This is the Mini Coupé Concept, a car BMW is calling a “pocket Porsche”.
The coupé may be billed as a concept designed to celebrate 50 years of the Mini, but BMW is serious about building the car; it hopes to bring it to market in two to three years’ time as a rival for the Audi TT and forthcoming Peugeot RCZ.
The concept is a Mini John Cooper Works under the skin, but the production version will be more focused than the standard Mini JCW.
The biggest change is the new top half of the car. The aluminium roof makes the coupé 136mm lower, reduces weight and significantly lowers the centre of gravity.
The design of the roof was inspired by a baseball cap that Mini design director Gert Hildebrand’s teenage son was wearing backwards.
“We were never asked to do a coupe,” Hildebrand told Autocar. “But we follow internet blogs closely and thought people would like the idea of a car like this. It’s a pocket Porsche.”
The windscreen is raked 16 degrees further back than that of regular Minis, while the roof curves down to a large roof spoiler.
BMW says the angled back window and low rear end optimise airflow and reduce turbulence behind the car.
No decision has yet been made on production of the Mini Coupe, but it is a real possibility.
“Hopefully we can get the okay before the end of the year,” Hildebrand added. “Everything you see is do-able for production — not cheap, but do-able.”
There are no rear seats, which, together with the lighter roof, means the coupé is around 100kg lighter than the Mini hatch.
Boot capacity is 250 litres. The compartment features a lockable internal opening that allows the car’s occupants to access luggage from the cabin.
Two Chronoswiss clocks to the right and left of the rev counter are a nod to earlier concept cars from Mini. The left one is for lap times, the other tells the time.
The turbocharged 1.6-litre engine from the JCW produces 208bhp and 192lb ft of torque, but 206lb ft is available on overboost.