MINI Coupe Cooper SD

MINI Coupe Cooper SD, side
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, front, action
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, front
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, interior
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, side, action
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, rear
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, upright
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, spoiler
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, roof
MINI Coupe Cooper SD, boot

MINI has just launched its latest Coupe derivative and already this two seater has clocked up three per cent of the company's orders for this year.

And that's likely to climb a little higher in 2012 when the two-seat Roadster completes the line-up as well.

The Coupe becomes the fifth member of the MINI family after the Hatch, Convertible, Clubman and Countryman and is the most dynamically focused so far.

It will share its 1.6 petrol and 2.0 diesel powertrain and suspension with the forthcoming open-topped Roadster but that will have to accommodate the folding roof and the fixed roof design of the Coupe means it offers enormous luggage or stowage space behind the two seats.

Various aerodynamic tweaks reduce wind resistance and the MINI Coupe is the first BMW Group model to have an active rear wing for greater stability, lifting over 50mph and dropping below 37mph.

The new range comes with DAB digital radio, air conditioning, park distance control, alloy wheels, three-spoke sport leather steering wheel and sport stripes on the body work.

Outputs range from 122hp in the MINI Cooper Coupé to 211hp in the flagship MINI John Cooper Works Coupé.

The recently launched performance diesel engine, the 143hp/105kW Cooper SD, is also available and the line-up is completed with the Cooper S which offers 184hp/135kW.

Six-speed manual gearboxes are standard but Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper SD can be ordered with a six-speed sequential transmission including paddle shifts.

Features such as Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start/Stop±, Shift Point Display±, Electric Power Steering and the need-based operation of ancillary components help to make efficient use of fuel with low emissions.

JCW models can also be ordered with a tauter sports suspension or still firmer Works set up which also lowers ride height for the really serious Mini officianado.

Fuel economy on the combined cycle stretches from 39.8mpg in the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé to a frugal 65.7mpg in the Cooper SD model while CO2  emissions are as low as just 114g/km on the Cooper SD. Even the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé emits only 165g/km.

Likely to prove popular with many potential MINI Coupé customers is the Cooper SD variant, which offers the best fuel economy, lowest emissions and highest torque output of any MINI Coupé model. What's more, it will still sprint to 62mph in under eight seconds and carry on to a top speed of 134mph.

With a BIK value of just 13%, and zero first year road tax, user chooser company car drivers and fleet managers will also see its obvious appeal.

The MINI Coupé boasts class-leading residual values, with the Cooper SD model retaining 47% (£9,575) of it's original value over three years or 60,000 miles and the John Cooper Works model retaining 45% (£10,625).

MINI has created a bespoke range of luggage for it to fully utilise the available space which runs to 280 litres, or 20 litres more than the Clubman.

MINI product executive David Howard says the Coupe will attract younger buyers to the brand with its two-seater style, abundant luggage space and sport orientated handling.

 

The introduction of the Coupe and forthcoming non-identical twin Roadster are part of a £500 million investment in the UK for the brand over the next few years.

It employs about 5,000 people in Oxford assembly plant, its body pressings at Swindon and Birmingham engine plant and these figures could further rise if demand continues to climb above the 250,000 MINIs sold around the world last year.

While there are currently no plans to increase the UK dealership base there is growing diversification of MINI servicing from the traditional BMW technical operation to build on the brand loyalty.

The MINI Coupe Cooper is £16,640, the Cooper S £19,775, Cooper SD £20,510 and JCW £23,795.

The MINI Coupe is the most satisfyingly sporty model in the range without being spine-snappingly spoiled.

Slipping into the roomy cabin of the Coupe I was expecting a stiff chassis setting optimised for demanding roads but the Cooper SD was surprisingly comfortable yet utterly capable of delivering memorable driving experiences.

With four cases swallowed into the boot the Coupe packed in pin-point handling precision normally found in a purpose designed sports car.

Headroom was particularly good thanks to the belled roof lining and the seats easily coped with a six footer.

Engine responses are sharp and strong with bags of pulling power, a short gear-change action but a long clutch-pedal travel, karting like steering with immensely powerful and well balanced brakes.

I found the urge and strong pulling power of the Cooper SD a great package for tackling hills and tight hairpins.

Visibility is a little compromised by the sweeping roofline when pulling out but you can still place it precisely on the road when covering ground quickly.

Noise levels are all low and engaging the Sport mode audibly alters the engine note as well as makes it even more responsive.

FAST FACTS

MINI Coupe Cooper SD

Price: £20,510

Mechanical: 143bhp, 1,993cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 134mph

0-62mph: 7.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: n/a

C02 emissions: 114g/km

Bik rating: 13%

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