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by Tim Beissmann

MINI has released a host of images and the full engine details of the upcoming 2012 MINI Coupe, which will become the newest addition to the funky neo-retro range in Australia later this year.

MINI Australia’s Lucy McLellan confirmed the MINI Coupe is likely to arrive in Australia in either October or November 2011, with pricing and specification details to be announced closer to the launch.

We have been waiting eagerly for the MINI Coupe for almost two years now. It was first unveiled in concept form at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, and judging by the official pre-production images released by MINI, the road-going version will stay true to that design.

The MINI Coupe is strictly a two-seater, sitting 29mm lower than the conventional MINI hatch. It is the first ‘three-box’ car from the company and incorporates what the stylists call a “helmet roof” design.

It will become the first MINI with an active rear spoiler and promises to have plenty of storage space, with room behind the seats as well as a wide-opening tailgate revealing a ‘variable-use luggage area’.

The MINI Coupe will initially be available in four different variants: MINI Cooper Coupe, MINI Cooper S Coupe, MINI Cooper SD Coupe and MINI John Cooper Works Coupe.

The engines will be carried over from the current MINI range.

The entry-level Cooper Coupe will produce 90kW and 160Nm from its 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. Acceleration from 0-100km/h will be fractionally quicker than the hatch (9.0 seconds) and it will also be more frugal, using just 5.4 litres/100km of fuel on the combined cycle.

Next up is the Cooper S Coupe. Its twin-scroll turbocharged engine produces 135kW of power and 260Nm of torque on overboost. The 0-100km/h sprint takes 6.9 seconds and it has a top speed of 230km/h. Combined cycle fuel consumption is measured at 5.8 litres/100km.

The only diesel variant available at launch will be the Cooper SD Coupe. It is powered by a 2.0-litre engine with 105kW and 305Nm. Combined cycle fuel consumption is a hybrid-rivalling 4.3 litres/100km, yet it can still complete the sprint in under 8.0 seconds.

The top of the range variant is the John Cooper Works Coupe, with 155kW and 280Nm of torque. The sprint is all over in 6.4 seconds, top speed is 240km/h and combined cycle fuel use is a reasonable 7.1 litres/100km.

The MINI Coupe is 3728mm long (S and JCW: 3734mm), 1683mm wide, 1378mm high (S and JCW: 1384mm) and features a 2467mm wheelbase. That makes it around 15-20mm longer and 30-35mm lower than the standard Cooper hatch.

MINI promises the go-kart feel will be a feature of the Coupe range, with electric power steering, dynamic stability and traction control, electronic differential lock all available and tuned for driving pleasure.

The 2012 MINI Coupe will be launched internationally next week ahead of its Australian arrival in the fourth quarter of this year. MINI does not have a stand at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne, so for now you will have to content yourself with the image gallery below.




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