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The MINI Coupe: Will It Sell?

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Posted On: Jul 19, 2011 By: Charles Kayajian  Category: Editorial

The new MINI Coupe has garnered a lot of attention over the past few weeks, beginning with the car’s official unveiling and culminating with its participation in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. MINI’s latest offering is fresh and undeniably sporty, but it’s also expensive and not very practical. What does the future hold for the Coupe?

MINI Coupe

The Costly Coupe

For starters, the base model Coupe starts at $22,000, which is nearly $2,000 more than the standard MINI Cooper and $100 more than the Clubman. That $22,000 only gets you 121 hp too. Those looking for greater performance should opt for the Coupe S which comes standard with 181 hp and a price tag of $24,600. Finally, if the Nurburgring inspired your inner race car driver, the John Cooper Works Coupe is the perfect track-ready speedster. 208 hp will cost you $31,200. A lot of money for a two-seater coupe not named Audi, BMW or Porsche.

The Coupe is not the first MINI model to catch criticism for its price tag. Another new MINI model, the Countryman, can run over $35,000 and that’s without leather, power seats or navigation. Coupe models will inevitably approach a comparable price level once optional features are added (remember, MINI comes with almost no standard features). More money for an even smaller vehicle.

New Models, New Sales?

If the sticker prices of new MINI models are frightening consumers, the fear has certainly not stunted sales growth. MINI has reported their best U.S. sales figures in history, with much of the recent success attributed to the introduction of the new Countryman. If the "new" Coupe performs similarly to the Countryman, MINI will have successfully expanded its offerings into two new vehicle classes - no easy task.

Whether the new design changes how MINI drivers feel about the new vehicle remains to be seen. The Countryman with its larger size and optional AWD offered features to the MINI lineup that were not available in any model prior. In fact, the absence of such features may have discouraged would-be buyers. Conversely the Coupe offers features similar to existing Cooper models, in a smaller package, at a higher price. Sure it’s quicker, but is that enough?

MINI’s transition into the two-seat, sport coupe class may seem a more natural move than its decision to go big with the Countryman. The MINI Cooper and Cooper S are small and sporty like the Coupe, and their back seats are more often used to store extra groceries than to seat people. The Coupe has no backseats, a higher price tag and a design that looks like a Cooper with its head chopped off (note the low roofline on the Coupe in the profile shot below). It seems that the iconic MINI shape has been compromised slightly by the new design.

What are your feelings on the Coupe? Do you think it will be a successful in the States? Drop us a line

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