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Mini Cooper introduces new Mini Coupe

December 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The Mini Cooper has been a very popular small car since BMW's version hit the American market a decade ago. Now that small car comes in a variety of sizes, including an even smaller Mini.

The Mini Cooper has become synonymous with small, fun and fashionable when it comes to cars.

In recent years they've expanded the Mini line with bigger variations like the four-door Countryman.

Now Mini's going the other direction with a new, smaller Mini.

Say hello to the Mini Coupe, a two-seater. It's sort of Mini's sports car.

The front part is pure Mini, but the roof and the back are very different. It almost looks like some kind of custom job.

Inside it's a little snug, especially compared to the regular Mini hatchback. There's no back seat to fold down either, though there is quite a bit of space under the large hatch.

Under the hood, more of the typical Mini game plan, with four cylinders and an optional turbo version available. There's a really powerful turbo model called John Cooper Works.

For all versions, good fuel economy is the result of the small size of both the car and the engine. Miles-per-gallon estimates range from 25 to 37.

Crisp handling is another Mini tradition, and here too, the Coupe follows suit. This might be the most fun-to-drive Mini yet.

Mini showed everyone that a small car could be fashionable and premium. Of course, competitors have came along, like the Fiat 500. Still, Mini has such a big head-start on everyone else with five distinct body styles. And there are more on the way.

This Mini Roadster will be coming along next, still a two-seater with a low roof that opens up to make it a true two-seat sports car.

How broad can Mini's portfolio go? Well, it's already got lots of choices. They can't go too much bigger -- or smaller. But within their carefully selected size range, they've now got lots of cars in different sizes and varieties.

But they're all still Mini, in the general and specific sense of the word.


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