Reader test team
Mini’s latest take on its modern-day classic arrives in October. Will it be a hit? Our readers have their say
STAR CAR Yourview
‘I’m a little concerned about rear visibility’ Fulvio Pozzoni
‘There’s a real quality feel to this car’ Matthew Proudfoot icester
ONCE THERE WAS the Mini. Today the marque is just a little more prolific, with the hatchback, the Clubman, the Countryman and the Convertible. Now there’s another twist on the original: the Mini Coupé. Out this October, it’s Mini’s answer to the super-stylish Audi TT and Peugeot RCZ coupés, and it’s the sportiest model yet.
Four variants will be available at launch: the 121bhp Cooper, 181bhp Cooper S, 208bhp John Cooper Works and 141bhp Cooper SD.
To see if the compact two-seater has genuinely universal appeal, we got together some diehard fans of the original, and a non-Mini driver.
| NOVEMBER 2011 whatcar.com
Age 36 Lives Docklands, London Job Client relationship representative Drives Mini One
‘When the cover came oﬀ, I was really pleased to see the very smooth bonnet. Even with the more raked windscreen, the Coupé has the cute face of the Mini, unlike the Countryman. This car has a lot more presence: Minis are all about being cute, but this is also sleek and sexy. It has a kind of
Matthew was really taken with the Mini Coupé’s slick styling rakish charm, and really stands out from the crowd.
‘I particularly like the touches that hark back to the original Mini, such as the piping around the edge of the seats. I’m also a fan of the more modern details, such as the spoiler on the rear of the roof, which gives it a slightly diﬀerent edge when you look at it in profile.
‘There’s a real quality feel to this car, the seats hug you and the doors are heavy, giving a reassuring clunk when they close. There are also a lot of gadgets fitted as standard.
‘It’s a Mini but with a modern twist, and I like it. It makes a compelling argument with a starting price of £16,640.’ ‘It’s definitely a girl’s car’
Stuart Doherty’s verdict on the Coupé, which may raise eyebrows at Mini
Clockwise from top left Latest multimedia system allows you to do a lot more than programme the sat-nav; rear spoiler pops up at speed and can be raised manually; boot is bigger than the Clubman’s; rear hatch connects boot
Age 42 Lives New Haw, Surrey Job Product design engineer Drives Mini Cooper D
‘I think it’s great; sporty but still with the classic looks of the Mini. What strikes me most is the shape – it’s much better than I expected. I particularly like the slope of the roof.
‘I was interested to see what Mini has done with the space where the back seats were, and there’s a very small amount of storage there. I’m really surprised that it’s got a bigger boot than the Clubman.
‘The roof feels a bit low, but the cabin doesn’t feel small, just cosy. I’m a little concerned about rear visibility and also
Fulvio was won over, which is lucky because he’s ordered one disappointed that you can’t have the John Cooper Works colours on other versions.
‘I’m impressed with the sat-nav – they’ve improved it a lot. Years ago, all it did was tell you where to go, now you get much more for your money (and it’s cheaper): you can play videos, sync your iPhone, even use the internet.
‘I really like this car, so much that I’ve ordered one already.’
Age 34 Lives Sidcup, Kent Job Quantitative analyst Drives Audi A5 Sportback
‘The roof works much better in real life than I thought it would, and the whole car has a premium feel to it – it looks like a proper pocket rocket.
‘There’s plenty of head- and legroom inside, and I’m six-foot two. Boot space is surprisingly good, but the split-level floor may be a bit of a pain. I like how the high window line makes you feel cocooned, but the Coupé still has good all-round visibility.
‘The leather seats are lovely and comfortable – there’s classic British style in the way the panels are put together. It’s got a high
Boot’s underfloor storage may not suit everyone, said Stuart level of finish all round and is just let down by the central controls, which are a bit fiddly and plasticky.
‘For me it’s a bit too flash and youthful, and I wonder how many younger people would have the cash. I think it’ll take sales from the Fiat 500 Abarth, Audi TT and Mazda MX-5. I’m not sure who Mini is aiming this at, but I think it’s definitely a girl’s car.’
Age 34 Lives Brighton Job Public relations executive Drives Mini Cooper
‘I like it more than I thought I would, it’s basically a really cute sports car. It may attract more women drivers, but it’s not a hairdresser’s car. I really like it.
‘The racing stripes are great – every Mini should have them. All the John Cooper Works details are really nice, too, such as the red brake calipers and the sill finishes. The front spoiler looks and feels purposeful, and the little side window is cool. Where’s the chrome filler cap, though? It’s a real shame it’s gone and a normal flush cover is in its place – the metal cap is part of the Mini’s identity.
‘I’m a bit of a stickler for detail and I’ve even noticed the font used on the speedometer – it’s like an old BMC; it looks great. I’m pleased to see that the armrest actually works, unlike in the hatchback where it just gets
Alexander is a huge Mini fan and couldn’t find much to fault in the way. The hatch going through to the boot is really useful, too.
‘The only downsides, apart from the petrol cap, are that some of the plastics feel a little cheap, especially around the side air vents, but the optional leather dashboard feels classy.
‘Also, the lights aren’t attached to the bonnet like they are on my hatch, which should hopefully stop them going out of alignment all the time.’
How does the Mini Coupé drive? Turn to page 36
whatcar.com NOVEMBER 2011 |