The modern incarnation of the Mini has had a lot of ‘firsts’ claimed for it by its BMW parent. The first four-wheel-drive Mini, the first four-door version, the first diesel.

And, now, Mini’s first two-seater (if you’re prepared to overlook the limited-run Mini GP special) and the first three-box body structure has arrived, too, in the shape of the Mini Coupé.

To us, it’s even more simple than that: the Mini Coupé is the first of the modern breed to look like a sports car. (A curiously shaped one, perhaps, but we will come to that in a moment.)

As manufacturers explore ever more diverse market sectors, this one – the ultra-compact two-seat coupé market – is, you might think, a particularly small niche. And you’d be right – Mini is expecting less than five per cent of its sales to be of this variant.

To make the numbers work, the similarities between the hatchback and the coupé are legion. What is common across both models is the naming conventions. Within the Coupe ranger, you'll find Cooper, Cooper S, JCW and Cooper SD.

Top 5 Sport coupes

  • BMW M4
    The new M4 is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six engine that puts out 425bhp and 406lb ft

    BMW M4

    1
  • Audi RS5 coupé
    The hottest 444bhp version of the A5 coupé range closes in on the BMW M3

    Audi RS5

    2
  • Alpina B4 Biturbo
    The B4 is Alpina's answer to the BMW M4

    Alpina B4 Biturbo

    3
  • Lexus RC-F

    Lexus RC F

    4

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Mini range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 May 2016
    The new Edge SUV is looking to steal sales from BMW and Audi, but has it got enough of an edge to make that happen?
  • First Drive
    3 May 2016
    New entry-level 1.8 TFSI engine takes over from Audi's 2.0 TFSI as the cheapest way into a TT Roadster, but is it necessarily the best choice?
  • First Drive
    3 May 2016
    Audi's SQ7 is silly fast, and makes a silly noise, at a silly price – but contains tech that will prove incredibly influential
  • First Drive
    2 May 2016
    There's lots of work yet to be done, but the Aston Martin DB11's hardware has been signed-off. To experience it, we've driven a prototype
  • First Drive
    1 May 2016
    If you like Minis, going quickly and basking in the sun, then you're in luck; we've driven Mini's new John Cooper Works Convertible on foreign roads