What is it?
The Mini Coupé may not be the first two-seat production Mini in the 53-year history of the brand but as the other was the highly specialised and frankly nuts Works GP car of 2006, we can let the conceit stand.
Lower by 23mm, structurally more rigid, stiffer of suspension (in non-JCW cars) and sleeker of profile, it has the appearance of Mini’s first true sports car.
Yet for all the changes, much has stayed the same. There is, for instance, no more power under your right foot, regardless of which of the two diesel and three petrol models you buy. Bits of brightwork apart, the interior will be instantly familiar to anyone who has sat in a Mini hatch before.
But even before firing up a JCW and heading for the horizon, there is much still to keep you in the car park, not least its looks. At first glance it looks like it’s been sat on. But after a while you may come to conclude it that it is nothing if not distinctive and that its strange proportions seem to work after all.
Is it any good?
The first thing you should know is that regardless of what the numbers say, the Mini Coupé is no faster than its hatchback relative. Yes the JCW’s 0-62mph time has come down a tenth but only through the traction advantage of a weight distribution further unbalanced by the new body shape. Nor should you read much into the 2mph improvement in top speed – that’s purely the Coupé’s more slippery shape talking. The car itself is not only no more powerful, it is a shade heavier too, to the tune of 25kg.