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A front-wheel drive two-seater designed as a sportier version of the four-passenger Hatchback, the MINI Cooper Coupe cheerily sacrifices utility for the sake of rakish style.
As with other MINIs, buyers choose from performance levels that range from adequate to exhilarating. The Base model comes with a 121-horsepower 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assistance; a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. The Cooper S and John Cooper Works use turbochargers that boost output to 181 horsepower and 208 horsepower, respectively.
Despite its boy racer looks, the Coupe doesn't outperform the Hardtop siblings with which it shares running gear. But that means its fuel economy is just as good as other MINIs: Even in its most powerful form, the Coupe is frugal, returning 35 mpg on the highway.
Despite a low-cut roofline that limits the view in some directions, there's ample headroom for the driver and passenger. A storage center takes the place of rear seats. The cabin has an otherwise familiar MINI look, with signature details like distinctive switches and an oversize speedometer.
For buyers who like MINI's cheeky personality and value style over passenger and cargo space, the Coupe offers an interesting option.
The base Cooper Coupe is equipped with a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine that generates 121 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assistance are standard. A six-speed automatic transmission is available as an optional upgrade. Standard features include: 15-inch alloy wheels; air conditioning; cruise control; full power accessories; keyless entry; an adjustable-height driver's seat; tilt-and-telescoping steering; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; and a six-speaker audio system with an HD radio, auxiliary audio input, iPod interface and Bluetooth.
An optional Sport Package includes: 16-inch wheels; fog lamps; sport seats; hood stripes; and dynamic traction control. Stand alone options include: automatic climate control; heated mirrors, seats and windshield washer nozzles; keyless ignition; adaptive xenon headlights; and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with surround sound, satellite radio and a social media interface. Also available are: a navigation system, upgraded upholstery, and dozens of options for exterior and interior embellishments likes accent trim, exterior decals, paint and material options.
The Cooper Coupe S features a turbocharged 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine with 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed manual transmission is standard; the automatic is offered as an upgrade. The standard features available on the base Coupe are on the Coupe S with the addition of: 16-inch wheels, a sport suspension, fog lamps, sport seats, a hood scoop and metal pedals.
Options are the same as the Coupe, but the Sport Package adds: 17-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, hood stripes and dynamic traction control.
The John Cooper Works version of the Coupe is essentially the same as the Coupe S with a few differences. The engine has been upgraded to a turbocharged 1.6 liter four-cylinder with 208 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. The transmission options are identical. Standard features on the John Cooper are the same as on the Coupe S, plus: an upgraded suspension system, an improved body kit with superior aerodynamics, upgraded Brembo brakes and the John Cooper Works branding and badges with with checkered upholstery.
Options remain the same as for the Coupe S.
Excellent handling and attractive exterior package, though the acceleration is somewhat subdued
Fun driving experience with an interior built for a comfortable ride over longer distances up front, but back seats are cramped
Great fuel economy, tight steering and a comfortable cockpit wrapped in a pleasant exterior, but lacking in some luxury options
Drives like a race car, and the price is right, but only in a convertible and that limits trunk space