It may build some of the smallest cars on the market but Mini is one very fast-growing brand, the British maker bringing to the Frankfurt Motor Show its new 2-seat Mini Coupe.
The 2-seat fastback is promised to be the sportiest model to bear the Mini badge, officials said during a Frankfurt preview. Four different variants will be offered, including the basic Mini Cooper, the Cooper S, a diesel-powered Cooper SD and the top-performing John Cooper Works.
The JCW Coupe will come equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine capable of making 208 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque in overboost, enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in just 6.3 seconds, with a top speed of 149 mph.
The 2.0-liter turbodiesel in the SD – which is currently not in the plans for the U.S. – makes a more modest 141 hp, but torque surges to 225 lb-ft. It will hit 60 in about 7.9 seconds.
A six-speed stick is the standard-issue gearbox, though buyers can opt for a 6-speed automatic on all models but the John Cooper Works.
All four versions of the new Mini Coupe are based on the same platform and lower body as the Mini Convertible. But the rear two seats have been yanked and the windshield rakes in at a more sporty angle, with the roof lowered more than an inch compared to the open-top version.
Headroom already in short supply, Mini has engineered a pair of oval cut-outs in the ceiling to keep passengers from banging their heads after every bump.
Meanwhile, the space used on the convertible for rear passengers has been transformed into the largest cargo compartment of any Mini, with a new hatchback providing easy access.
Intended to deliver the sportiest performance of any Mini model, the Coupe benefits from the extra bracing built into the convertible’s body, including larger sills and a fixed bulkhead added behind the two seats. But that results in it being about 40 pounds heavier than a comparable 4-seater.
The Mini Coupe, meanwhile, gets dual rear spoilers, including one that flips up automatically at speeds over 50 mph to improve aerodynamic stability.
The Mini Coupe Concept has been long in coming. It was originally shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 to mark the maker’s 50th anniversary.