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

  • The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

    1
  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

    2
  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R

    3
  • The hot Scirocco that blurs the line between coupé and hot hatch

    Volkswagen Scirocco R

    4
  • Latest TT dares to shake the dust from the memory of the mighty five-cylinder Quattro

    Audi TT RS

    5

First drives

Videos

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried
  • First Drive
    27 February 2015
    Dual motors and a power hike give Tesla's electric family car supercar acceleration - and the rest of the package is as strong as ever
  • Car review
    26 February 2015
    Flagship performance C-Class is more than ever a true rival for BMW's M3, and impresses with both its breadth of ability and its practicality
  • First Drive
    26 February 2015
    The new Renault Megane GT 220 is essentially a toned-down version of the hallowed Renaultsport 275, but does it have the required DNA?
  • First Drive
    20 February 2015
    Remember Mercedes' 6x6 monster off-roader? Well, this is the 4x4 version, and we've driven it.