Mini is celebrating a great birthday: Exactly 50 years ago, on 26 August 1959, the classic Mini was presented to the public for the first time, a unique story of success starting out and today giving Mini the perfect opportunity to look ahead without losing sight of the brand's great tradition.
The Mini Coup Concept is an expression of Mini design and the ability of the brand's designers to give the brand with new life, using the options of modern drivetrain and suspension technology, and developing fascinating perspectives for the future of the brand.
Presenting the two-seater to be seen for the first time at the Frankfurt Auto Show (17-27 September 2009), Mini is unveiling an attractive vision of how the family could develop in future. The source of inspiration is once again driving pleasure.
This two-seater is designed to accommodate the 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged unit carried over from the Mini John Cooper Works. Maximum output is 211hp, peak torque 192 lb-ft increasing through the overboost function for a short while to an even more substantial 206 lb-ft. The body of the Coup Concept bridges the gap from the earliest days of the Mini's history to the distant future of the brand. At the same time the emotional design language arouses the expectation of a thrilling experience on the road.
Especially at the front end of the car, a number of icons typical of the brand come together to create a strong family resemblance. In addition, the individual look of the Coup Concept comes out in the side view of the car as well as the rear end.
This unique new two-seater measures 146.2" in length and 66.3" in width. Height is 53.4". Through these dimensions and its athletic proportions, the Coup Concept stands out as a compact and muscular sports machine.
The new concept car carries over the unmistakable front-end look from the four-seater Mini. Smoothly balanced contours on the engine lid characterized by wide, sweeping radii, the large headlights, the homogenous shape of the radiator grille and the wide lower air intake give each model that unique look typical of the brand. Through the greater rake of the front screen on the Coup Concept, the car looks even more striking and dynamic.
The hexagonal radiator grille and the large round headlights are unmistakable design features re-interpreting the front of the classic Mini. The indicators are integrated in the headlights, just above the innovative three-dimensional surrounds for the driving lights and foglamps. The entire front air dam has been given a sporting look.
The chrome radiator grille on the Mini Coup Concept is the same as on the Cooper S. The inner section in the grille is, however, finished with bars in body color, creating a distinction at first sight. The hood stripes also extend into the radiator grille to provide another sporting touch.
The side view of the Coup Concept brings together features typical of the Mini family and new highlights. The front fenders, for example, come straight from the Mini Convertible. The familiarity in design resulting from these features forms an attractive contrast to the far greater rake of the A-pillars leading into the brand-new, sweeping line of the roof.
Large wheels and a high waistline give the Mini family a powerful look, with the black strip around the lower section of the body underlining the compact appearance and short overhangs emphasizing the typical go-kart feeling.
All this now comes out in the Coup Concept, also through the unique flow of the roofline. The greenhouse is much lower and more dynamic than on the brand's regular models.
Another feature of the Coup Concept is the strongly inclined front screen merging gently into the roof. At the rear, the roofline initially moves straight back above the heads of the driver and front passenger flows into the sturdy C-pillar. The entire roof, with all its contours, thus takes a bridge-shape that's unmistakable, made up of a strong rear cornerstone formed by the C-pillar and the filigree structure above the passenger cell.
The C-pillar is a strong visual expression of the particularly solid and rigid body providing superior occupant safety and agility. The C-pillar serves to guide your perspective towards the rear of the car, while the side view forms a strong and convincing wedge-shape, created by the roofline tapering out to the rear and the waistline rising up slightly in Mini style.
All this gives the MINI Coup Concept a forward-moving impression, the car expressing its power and muscularity even at a standstill. The rear end follows the need to optimize airflow in the interest of driving dynamics and efficiency. The rear spoiler, with its wing profile at the same level as the C-pillar, guides the air along the rear. This element spans the width of the roof, increasing downforce on the rear axle.
Tapering down elegantly, the rear window merges into a short rear end with staged contours in typical coup fashion. Beneath the spoiler, the rear the typical Mini philosophy of horizontal lines running parallel to one another emphasizing the car's wide track, the body growing wider from top to bottom, highlighting the muscular stance of the car resting on its wheels.
The rear light clusters are upright and surrounded by chrome. The rear air dam, in turn, comes with a diffuser split into two sections and ensuring a smooth flow of air beneath the car.
The tailgate on the Mini Coup Concept is yet another highlight of the car. Deliberately foregoing the rear bench seat, this unique two-seater offers lots of space for luggage. Hinged above the roof spoiler, the tailgate swings up, offering access to the 8.8cuft of luggage space behind the rear seats. And thanks to the low loading sill, accessing the luggage compartment is significantly easier.
On the MINI Coup Concept the bulkhead between the passenger and luggage compartments comes with a lockable opening. This gives the occupants direct access to travel items within easy reach.
Wide-opening doors give the driver and passenger convenient access to the interior, where they enjoy sports seats with strongly contoured side supports for secure seating. A three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons enables the driver to steer precisely into bends and control the audio or communication functions with ease.
The breakdown of the cockpit, the dashboard and centre console again follows that special interior design typical of Mini. Horizontal lines and air vents placed to the outside emphasize the width of the instrument panel and, at the same time, the generous style of the interior, the slender centre console giving maximum legroom. The structure of the door linings has been re-interpreted, with the elliptic main element now enclosed.
Two Chronoswiss clocks to the right and left of the rev counter provide a link to earlier Mini concept cars, bridging the gap between the analog age of the classic Mini and the digital age of the new Mini. One clock is a purpose-built stopwatch for lap times, the second shows the time. The colors and materials inside the Coup Concept symbolize the classic sportiness of the car. Like the dashboard, the roof lining is black. Black trim bars combined with a carbon interior trim strip further enhance the purist look.
The Mini Coup Concept offers ideal conditions for the go-kart feeling created by the drivetrain and suspension technology. Its entire construction is based on a lightweight concept. As an example, it has an aluminum roof to optimize the overall weight and also lower the center of gravity.