By on June 21, 2011


With recent models like the Countryman, MINIs have become larger than ever. So it was inevitable that the next model in the brand’s lineup would try to reconnect with the value of small. When I first saw the concept of this MINI Coupe, my thought was “just what the market was asking for… a MINI with less space,” but in the context of a MINI Countryman that hulks over its brand-mates (not to mention a coupe-ified version of same), this fresh, saucy little coupe makes a certain amount of sense (if only in the “endearingly pointless/pointlessly endearing” sense, as it’s actually 44 lbs heavier than an equivalent Hatchback). Of course, it will make even more sense as a drop-top roadster, but that’s another subtle-yet-profitable variation of the basic MINI formula for another day… (watch a MINI Coupe prototype go ’round the ‘ring here)

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18 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: MINI, Minimized Edition...”

  • avatar

    Sometimes when you are stuck keeping a design department busy that can only build on one platform, you get a product that’s an answer to the question which no one has asked.

    In this case, you get a MINI with hindered rear and side visibility, in addition to a “a MINI with less space.” A modern T-top, similar to the now defunct Honda Del Sol, would have been a preferable avenue to explore.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      I’m mostly OK with the design, but I don’t understand why the roof needed to drop down into where the rear & side glass should have been. At least, they could have kept the Mini roof edge more-or-less intact.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, the roofline sure is odd. One of the reasons I really like the MINI Clubman is the fact that it has STUPENDOUS all-around visibility – something that is sorely lacking in a lot of new cars.

      I could have seen this as a neat opportunity to make a targa top.

  • avatar

    Links to photos don’t work.

  • avatar

    The MINI countryman is growing on me. Seen a number in DC.

    Just wish they could fix the inside. So cartoon and ugly.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 My wife thought she wanted a MINI until we actually sat inside one. Too “Fisher-Price” for my tastes.

      • 0 avatar

        Same here – wife loved the Mini from the outside, love the way it drove (go-kart!) but couldn’t stand the laughable interior. So we got a Volvo C30. Small hatchback with a turbo = win!

        However, Mini as a brand – I said this before and will say it again – its dead. Its as narrow minded as Hummer. Its a niche product based on “small + cute + historic” after you’ve made slightly bigger and a slightly smaller version of said concept you are DONE! What more can they do with Mini? Atleast they were smart enough to sell them at Bimmer dealers, this way when they run out of colors, options or gimmicks Mini can go away quietly.

        NOTE: I have nothing against Mini, I think its a great little car, but the idea of it as a stand alone brand is the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      “The MINI countryman is growing on me.”

      I am sorry to hear that. It can be a very painful condition. I suggest that you see a dermatologist as soon as possible.

      • 0 avatar

        Ha ha ha!

        At least we/I can laugh about it. After all, the Metropolitan, Gremlin, Pinto, Vega, Chevette and Escort have all come and gone and now it seems it’s Mini’s turn.

        See ya!

  • avatar

    I don’t know about you guys, but I sure am excited about a two seater car that costs as much as an MX5, isn’t a convertible, has 50 less hp and is fwd. Yay! (ignoring the reliability disparity between MX5s and Minis…)

  • avatar

    So MINI will temp its buyers with a model that has the same amount of doors, less passenger room, less cargo capacity and more weight? I don’t see the point. I would have thought that a true sub-compact MINI would have been the logical next step.

  • avatar

    I don’t get it either. Why didn’t they build a proper sportcar for the masses in the style of something like the Triumph TR6? After all they own the rights to a proper sportcar brand!

  • avatar

    Did it really have to be so ugly?
    I guess they are finding out the same as VW did with the (wannabe-)Beetle and Chrysler did with the (PT Cruiser)37 Ford hatchback, it’s not easy to update on a retro (novelty) design. (not to mention it actuallly competes directly against BMW’s own 1-series, which is both practical (as a hatch) and right wheel drive…

  • avatar

    As I said in a different online automotive forum, this car will not sell in any appreciable numbers. It will undoubtedly cost the same, if not more, than the regular hatch, so why buy it over the better-looking, more useful hatch? Why buy it over an MX-5 hardtop?

    It isn’t even RWD, so it will be another in the lineup of unloved two-seater FWDs (i.e. del Sol, CR-Z). As sad as it may sound, no one’s clamoring for a new CR-X. Current 4-seater hot hatches are just too good to justify such a car these days.

    And is it really 44 lbs heavier than the hatch? That’s disgusting.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    The original Mini was intended to be just that:

    “… the Mini came about because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, the market for German Bubble cars boomed. Leonard Lord, the somewhat autocratic head of BMC, reportedly detested these cars so much that he vowed to rid the streets of them and design a ‘proper miniature car’. He laid down some basic design requirements: the car should be contained within a box that measured 10 × 4 × 4 ft (3 × 1.2 × 1.2 m); and the passenger accommodation should occupy 6 ft (1.8 m) of the 10 ft (3 m) length.”

    The dimensions of the original Mini:

    Wheelbase 2.04 m (80.3 in)
    Length 3.05 m (120.1 in)
    Width 1.40 m (55.1 in)
    Height 1.35 m (53.1 in)
    Kerb Weight 617(1,360 lbs.)

    The dimensions of the of the BMW Mini:

    “The new MINI is much larger than the original Mini. It is around 58 centimetres (23 in) longer, 50 centimetres (20 in) wider, 7 centimetres (2.8 in) higher, and weighs around 1,144 kg (2,522 lb) rather than 650 kg (1,433 lb). It is now classified as compact car rather than city car.”

  • avatar

    I hope this mini MINI ain’t shades of 2012 Civic with seriously restricted headroom.

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