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2011 Mini Cooper Coupe Preview

2011 Mini Cooper Coupe Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010
2011 Mini Coup_Critical Knowledge:
  • Based on the Mini Cooper platform
  • Two-seat cabin
  • Fitted with the most powerful available engine
  • Turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, rated at 211 horsepower
  • Designed for performance and driving pleasure
  • Production announced for 2011
The world was introduced to the Morris Mini-Minor, affectionatelycalled the "Mini," in 1959. Designed to be small and economical, thefirst Minimaximized passenger and luggage space in a package just 10 feet long.While it was undersized and rather slow (engine output was rated atjust 34 hp), a light chassis with 10-inch wheels pushed to the furthestcorners of the vehicle did offer one benefit-go kart-like handling.

Today, BMWis the owner of the MINI brand (the automaker uses all capital lettersto differentiate today's Mini from the original). Mixing updatedchassis technology, modern safety advances and the first Mini'ssmall-car formula, a brand-new Mini Cooper 3-door hatchback was launched in 2001 (as a 2002 model). The success ofthe new Mini Cooper justified the launch of a Mini Cooper convertible and MiniClubman (wagon) variants, and the automaker recently showed thepublic its crossover model.

August 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of the Mini brand. Tocelebrate, BMW introduced the MINI Coup_ Concept. Warmly received, andappearing near-ready for production, the automaker announced soonthereafter production plans for the MINI Coup_ at the Frankfurt MotorShow.

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2011 Mini Coup_Design
Differentiated by its uncharacteristic swept windshield, low roofline and aggressive stance, the Mini Coup_ is immediately recognized as a unique model for the brand. While those familiar with the current John Cooper Works Mini models will spot similarly sporty styling below the beltline, the Coup_'s stylish new greenhouse is shortened dramatically with a truncated rear window. Opening the large rear tailgate-hinged at the top-and glancing at the interior, conspicuously devoid of rear passenger seats, helps explain the new sloping rear roofline. A wraparound high-mounted aerodynamic spoiler completes the new styling package.

Model Lineup
The Mini Coup_ joins the Cooper, Clubman, and Convertible for the 2011 model year. The only 2-seater in the lineup, the newest arrival is designed to offer the sportiest driving experience of the model range with a lightened chassis, unique aerodynamics, and the strongest turbocharged engine as the standard powerplant.

2011 Mini Coup_Hardware
The Coup_ has been designed to accommodate the most powerful engine in the Mini inventory-the 1.6-liter powerplant shared with the range-topping John Cooper Works (JCW) models. As with the JCW models, the 4-cylinder engine is fitted with a twin-scroll turbocharger delivering 211 horsepower and 192 lb.-ft. of torque (an "overboost" function allows the engine to momentarily deliver 206 lb.-ft. of torque at the driver's command). The standard transmission is a Getrag 6-speed manual sending power to the front wheels.

Like the JCW models, the underpinnings include a front MacPherson strut suspension and a rear multi-link design fitted with sport-tuned dampers at each corner. The Coup_ is also equipped with Brembo front brake calipers, helping to lend the little car additional performance credibility.

Both the Mini Coup_'s driver and passenger are protected by dual-stage deployment "smart" frontal and seat-mounted side air bags. An Advanced Head Protection System II (AHPSII) curtain air bag offers side-impact and rollover protection in conjunction with automatic pre-tensioning seat belts. As expected, anti-lock brakes (ABS), dynamic stability control (DSC), and traction control (TC) are all standard features on the Coup_. In addition, all models are fitted with cornering brake control and electronic brake distribution to give the driver more control while slowing or stopping the Mini.

2011 Mini Coup_Technology
The new 2011 Mini Coup_ is fitted with an electronic power steering (EPS) system that removes the need for a power-robbing accessory belt on the engine, the maker says. The system automatically adapts itself to the driving conditions by monitoring the speed of the vehicle.

In an effort to reduce weight, because less mass equates to better handling, the Mini Coup_ is only offered with two seats and an aluminum roof. The alloy roof not only drops the vehicle's weight, but it lowers the Coup_'s center of gravity, helping to reduce body roll and improve driving dynamics, the company says. As Mini is quick to point out, the lower weight also reduces emissions and improves fuel economy.

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