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The Manlier Mini!

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On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 6:29PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The Manlier Mini!

It seems that Mini has noticed that their premiere happy-go-lucky hatchback has attracted a rather... one-sided... customer base. Although the Mini Cooper has been extremely popular, it seems that mostly women, not men, tend to go for the go-kart. So in an attempt to take back some of the masculine market share, Mini has chopped the top (and the name) on the Cooper, and is bringing the manliest Mini to the states for 2012 in the form of the Mini Cooper Coupe.

The Cooper Coupe looks essentially like a standard Cooper that has had its top chopped like a 1930s hot rod. The lower profile gives the Cooper Coupe a very sporty, very 'Micro Machines' look that does seem to emit a bit more attitude than most other models. Ironically, the Coupe shares the same basic architecture as the most feminine of Coopers, the Convertible. The Convertible's chassis is reinforced to help it stay as rigid as possible. Mini continues the rigidity theme with the Coupe by adding a structural torsion wall in place of rear seats (making this the first two-seat Cooper model to date), and the side sills are also reinforced for added strength. Contributing 12 pounds to that excess is Mini and BMW's first deployable rear wing, which automatically rises (a la Porsche) at speeds above 50 mph, and then automatically stows away below 37 mph.

The drawback to all those reinforcements to the chassis is, of course, added weight. The Coupe weighs in 55 pounds heavier than its back-seated brethren. Thanks to its curved chopped-top, the Coupe's weight bias has also shifted forward a bit, making the drive very unique compared to other Minis.

In terms of engine choice, the Coupe gets the same list of options as other Coopers. You can have your inline 1.6-liter four cylinder in one of three guises: 121-hp in base form, 181-hp in 'S' trim, or turbocharged making 208-hp in the John Cooper Works variant. Also you still have a choice between a six-speed manual or six-speed auto, because even some men don't like shifting these days. The Cooper Coupe is also slated to become the quickest and fastest Mini yet. The John Cooper Works will go 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds while hitting a top speed of 149 mph. Those numbers scream testosterone about as well as a mid-90s Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

The Cooper Coupe will run about the same price range as the standard Cooper, with a base price for the base model around $22,000 while the JCW's base will be a little under $32,000 with the S model's falling right about in the middle of the two. The Coupe will be in showrooms this October. So if you're in the market for a Mini, go take one for a test drive and see just how macho a Mini can be—that is, if you're man enough!

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



dwalter | 2:29PM (Mon, Aug 22, 2011)

Looks cool, but I'd prefer a normal Mini with a back seat and more cargo room.

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