Mini has unveiled this rather startling Coupe concept. It’s heading to Frankfurt next month, and on the evidence of these pictures, will be one of the show stars.
Happily, the whole concept of the car revolves around driving pleasure. Low weight and high power are the order of the day, and while the brand is calling it a prototype for now, we’d be mightily surprised if a version of the Mini Coupe doesn’t make it to production.
At the heart of the Coupe is the 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine from the John Cooper Works hot hatch, with an identical 208bhp and 192lb ft on tap (the latter climbing to 206lb ft via spells of overboost).
That car is manic enough, but with the lighter weight and lower centre of gravity (both achieved with that striking aluminium roof) on offer in the Coupe, as well as a host of potential chassis modifications, it should come close to being a proper sports car. It’ll remain front-engined and front-wheel drive, though.
You certainly won’t mistake it for anything else in the Mini range, or indeed any of its coupe rivals such as the Audi TT and Peugeot RCZ (which uses the same engine as the Coupe). While the car is still recognisably Mini – view it up to the window lines and it’s similar to the hatchback – the glasshouse and roof really stand out, making this the most daring new-age Mini yet. There’s some neat touches to distinguish it further from its siblings, with a body coloured grille (including the stripes) and colour inserts on the wheels as well as a trick rear diffuser.
Inside, the concept is pretty luxurious, with new additions including two Chronoswiss clocks that sit around the rev counter, one for taking lap times and the other displaying the time. There’s a small sniff of practicality, too - the tailgate opens at the rear spoiler, creating a hefty aperture.
The Mini Coupe concept is another leg of the car’s 50th birthday celebrations – there’s already been a big party, Silverstone’s Mini United – but this one has a bit more significance, the car being made public on August 26 2009, fifty years to the day since the first, classic incarnation of the car was first shown.
If you want to have a proper poke around the mad Mini, it’ll be at the Frankfurt motor show, which opens on September 15. We’ll be there, too, reporting live from the show floor. Click here for a preview of what’s there.
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