MINI Coupe

Radical-looking two-seat coupe is fun to drive

7.4
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 14 reviews
  • Decent kit as standard
  • Distinctive looks
  • Strong residual values
  • Impractical
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Quite expensive
 

£16,875 - £27,725 Price range

 

2 Seats

 

39 - 65 MPG

Review

Mini’s Coupe has been met with a fairly positive reception. The critics seem to be fond of the car’s sharp dynamics, engaging handling and desirable image.

However, the styling hasn’t gone down that well with some of them, and it does seem to lack the overall finesse that some of its notable rivals have.

The Coupe shares the same dashboard and most of the interior fixtures that you can find on the hatchback, so it’ll be a case of déjà vu if you’ve been in previous Mini products. The cabin is well built and comes with some quirky and over-the-top features such as toggle switches and a massive central speedometer that, these days, also houses the sat-nav. Apparently the phrase “square peg in a round hole” has not yet made it to Cowley, Oxfordshire, where the Mini is made.

There’s good space up front for passengers, but the transformation to a Coupe means that this car is strictly a two seater. That being said, the absence of a rear bench means that the boot, though shallow, is much larger than the hatchback’s.

It shares the same platform that underpins the normal Mini, so the Coupe handles much like the hatchback does. However, the centre of gravity is slightly lower, and the body is more rigid than on other Minis, so the critics reckon it does handle a wee bit better.

But there’s a serious payoff when it comes to the ride which is not especially comfortable – the sportiest John Cooper Works even more so.

The low and rakish styling means that overall visibility isn’t that great and it’s made even worse once the rear spoiler automatically deploys at 55 mph. There’s loads of road noise and wind noise too, though if you’re tanking along in the Cooper S the engine will drown them out for you.

The Mini Coupe comes with the same range of engines that can be found across the Mini range, so you get a 1.6 petrol in various states of tune, along with a 2.0 diesel powered SD model. They all offer decent pace that suits the car’s sporting character, yet are all fairly efficient, relative to the performance that’s on offer – the flagship John Cooper Works model can return just under 40 mpg, whilst the efficient diesel can achieve up to 65 mpg on the combined cycle.

As usual, the Cooper SD is the rational choice, offering almost as much pace as the Cooper S and significantly better fuel economy, but buyers will flock to the intoxicatingly vocal Cooper S instead – and why not? It’s a belting engine and 47mpg isn’t anything to be ashamed of. The JCW offers silly performance, but then the price is pretty daft too.

We aggregate and summarise the most helpful MINI Coupe Cooper SD reviews from the best publications. Use the filter above to see reviews for the other engines.

The diesel version of the MINI Coupe has been met with a mixed reception – not all of the critics who drove the car were that impressed by it. They were satisfied with the obvious fuel economy benefits the oil burner has over the petrol motors, but most seem to think that it doesn’t suit the car’s character that well.

As you’d expect from a small car with a fairly large 2.0 turbocharged engine, it’s a fairly quick car – there were some complaints regarding flat spots in the power delivery, but most reckon that there’s good mid-range shove, no doubt thanks to the meaty 225lb/ft of torque output. The claimed 64 mpg means it’s also far more frugal than the petrol engines, and one tester thought the softer suspension setup made it more bearable on rougher surfaces.

However, most aren’t sure whether it suits the car’s sporty character that well, and there were a few complaints about engine clatter upon start-up. There’s no denying the appeal of the low running costs of this diesel model, but we’d recommend looking at the petrol powered cars as well.

The reviews of the flagship model in the Coupe range are mostly positive. The critics are big fans of the impressive performance figures, along with quirky and engaging driving experience. However, it is a bit pricey, and some weren’t too impressed with its lack of finesse when compared to rivals.

There weren’t any complaints about the JCW’s performance – the 208bhp and 192lb/ft of torque are more than enough for a car of this size, and one tester was able to wind it up to 150 mph with relative ease. Also, as befitting of a MINI, it handles fairly well, with praise being given to its sharp steering and impressive brakes.

However, the testers did have some problems with the car – it’s quite pricey for a MINI, especially when compared to the equivalent Hatchback variant. There were also some complaints regarding the ride quality, which most testers thought was too firm and jiggly for their liking.

Overall, the John Cooper Works spec Coupe is a good car that has plenty of appeal – the performance is very good, and it’s as stylish inside and out as all the other MINIs are. However, a few testers reckon the less powerful petrol models are the ‘sweet spot’ in the range, so it’s worth looking at them if you can live without the raucous performance of the JCW.

The Roadster and Coupe versions of the Mini haven’t been individually tested by EuroNCAP, but they’re based on the old 2nd generation hatchback which was in 2007. This means that the Coupe’s safety rating is inferred from the hatch rather than explicit, but it’s a good rating and there’s reasons to be satisfied that the 2 seat droptop will be a safe car.

There’s a big bundle of electronic aids as there is in the hatch. Traction control and stability control are both standard, while there’s adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation and ABS with electronic brake force distribution. Add in six airbags for the two occupants and the Coupe should be a safe little car.

The Coupe certainly isn’t cheap by Mini standards and there are ways of making it even more expensive with all the personalisation and extra kit options. However, the car does come with a decent amount of equipment as standard and, starting at £16,840, most of the range undercuts some key rivals by notable margins. 

Running costs are generally good though – even the JCW will return fuel economy near enough to 40mpg and the SD will cost you only £30 a year to tax. Also, thanks to the Mini brand’s desirability, residual values should also be quite good.

Conclusion

The Mini Coupe is a pretty good sports car that has many appealing qualities – it’s still got the same desirable image as the rest of the Mini range, it’s fun to drive and is reasonably priced when compared to its rivals. 

It’s not as practical or (surprisingly) as dynamically sorted as some of the class leaders, but the Mini Coupe is still worth considering if you want a stylish and affordable sports car.