe concept car is a "pocket Porsche". Built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of MINI, the Coupe is not just for the motor show circuit, but could make its way into production within three years. Based on the John Cooper Works version of the standard MINI body, sources are already claiming the car will be aiming to take sales away from cars like Audi's TT, Nissan's 370Z and Peugeot's upcoming RCZ.

While everything from the ground up to the window glass is essentially unchanged, the new aluminium roof got its signature look because MINI design boss Gert Hildebrand's son had taken to wearing his baseball cap backwards. The result is that the windscreen is 16 degrees sleeker than it is on the standard MINI and the car ends up long, 1683mm wide and only 1356mm high and, critically around 100kg lighter than the standard car as well.

Hildebrand's team has combined the old with the new for the Coupe, using the standard MINI Convertible's front quarter panels and the bonnet and grille of the Cooper S. The lower roofline gives the coupe a very high-looking waistline, which MINI have emphasised with a black strip around the lower section of the body. The roof shape takes advantage of the sleeker windscreen angle to flow more smoothly over the passengers, before diving down into a hefty C-pillar, while a solid spoiler is the highlight of the tail.

The 1.6-litre turbo-charged petrol four cylinder engine won't have any trouble shifting the Coupe quicker than the already-impressive JCW hatchback. With 155kW and up to 280Nm of torque, the car might even justify at least one of the two chronometer clocks inside the cabin, put there to measure lap times. With the lighter weight and a much lower centre of gravity than the standard JCW, MINI insiders claim the Coupe will be a considerably faster machine in both a straight line and point-to-point through the winding stuff.

Nobody claims that the standard MINI's rear seats are terribly useful, so the Coupe discards them altogether to become a pure two-seater. It also keeps the MINI's philosophy with the hatch's tailgate, because it hinges above the roof spoiler, swinging up to give access to the 250-litre luggage area. motoring@thenational.ae